Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes 2011
Dessert from Sauternes and Barsac, Bordeaux, France
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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 toasty aromas). Older vintages, on the other hand, have an extraordinarily 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 licorice), and even flowers (linden blossom, etc.). The first impression on the palate is always very silky, and often sumptuous. It then fills out, "coating the palate." This fine 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).
"Bright yellow-gold. Captivating nose is marked by sexy lemony botrytis, white peach, mango, guava and saffron. Enters the mouth very dense but remarkably vibrant and pristine thanks to lively acidity, then turns richer and more unctuous in the mid-palate, displaying knockout flavors of fresh tropical fruit, white peach, white flowers, beeswax and wet stone. The finish is pure and extremely long. This amazing young Yquem, one of the finest in the last dozen years, perfectly combines elements of the fresher, more refined Yquems of the recent Dubourdieu years with the more exotic, opulent personality of the wines made under Alexandre de Lur Saluces. The harvest began on September 6 (only in 1893 did it begin earlier) with the young sauvignon blanc vines and even some semillon to preserve freshness. There were four tries in total, ending on October 5. General Manager Pierre Lurton told me that picking practically all the botrytized grapes very quickly in September was the key to guaranteeing a pure, fresh botrytis component. Sandrine Garbay, who has been maitre de chai at d'Yquem for 18 years, also believes this to be one of the top Yquems in recent memory, though it really doesn't remind her of any previous Yquem vintage with possible exception of the 2001.
Barrel Sample: 97-100 Points "
International Wine Cellar
"A lovely, creamy, tropical style, with mango, papaya and guava notes lending a caressing feel, while singed almond
and warm piecrust accents blossom through the lush finish. Just when you think that's all there is, toasted coconut,
fig, orange blossom and persimmon details kick in, lending length and dimension. The finish is ridiculously long.
Best from 2020 through 2060."
"The 2011 has a clear silvery gold hue, perhaps not quite as deep as I recall the 2010 last year. The bouquet is very fragrant and well-defined, with scents of wild honey, honeysuckle and a touch of vanilla. It is a refined, sedate and beautifully focused bouquet that does not need to show off. The palate displays superb weight in the mouth, even though at first it seems almost understated. Yet there is clearly a high level of spicy, botrytized fruit with notes of honey, orange zest and a touch of mandarin. There is no explosion on the finish; the 2011 is rather a lesson in control, complexity and nuance. It is utterly seductive.
Barrel Sample: 96-98 Points"
The Wine Advocate
"A Sauternes with incredible purity and beauty. Full body, with lovely character of mangos, pineapple, papaya, and honey. Goes on for minutes. The purity in this wine is phenomenal. Spicy with dried mushroom and ash undertones. Gorgeous and clean. Bright. A more balanced 2001?
Barrel Sample: 97-98 Points"
"Rich, with intense flavors of botrytis, lemon and Seville orange peel. This wine has both freshness and sweetness, with a light touch.
Barrel Sample: 95-97 Points"
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Learn About Chateau d'Yquem Map It
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 Josephine de Sauvage married Count Louis Amedee 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.
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Learn About Sauternes and Barsac
(saw-TURN & BAR-sak) Liquid Gold The regions of Sauternes & Barsac are both located southeast of Graves, almost directly south of St-Émilion, and hug the Garonne River as it curves. Both areas are dedicated to producing sweet, white wines. The rains, the mists, the humidity and the climate, all help foster the necessary mold that leads to the unfortified, but lusciously sweet wines...
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Learn About Other Dessert
Beyond Port and Sherry, here are a few of our favorites:
Sauternes - the golden wine of the Sauternes region in
Bordeaux, these wines are made with botrytis-affected
grapes and produce a rich, honeyed concoction with an amazing balance of sweetness and acidity.
Don"t discount Sauternes'
neighbor, Barsac, or even the region across the river,...
Read More About Other Dessert