Chateau d Yquem - Sauternes - sweet - 1996 - 375 ml
WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING
“Compared with the flamboyant aromatics of the 1997, Yquem's 1996 plays it closer to the vest, although there is a lot going on. Light gold with a tight but promising nose of roasted hazelnuts intermixed with creme brulee, vanilla beans, honey, orange marmalade, and peaches, this medium to full-bodied offering reveals loads of power in its restrained, measured personality. There is admirable acidity, weight, texture, and purity in this impeccably made Yquem. However, patience will be a virtue. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2060.” Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Château d'Yquem's top soil is warm and dry, accumulating heat thanks to smooth flat pebbles and coarse gravel. The clay subsoil contains good water reserves and there are numerous springs on the estate. Yquem's large size made it possible to plant 113 hectares of vines on a very representative sampling of the rich tapestry of the Sauternes region's soil types. This extraordinary variety of soils is a key factor in the quality and complexity of Château d’Yquem. Château d'Yquem has 113 hectares of vines, of which only one hundred produce grapes in a given vintage.
Château d’Yquem was almost English. During the Middle Ages, in fact, the estate belonged to the King of England, who was also Duke of Aquitaine at the time. In 1453, southwest France was once again brought under the dominion of the French crown by Charles VII and has stayed French ever since.
A few years later, the Sauvage family built the château and patiently set about constituting the present-day vineyard, plot by plot. The family became full owners of Yquem in 1711, during the reign of Louis XIV. In 1826, Françoise Joséphine took over the property and built a new wine cellar with her steward Garos – an audacious step at the time – transforming the estate into a true business and developing its international reputation. It was during her time as head of Yquem that the method of picking in several passes was perfected.
The 1996 Vintage
The weather was hot and dry throughout much of the growing season, except for 2 weeks of unexpectedly cool temperatures in September that made for the ideal ripening of grapes that were already in superb condition. Rain arrived at just the right time and soon after it was time to harvest a very homogeneous crop. This textbook vintage epitomises Yquem's balance, elegance, and sheer class!
From: France, Bordeaux, Sauternes