The 2020 vintage is the smallest release ever recorded from Chateau d’Yquem, a property whose archives stretch back significantly more than 100 years. A full 30% down on the 2019 vintage, fewer than 3,000 cases will be released for the entire world.
To this point very few professional critics have published reviews of the 2020 but I had a sneak preview of the vintage with Pierre Lurton last week. Yquem 2020 is a ballerina rather than a heavy weight, that is to say that this is a Sauternes of subtlety and intensity rather than the density and concentration that this chateau can sometimes display. Delicacy is key to the style of the 2020. This is not a wine dripping with noble rot as the hot, dry year delivered a high proportion of passerillage grapes and it was only late September rains that brought a seasoning of botrytis to a crop that was hurriedly picked in just four days.
Today, a big vintage of Yquem might carry as much as 150g/l of residual sugar. By contrast, the 2020 weighs in at a lighter 135g/l. The result is an Yquem that emphasises a more ethereal, elegant and crystalline style. It has pin point balance and supreme finesse, in many ways closer to a Barsac style.
A classic d’Yquem blend of 75% Semillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc, combining a mixture of passerillage and botrytis grapes. Delicate aromas of blossom, something almost suggestive of almond paste, and sweetness from toasty oak. Crystalline and airy in profile, with almost startling lift and brightness. Delicately sculpted with a very subtle botrytis note. Just a hint of mandarin. Gently powdery spice on the very back end. Beautifully long and seductive.
96/100 – Matthew Hemming MW
The 2020 Château d’Yquem a blend of 75% Sémillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc. It has 135 grams per liter of residual sugar and a pH of 3.79. Pale lemon-gold colored, citrus and baking spice notes emerge slowly from the glass, rising to offer well-defined scents of candied ginger, orange blossoms, allspice, and almond tart, leading to a flamboyant core of peach cobbler, ripe, juicy pineapple, jasmine tea, and apple butter with a waft of saffron. The palate is full-bodied and characteristically rich, yet possesses impressive tension and therefore stunning harmony. Layers of exotic spices and fragrant white flower accents fill the palate, leading to a long finish with lingering chalk and mineral nuances. It’s a showy Yquem that is gregarious in youth but is reserving that extra something for those with the patience to wait twenty years or more.
97/100 – Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW / thewineindependent.com
Facing Chateau d’Yquem’s smallest ever release, please don’t delay letting us know if you would like to secure a case. Offered subject to confirmation. We anticipate shipping our stock in May and it should be available ex-LCB in June 2023.