Yquem – King of Sauternes

Feb 21, 2024 | All, International wines | 0 comments

Our recent dinner with the team from Château d’Yquem was absolutely world-class. It was an incredible experience, with cellar master Toni El Khawand sharing his deep passion for the wines from this hallowed piece of land in Sauternes. The history at Yquem is not a mere mechanism of marketing – Toni shares how some members of his team in the cellar are the 6th generation living and working at Yquem.

The evening highlighted the incredible versatility of Sauternes with a range of dishes. My own paradigm of these wines has completely changed. Relegate these wines to the “dessert wine” category at your own peril! The d’Yquem 2021 was an absolute eye-opener for its vivacity and freshness. The presence of the acidity makes this so appealing as an aperitif or with ceviche (raw fish with a lime or lemon dressing). The 2016 is still very primary in its presentation, but is starting to settle for the long term. It confirmed that Yquem can be superb while young. The stand-out of the evening was the 2005 – an utterly captivating wine that’s layered, complex and deep. It’s moving away from exotic fruit elements to candied quince, some apricots, fine spice and a reference to almond paste. Other-wordly! 1984 makes a requirement of you. It’s not as generous as the 2005, but time reveals the beauty of mature Yquem – fruit preserve, nuts and a driving acidity that carries the wine all the way to the back of your palate. A rare wine.

Of course an evening with Yquem will not be complete without the unique Y d’Yquem – the dry white version of Yquem. Always containing a small portion of botrytised Semillon as a nod to its origins and with a residual sugar of 5-8g per litre, the wine is singular in its expression compared to other Bordeaux Blancs. The 2016 is a beaming wine with white flowers, some peach skin and an exotic curry leaf element that adds incredible complexity. So unique, you almost want to have it on its own. Of course it will sing with a range of white fish/meat or mushroom-based vegetarian dishes. In additon to the majestic 2016, we also have the Y 2021 on offer – an incredible vintage for Bordeaux Blanc. Jane Anson notes, “This exceptional white wine is a great example (of 2021),” scoring it 98!

Vintages marked with an * are sold on a pre-order basis, set to arrive in the second half of 2024. All other wines are available immediately. Send a request to johan@winecellar.co.za to process your order. Payment required on presentation of the invoice to secure your order.

Y d’YquemBordeaux Blanc2021*750ml98 JAR 5,750
Y d’YquemBordeaux Blanc2016*750ml93 NMR 6,500
d’YquemSauternes2016*750ml95 NMR 10,900
d’YquemSauternes2005*750ml98+ WAR 11,900
d’YquemSauternes1984*750ml87 WAR 16,975
d’YquemSauternes1996750ml95 WAR 7,500
d’YquemSauternes1998750ml95 WAR 7,500
d’YquemSauternes1999375ml92 WAR 4,500
d’YquemSauternes2000375ml90 WAR 4,500
d’YquemSauternes2010375ml95 WAR 5,000
d’YquemSauternes2010750ml95 WAR 10,000
d’YquemSauternes2014375ml97 NMR 4,500

JA: Jane Anson; NM: Neal Martin; WA: Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

Recent posts