Chateau d'Yquem 2017 - The new vintage of the world's most famous sweet wine

Chateau d'Yquem 2017 - The new vintage of the world's most famous sweet wine

Yquem 2017 header
The new vintage of the world's most famous sweet wine

Great wines are not born just anywhere, by accident. A unique set of climatic and geological conditions combine to form a rare equilibrium. This is undoubtedly the case at Yquem, which epitomises all that is best about the singular winegrowing environment in Sauternes. Château d'Yquem's topsoil 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. Drainage pipes were installed some time ago to prevent waterlogging (100 km of drains since the 19th century). 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. Two to three hectares of vines that are too old are uprooted annually, and the soil left fallow for a year. Furthermore, it takes at least five years before new vines produce grapes that are up to Yquem's very strict standards. Twelve hectares of vines are thus non-productive every year. Yquem is planted with two grape varieties: Sémillon (75%), which produces a rich wine with body and structure, and Sauvignon Blanc (25%), an early-ripening but less reliable producer, which contributes aromas and finesse. The vines are tended with the greatest of care. Workers perpetuate a long tradition of painstaking work under the watchful eye of the vineyard manager. 

Château d'Yquem's microclimate is in the heart of a 20 km strip of land along both sides of the Garonne Valley where all of Bordeaux's sweet and semi-sweet white wine appellations (Sainte Croix du Mont, Loupiac, Cérons, Cadillac, and Barsac) are located. 

The fact that all of Sauternes' great growths (eleven first growths and twelve seconds) are located around Château d'Yquem - the only Premier Cru Supérieur - tends to bear out Yquem's ideal location. The magic phenomenon of botrytisation is nevertheless fragile and subject to numerous meteorological factors. If the weather is too dry, noble rot is stymied. And if it rains too much, the grapes stop becoming concentrated. Furthermore, other types of fungus are waiting in the wings to take advantage of botrytis' weaknesses to take its place and ruin the grapes irredeemably... Accepting such risks inevitably leads to very low yields at Yquem and sometimes even calls for abandoning the entire crop

We are pleased to offer the new 2017 Chateau d'Yquem in three formats. This is an En Primeur offer. Wines will be available late April 2020.

2017 was a year with total botrytis and tremendous concentration that called for very specific sorting techniques to stay within the parameters defined by Yquem. To summarise, 2017 is a very great success, worthy of the finest vintages ending in "7". Sémillon 75% and Sauvignon 25%

Chateau d'Yquem 2017
375ml $475.00
750ml $935.00
1500ml MAGNUM $1840.00

Yquem NV label
Wine Cellar Insider: Crisp notes of vanilla, marzipan, pineapple, mango, orange rind, flowers, and candied apricot are right there, as soon as wine the moves from the bottle to your glass. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied, fresh, sweet, ripe and zippy. There is length, purity and precision. The lingering pineapple, apricot and sweet, lemon curd on your palate gets life from the jolt of racy acidity that runs down the middle. This is a top vintage for Chateau d'Yquem that is defined by its vibrant, freshness. What made 2017 so good, is the speed in which the sugar levels reached maximum potential. The harvest took place September 26 - October 13. The wine was made from blending 75% Semillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc, reaching 13.6% with sugars hitting 48 G/L. The Grand Vin was made from 40% of the harvest. 99 Points

Vinous, Near Martin: 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. (Drink between 2023-2060). 
95-97 Points
Jancis Robinson: 
Only a few vines on the fringes were frosted. Rain in the first half of September promoted botrytis and stopped before it became a problem. Concentration was very fast thereafter and picking had to be fast too because of the rising sugar levels. The main picking was 26 September to 9 October. RS 148 g/l, TA 6 g/l, pH 3.8. Total production was up but strict selection was essential. 80,000 bottles produced. Rich, creamy-almond nose, almond paste, ripe pears, apricot more than bitter orange. The first impression showed less immediate botrytis than I expected, it smells so creamy. Fills the mouth with sweetness and a light peppery spice. As it opens up, there's pineapple and bitter orange flavours emerge. Viscous texture and such concentration that it fills your mouth even after spitting. Unctuous but balanced by the bitter-orange freshness on the long finish. (Drink between 2027-2047).
18.5+ Points
Decanter: 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. Expect 80,000 bottles of Yquem. 
(Drink between 2020-2042). 96 Points

To view and order the wines on our website click here.

Y d'Yquem Blanc 2018
750ml $359.00

Chateau Y With an annual production of 10,000 bottles a year, Y (pronounced "ee-grek" in French) is a rare wine. It is made from the same outstanding terroir and the same vines as Château d'Yquem. Although work in the vineyard is every bit as meticulous, the grapes are picked and the wine made in a different way. It was decided in 2004 to make Y every year. It is thus by deliberate choice that we now harvest certain plots of Sauvignon Blanc at the beginning of the vintage, making sure to pick perfectly ripe bunches. These are completed by Sémillon grapes picked just at that fleeting stage when the grapes have reached maximum ripeness, botrytis has just appeared, and the skins have turned a pinkish colour. This is the precise moment when this grape variety's tannins are soft enough for the aromatic potential of the best plots of clay soil to come through. The wine receives close attention all during fermentation: light, precise pressing as well as temperature-controlled must racking and alcoholic fermentation in a new aesthetically pleasing, state-of-the-art vat room set aside just for this wine. The end of fermentation and ageing on the lees take place in barrels. Only one third of these are new, and the lees are regularly stirred (bâtonnage) for ten months. The final blend is made after tasting. It usually consists predominantly of Sauvignon Blanc and a few lots of Sémillon. The growing season of the 2018 vintage unfolded under tropical conditions. On the 15th of July, a violent hailstorm caused considerable damage in Sauvignon Blanc plots, limiting production of Y. However, the 15th of August signalled a return to fine weather. For the third time in history, Y was entirely harvested in August - from the 23rd until the 28th - in keeping with the greatest early-ripening vintages, such as the 2011 and 2017.
To view and order the wine on our website click here.

Orders may also be placed by email to tracey@grandmillesime.com.au or by phone to (03) 9326 5737. 
Cheers,
Darren

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Domaine Olivier Guyot 2016 Dinner
Thursday 3 October 2019 at David's

We love to present interesting producers of Burgundy who we have discovered whilst visiting the world's greatest wine region. Sometimes these domaines have a high profile but often they do not. To be honest it is the makers that fall into the second category that give me the most pleasure. Many of you will have tasted the wines of Gilbert and Christine Felettig, Philippe Cheron, Chevillon-Chezeaux, Domaine des Varoilles, Pierrick Bouley, Coste-Caumartin, Jomain, Duroche and Bernard Millot - all once seldom reviewed by the US critics but now on the radar and often lauded as new Burgundian superstars.
 
Domaine Olivier Guyot is another of these less well known producers who makes exceptional wines.
 
The Guyots are one of the oldest families in Marsannay-la-Côte. Louis Guyot was a small farmer/wine-grower with many animals, particularly carthorses which he used to help in the vineyards and at harvest time. In 1951, his son Albert took over the family farm. Most of the vineyards and fields were located at Marsannay-la-Côte and his wine was mainly sold on to merchants.
 
In 1962, Albert married Odile Guyard, the eldest daughter of a large family. Odile's father, Georges Guyard was a small landowner and nurseryman. He decided to rent vineyards and then bought some to enlarge his own estate bit by bit. To save his horses the journey between the two villages (7 km), he swapped his Gevrey-Chambertin Premier Cru (Lavaux St-Jacques) for land at Marsannay-la-Côte!
 
Since 1990, Olivier Guyot has been in sole charge of the estate which now stretches from Marsannay-la-Côte to Chambolle-Musigny. Today the estate comprises a vast number of small plots covering 15 hectares. Vines are grown using bio dynamic cultivation methods and are still ploughed the traditional way, with a carthorse. Vine age is significant ensuring wines of concentration and complexity.
 
Guyot receives great press from the French critics but is not visited by any of the major English-speaking reviewers.
 
I do not have tasting notes for all of his 2016's so I thought a small dinner presenting his wines would be great. We will look at 9 different wines including his Clos St-Denis and Clos de la Roche Grand Crus. Due to the frost in 2016 there was just a single barrel (288 bottles) of each produced.
 
I would like to offer you first opportunity to attend this dinner. The dinner will be at David's in Prahran on Thursday 3 October. 7.30pm start. The cost of the wine portion is $135.00 per person. As we have done in the past we will order the Celebration Banquet ($65.00 per Person) and share the food and corkage ($10.00 per bottle) bill on the evening. It will be a smaller group than usual and I only have 8 seats available.
 
If you would like to come along please let me know.
 
The wine list:
 
Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2016

Marsannay Les Favieres 2016
Marsannay La Montagne 2016

Gevrey-Chambertin En Champs 2016
Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Les Champeaux 2016

Morey-St-Denis 1er Cru Les Sorbets 2016
Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Baudes 2016

Clos-St-Denis Grand Cru 2016
Clos de la Roche Grand Cru 2016
 
Date: Thursday 3 October 2019
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: David's
4 Cecil Place, Prahran 3181
Cost: Wine portion $135.00

To book on line click here.

 
 

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