1998 1er Cru Classé Sauternes
|Grapes||Sémillon, Sauv Blanc, Muscadelle|
|Classification||1er Cru Classé|
The Yquem teams note on the 1998 vintage: ‘A beautiful, slightly golden yellow, this wine is still very young to express much on the initial nose. After swirling, and even more so after a few minutes in the glass, there come scents of citrus, raisins and also more floral aromas with delicate lime flower. These are still early days and time is needed for these impressions to develop. In the mouth the great quality and potential are obvious. The attack is round, and the volume quickly fills the whole mouth. What sweetness and what pleasure - with just enough acidity. Flavours of mandarin, apricot, fruit paste, then the vanillary, lightly grilled notes associated with the long élevage in barrel. The roundness and amplitude continue, and there is great length and persistence of all these successive sensations.’ L&S (Jul 2017)
*Case Price: Mix any 12 bottles of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
The 1998 Chateau Yquem was released several months ago. This estate does not allow tasting from cask (where the wine spends 42 months), and it is not released until five years after the vintage. The 1998 Yquem (95 points) is a great success. Made in an elegant style, it is not a blockbuster such as 1990, 1989, and 1988. It is well-delineated, with wonderfully sweet aromas of creme brulee, pineapples, apricots, and white flowers. Medium to full-bodied, it is not as sweet as the biggest/richest Yquem vintages, but it is gorgeously pure, precise, and strikingly complex. Already approachable, it should evolve for 30-50 years ... without a doubt. Rating: 95-95 Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, www.RobertParker.com
Sauternes Premier Cru Supérieur 1855 A wine estate so special that it sits alone in it own catagory of the 1855 classification. Even before the widespread use and understanding of the role of "noble rot", the wines of Château d'Yquem were regarded as superior to the rest of Sauternes. Jacques de Sauvage was given the feudal tenure of Château d'Yquem in 1593 (full ownership of the property had to wait until 1711). In 1785, Françoise Joséphine de Sauvage d'Yquem married Comte Louis Amédée de Lur-Saluces (those must have been impressively big wedding invitations!) and the Lur-Saluces family began their long association with Château d'Yquem. Françoise was widowed just three years later, but she took the reins at the great estate and guided it through the worst ravages of the French Revolution, and along the way entertained Thomas Jefferson who was so impressed that ordered a couple of hundred bottles of the 1784 vintage. The Lur-Saluces family were finally ousted, amid much acrimony, when LVMH managed to secure a majority shareholding in 1999, although Comte Alexandre continued at the helm until 2004, being replaced by Pierre Lurton. Previously Yquem was only released once bottled, but under Pierre Lurton it has joined the rest of Bordeaux in making wines available for purchase en primeur. There are 113ha of vineyard, although only around 100ha are in production at any one time. Every year, 2 or 3ha are grubbed up and allowed to lie fallow for a year before replanting; and the fruit of vines less than 5 years old is not used for the estate's wines. The vineyards are planted with 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc. The harvest at Château d'Yquem is long and laborious, with pickers working through the vineyards selecting only the best and most "rotten" grapes, leaving those not ready for another day. Typically, the pickers go thought the vineyards at least six times selecting grapes, often more often, and it's not unheard of for the harvest to run on until December. Yields are extremely low - around 9hl/ha compared with as much as 20hl/ha in the rest of Sauternes. The wine is fermented and aged (for three years) in oak which is 100% new. The intensity and acidity of d'Yquem gives it legendary ageing ability - a wine two decades old would still be seen as young, wines at 50 years old are deemed more worthy of opening.
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