Château d'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France, 2017 through Merchant of Wine.

Château d'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux, France, 2017 (375mL)

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Overview of the Wine
In 1993, Chateau d'Yquem celebrated 400 years of ownership by the same family. In 1593, the Sauvage family bought this estate which came into the Lur Saluces patrimony when Francoise Joséphine de Sauvage married Count Louis Amédée de Lur Saluces in 1785. Marquis Bertrand de Lur Saluces was one of the 20th century's most important personalities in the world of wine.

Count Alexandre de Lur Saluces has followed in his Uncle Betrand's footsteps since 1968. Highly motivated to perfect this prestigious product while respecting tradition, he is determined to offer maximum quality. All those who love this inimitable wine, from Jefferson to Pamela Harriman, former U.S. Ambassador, by way of great Duke Constantine, have approved this philosophy from vintage to vintage.

Yquem is the result of painstaking efforts by everyone who works on the estate. However, nature is the major factor in making the most of the rare soil of Yquem.

Grape / Blend
Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc

Origin
Bordeaux, France

Winemaker's Tasting Notes
Discovering Chateau d'Yquem starts with the bouquet. Although not always very outgoing in young vintages, it is marked by fruit (apricot, mandarin, and occasionally tropical fruit) and oak (vanilla and toast aromas). Older vintages, on the other hand, have an extradordinarily complex fragrance as soon as the bottle is opened.

The bouquet is amazingly subtle, with hints of dried fruit (dried apricot, prune, stewed fruit, and marmalade), spice (cinnamon, saffron, and liquorice), and even flowers (linden blosson, etc).

The first impression of Chateau d'Yquem on the palate is always silky, and often sumptuous. It then fills out, "coating the palate". This wine has a strong, but never overbearing character, with great elegance and poise. It always maintains a balance between sugar and acidity (sweetness and freshness).

99 Points - James Suckling 
This is a great Yquem, delivering thrilling purity and intensity. The nose offers intense aromas of fresh and dried apricot and peach pastry, as well as freshly baked creme brulee, candied and fresh orange and kumquat. Some marmalade, too. Smooth, glossy texture with flavors of grilled orange, dried apricot and an exceptionally long finish with a powerful, driving push to the end. A flicker of toasty-oak influence arrives late, but this wine has completely consumed the oak. The 2017 Yquem is a very powerful wine from a very rich and exceptional vintage. The acidity has a big hand in balancing the richness. Pithy finish. The phenolics deliver some great depth. Rain at the beginning of September prompted an extensive infection of noble rot. The harvest lasted from September 26 to October 13. Great quality and one of the best since the legendary 2001.

97-99 Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate 
There was no frost at d’Yquem in 2017, and botrytis was very regular and even this vintage. The nose opens with very pure notes of freshly sliced oranges, yuzu and lemon barley water with hints of white pepper, fresh ginger and lime cordial. The incredibly rich, unctuous sweetness (148 grams per liter of residual sugar) is beautifully marbled with bright, vivacious citrus fruit and spice flavors, while lifted by well-knit freshness, and it finishes with epic length and great depth.

97 Points - Vinous
The 2017 Yquem was tasted instead of the 2018 since owners LVMH no longer show the wine en primeur. This vintage has just been released onto the market and so I have included it in this report. The estate suffered no frost damage in 2017 and a warm period between May and July, 3° Celsius above average meant the vines' growth cycle was a month in advance. Then, 65mm of rain between 1 and 16 September was the catalyst for botrytis formation. The fruit was picked in two dry and warm windows between 26 September and 14 October, during which concentration came easily so that the bunches achieved even levels of ripeness. The vineyard team selected the best parcels to pick at 21 degrees potential alcohol and in a draconian measure, the rest was sold, some 50% of the crop. Winemaker Sandrine Garbay described it as 'A vintage of puissance and richness.' It has a charming and very pure bouquet with dried honey, acacia, apricot blossom and touches of crushed stone that gradually unfurls in the glass. The palate is viscous on the entry, beautifully balanced with impressive weight and substance, though sans the multi-dimensional complexity of the very greatest vintages. Honey, hints of lemongrass, marmalade and quince combine on the extremely harmonious finish that lingers. This is a seriously good Yquem.

96 Points - Decanter
To overcome the gap between the dry white harvest (16-25 August, even earlier than in 2003) and the noble rot harvest (20 September to 14 October), the team began by picking their best plots on the cooler clay terroirs to ensure maximum freshness. They have expertly managed to retain a beautiful focus, showing pared back but fleshy white peach and pear notes, saffron, white pepper, subtle gunsmoke and slate, followed by a fantastic kick of ginger through the mid palate and beyond. There was no frost impact here, but they were still very strict in the blending, using just 45% of their 17hl/ha crop. This wine has a fairly high 148g/l of residual sugar, with TA6 and 3.8pH (compared to 3.65pH in 2015). They expect to carry out long oak ageing to add structure and to balance the sugars.

96 Points - Wine Spectator
Very flattering and unctuous in feel, with coconut, creamed papaya, toasted hazelnut and warmed peach and tangerine cream flavors gliding along in unison, all framed by warm brioche and piecrust notes on the finish. Remarkably rich, yet poised and pure.

Product size: 750ml

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