Château D'Yquem 2019 - 1st Great Cru Class Sauternes

The Yquem vineyard (113 hectares) is planted with two grape varieties: the rich and sappy Sémillon (75% of the vineyard), which provides structure and volume, and the Sauvignon (25% of the vineyard), early but less regular, which completes the wine with its aromas and finesse. This vineyard is the object of attentive care. Faithful to the know-how of their elders, the teams working on the estate continue to cultivate the soil and to manage the vines in the traditional way under the direction of the vineyard manager.

            Source Château Yquem

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Owners LVMH have made the decision to postpone the release of the 2019 Yquem until spring 2022. It was tasted with winemaker Sandrine Garbay in London. After the summer drought when Sauternes received only 2.5 mm of rain until July 26, that day saw a deluge of 112 mm that replenished underground reserves and gave ripening the boost it needed. Dry and warm conditions prevailed throughout September, while there was no sign of botrytis infection. The infection was finally triggered by 38 mm of rain between September 21 and 25, followed by warm and mild weather. After a minor harvest of Sauvignon Blanc on October 7, the main harvest began in earnest on October 10. The pickers worked for the next five days, including Sunday. Time was of the essence because, as the forecast had predicted, the weather suddenly changed on October 14 with 40 mm of rain. After that, the picking crews avoided showers between October 17 and 22, but the fruit had already begun to deteriorate.

Therefore, the key aspect of this Yquem is the extremely narrow picking window. The final blend contains 138 g/l residual sugar, slightly less than the previous vintage, with 5.5 g/l total acidity and 14.4% alcohol. Tasting the 2019, I noticed that it had a slightly paler hue compared to recent vintages (although I never rely too much on the color of young Sauternes). Certainly its highly aromatic bouquet is seductively pure, with aromas of honeysuckle and saffron, soon joined by chamomile, white flowers and orange blossom.

It is wonderfully delineated and gains intensity with aeration. The palate is supremely well balanced with a fine bead of acidity. Very harmonious and with just the right amount of viscosity, this Yquem is surprisingly subdued at first but gains presence, offering irresistible flavors of layers of honey, lemongrass, lemon thyme and orange pith. Yquem is so tempting in its youth, but I think this vintage will reward those with the good sense to cellar it for at least a decade.

             Neal Martin,, February 2022

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Data sheet

85% sauvignon, 15% sémillon
Alcohol level
2024 - 2050

Jean-Marc Quarin  -  Noté 

James Suckling  - Noté 

Vinous / Neal Martin  - Noté 98/100 (february  2022)

Jancis Robinson  - Noté

Lisa Perrotti-Brown  - Noté 97+/100  (march  2022)

Decanter / Jane Anson   - Noté 97/100 (march  2022)

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