2017 chateau d'yquem premier cru superieur, sauternes
Why We're Buying
Only one property in Sauternes has ever earned the distinction as Premier Cru Supérieur. That estate: Château d'Yquem. The winemaking powerhouse has built a reputation for unmatched complexity and elegance, which has led to astronomical prices. In 2006, an investor paid $1.5 million for a single lot of Château d'Yquem wine.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
There was no frost at d’Yquem in 2017, and botrytis was very regular and even this vintage. The nose opens with very pure notes of freshly sliced oranges, yuzu and lemon barley water with hints of white pepper, fresh ginger and lime cordial. The incredibly rich, unctuous sweetness (148 grams per liter of residual sugar) is beautifully marbled with bright, vivacious citrus fruit and spice flavors, while lifted by well-knit freshness, and it finishes with epic length and great depth.
This is a great Yquem, delivering thrilling purity and intensity. The nose offers intense aromas of fresh and dried apricot and peach pastry, as well as freshly baked creme brulee, candied and fresh orange and kumquat. Some marmalade, too. Smooth, glossy texture with flavors of grilled orange, dried apricot and an exceptionally long finish with a powerful, driving push to the end. A flicker of toasty-oak influence arrives late, but this wine has completely consumed the oak. The 2017 Yquem is a very powerful wine from a very rich and exceptional vintage. The acidity has a big hand in balancing the richness. Pithy finish. The phenolics deliver some great depth. Rain at the beginning of September prompted an extensive infection of noble rot. The harvest lasted from September 26 to October 13. Great quality and one of the best since the legendary 2001. Drink or hold.
The 2017 Yquem, which was not affected by frost, was picked in two tries from 26 to 29 September and 5 to 10 October. There is 148gm/L residual sugar and a 3.8 pH, alcohol coming in at 13.9°. The early September rain prompted homogenous pourriture noble and this was followed by a warm period that meant that concentration came rapidly. They focused on the best parts of the property, discarding 30% of the parcels. It has a very harmonious bouquet with white peaches, orange sorbet, white flowers and a touch of crushed stone. It has an airy nose that gathers pace with aeration. The palate is very fresh in the mouth with slightly less weight and concentration than the 2015 tasted alongside. There are subtle spicy veins interwoven through the final third with hints of freshly shaved ginger that add another dimension towards the finish. This might not be up there with the top tier of Yquem’s over the last century, however, it is clearly a very well-crafted and complex Sauternes that will last many years.
To overcome the gap between the dry white harvest (16-25 August, even earlier than in 2003) and the noble rot harvest (20 September to 14 October), the team began by picking their best plots on the cooler clay terroirs to ensure maximum freshness. They have expertly managed to retain a beautiful focus, showing pared back but fleshy white peach and pear notes, saffron, white pepper, subtle gunsmoke and slate, followed by a fantastic kick of ginger through the mid palate and beyond. There was no frost impact here, but they were still very strict in the blending, using just 45% of their 17hl/ha crop. This wine has a fairly high 148g/l of residual sugar, with TA6 and 3.8pH (compared to 3.65pH in 2015). They expect to carry out long oak ageing to add structure and to balance the sugars.