Chateau d'Yquem 2003 Sauternes 1er Grand Cru Classé
Alas, this vintage has not been tasted by us. We offer some professional tasting notes and vintage background
"This year was strongly marked by hot weather starting in mid-May, building up to record temperatures in August. The summer of 2003 was totally outside the norm. 35 mm of rain in early September brought on an overwhelming and all-encompassing attack of botrytis that resulted in a unique phenomenon: the entire crop was picked in one single pass! The wine is as elegant as it is atypical. It is said that this vintage is reminiscent of the conditions that led to the making of the first ever botrytised wines in Sauternes."
"The average June temperature for 2003 was the warmest ever recorded at Yquem since they installed their first weather station in 1896. And things were only just starting to heat up. This notoriously hot vintage nonetheless produced some very pleasant Bordeaux surprises, Yquem being one. As readers can guess, obtaining the necessary sugar levels was not the problem this year. If it was a question of sugar alone, berries could well have been harvested in August. But come September, the wait was on for the botrytis. Fortunately, a little rain beginning on the 5th of September kick-started proceedings, and with the help of continued warm temperatures, the noble rot took off like a rocket! After this, frenetic harvesting and strict selection ensued. Harvest was over in a record nine days, resulting in a super rich, concentrated and full botrytized expression that beautifully does justice to both the vintage and to Yquem.
Medium lemon-gold colored, the 2003 d'Yquem seems to be emerging from a slumber, awakening with gloriously expressive notes of ginger ale, pineapple upside-down cake, toasted hazelnuts, star anise, cinnamon stick and preserved mandarin peel plus hints of lemon butter, crushed rocks, musk perfume and chalk dust. Full-bodied, super concentrated and decadently unctuous, the palate exudes waves of preserved tropical fruits and citrus sparks charged with energetic freshness, finishing epically long and wonderfully spicy. Alcohol is 13.5% this year, while the residual sugar comes in at a whopping 147 grams per liter, nicely balanced by a total acidity of 4.2 grams per liter H2SO4."
Lisa Perotti-Brown MW, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, 96Pts
"Mid amber. Vanilla cream, white chocolate, butter and orange zest. Succulent and clean on the finish. Reverberant acidity. Simply stunning. Could this be bettered? Hard to imagine how."
Richard Hemming MW, Jancisrobinson.com, 20Pts