Bottle Size: 750 ml
Quantity Available: 4
(98 V) Owners LVMH took the decision to delay the release of
the 2019 Yquem until spring 2022. It was tasted with winemaker Sandrine Garbay
in London. After the summer drought when Sauternes received just 2.5mm of rain
until 26 July, that day saw a 112mm deluge that replenished underground
reserves and gave ripening the push it needed. Dry and warm conditions
prevailed throughout September when there was no sign of botrytis infection.
That was finally provoked by 38mm of rain between 21 and 25 of September,
followed by warm clement weather. After minor picking of Sauvignon Blanc on 7
of October, the main harvest began in earnest on 10 October. Pickers worked
over the following five days, including Sunday. Time was of the essence
because, as forecasts predicted, the weather suddenly changed on 14 of October
with 40mm or rain. After that, the picking teams skirted between showers
between 17 and 22 of October, though by now the fruit had begun to deteriorate.
Therefore, the key aspect of this Yquem is the extremely tight picking window.
The final blend contains 138g/L residual sugar, which is slightly less than the
previous vintage, with 5.5g/L total acidity and 14.4% alcohol. Tasting the
2019, I noticed that it has a slightly paler hue compared to recent vintages
(though I never read too much into the colour of young Sauternes.) For certain,
it has a highly-aromatic bouquet that is beguiling in purity, enticing aromas
of honeysuckle and saffron, soon joined by camomile, white flowers and orange
blossom. It has wonderful delineation and gains intensity with aeration. The
palate is supremely well-balanced with fine bead of acidity. Very harmonious
and armed with just the right amount of viscosity, this Yquem is surprisingly
understated at first but gains presence, offering irresistible flavours of
layers of honey, lemongrass, lemon thyme and orange pith. Yquem is so tempting
in its youth, but I feel that this vintage will repay those with the nous to
cellar for at least a decade.