Chateau d Yquem - Sauternes - sweet - 2003 - 750 ml
WHAT THE CRITICS ARE SAYING
“Medium lemon-gold colored, the 2003 d'Yquem seems to be emerging from a slumber, awakening with gloriously expressive notes of ginger ale, pineapple upside-down cake, toasted hazelnuts, star anise, cinnamon stick and preserved mandarin peel plus hints of lemon butter, crushed rocks, musk perfume and chalk dust. Full-bodied, super concentrated and decadently unctuous, the palate exudes waves of preserved tropical fruits and citrus sparks charged with energetic freshness, finishing epically long and wonderfully spicy.” Lisa Perrotti-Brown, 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 2003 Vintage
The average June temperature for 2003 was the warmest ever recorded at Yquem since they installed their first weather station in 1896. And things were only just starting to heat up. This notoriously hot vintage nonetheless produced some very pleasant Bordeaux surprises, Yquem being one. As readers can guess, obtaining the necessary sugar levels was not the problem this year. If it was a question of sugar alone, berries could well have been harvested in August. But come September, the wait was on for the botrytis. Fortunately, a little rain beginning on the 5th of September kick-started proceedings, and with the help of continued warm temperatures, the noble rot took off like a rocket! After this, frenetic harvesting and strict selection ensued. Harvest was over in a record nine days, resulting in a super rich, concentrated and full botrytized expression that beautifully does justice to both the vintage and to Yquem.
From: France, Bordeaux, Sauternes