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Debut: The True Nectar of the Gods and What You Should Know About This Release
September 21, 2020



Debut of Château d’Yquem 2018 and ‘Y’ Ygrec 2019. Yields Down 40% in 2018 for the Prized Nectar of the Gods. Rare Formats Direct from Bordeaux! Halves (375ml) to the Phantom Nebuchadnezzar (15.0L).

Few wines in the world are as magical and breathtaking as a bottle of d’Yquem, and it is not surprising that a bottle of 1811 Château d’Yquem sold for a record $117,000 back in 2011. For most of us it does not need be a two-hundred-year-old bottle to capture the allure of this wine, each new release presents a jaw-dropping wine experience. The 2018 is another utterly compelling expression in a long history that dates back to the late 16th century. This is an Yquem built on a core of balance and power, layered with exoticism. Jane Anson from Decanter has chimmed in stating, “with a gloriously gourmet 145g/ha residual sugar, and a pH level of 3.95… an excellent Yquem.

We are now pleased to announce the official debut of the 2018 Château d’Yquem Sauternes with rare large formats; the Château has added the Balthazar (9.0L) and Salmanazar (12.0L) to the Nebuchadnezzar (15.0L) – a mere 50 bottles of each are created for the World! Alas, what is important to note about the 2018 Sauternes vintage is that the crop was down 40%, it was a labor intensive four week harvest with four passes for the best fruit. As a result, demand for the liquid gold will once again be high.

In addition to the 2018 Sauternes, the fabled Château has included the release of the dry white 2019 ‘Y’ (pronounced eee-grec) from Château d’Yquem. Yes, the producer of the world’s greatest sweet also produces one of the world’s finest dry whites, a wine that Robert Parker has called, “...a tour de force in dry white winemaking!” Unfortunately, due to the same exacting methods of the Sauternes, just 800 cases are produced in select vintages. In 58 years, it has only been produced 29 times. And with each en primeur, while it is the reds that were always the focus, this is one of those wines that would stand up in a crowded field and demand to be noticed. It lands somewhere between a Sancerre and a Northern Rhone. Like the great whites of Haut Brion and Smith Haut Lafitte, it is a wine to experience.

In addition, IWM is including the standout releases from 2017, 2016, and 2007 as d’Yquem is best with aging. What we further appreciate about these back-vintage selections over the new release 2018, is that they are tariff free. Talk to your Portfolio Manager to learn more.

Featured Wines: Debut of Yquem and “Y” with Rare Large Formats and Back Vintages




*indicates pre-arrival +2016 Packaging: 375ML = OWC of 3/6/12, 750ML = OWC of 1/3/6, 1.5L and larger = OWC of 1

^the 2018 d'Yquem 375ml, 750ml, and 1.5L are subject the tariff upon arrival into the US. Purchaser would be responsible for paying the tariff at that time. 2018 is expected to arrive Winter.

We are now inviting collectors to experience the rare ‘Y’ along with what is one of the world’s most captivating, symbolic and historic wines. In fact, there are records indicating that George Washington acquired 360 bottles of 1787. Two hundred and twenty-five or so years later the wines have even more allure – especially with age! And to further celebrate this release we are pleased to include back vintage bottlings of d’Yquem: 2017, 2016, and 2007 direct from Bordeaux. Château d’Yquem is considered the finest and most well-known sweet wine in the world. It was the only wine classified as Premier Cru Superieur in the 1855 Classification and the only Grand Cru Sauternes, therefore, unlike the five First Growths it has no rival in its class. It is located 15 miles to the south of the city of Bordeaux and the picturesque Château occupies the highest point in Sauternes. The vineyard is planted solely with Semillon (80%) and Sauvignon Blanc (20%) grapes. Only fully botrytized grapes are used and it takes an entire vine to produce just one single glass of wine.

Additional Notes and Reviews:


2018 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes
97 Points, Decanter Magazine: Average temperatures 2.7°C over average, combined with 20% of the normal rainfall from mid August to the end of July made makes this a naturally rich, low-yielding vintage (40% less than average, not helped by a hail storm in July), with a gloriously gourmet 145g/ha residual sugar, and a pH level of 3.95. As ever with Yquem, patience was the key, taking in the grapes slowly but surely over 17 days harvest that extended well into October. The results in the glass are intense and glossy, full of satin-textured apricot and white peach flavours. There are exotic fruits of pineapple and mango but winemaker Sandrine Garbay has kept a focus on fresher flavours of lime zest and citrus that balance out the natural richness and concentration. Pretty closed right now, but there is power and balance here, an excellent Yquem. Drink 2022-2050.”

2019 Chateau d'Yquem ‘Y’ (or Ygrec)
Christopher Deas, Italian Wine Merchants: “Since its inception in 1959, the dry white ‘Y’ has only been produced 26 times in 58 years due to the exacting measures of the Château. The blend is essentially 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Semillon and less than one thousand cases are produced annually. It should be noted that production for these older vintages was even less, and only a mere handful are left in the world. Like the grand sibling of the Château, this is one of life’s treasured wines that has the unique ability to age decades. We recommend aging the young wines as well as decanting when serving. To put the rarity of this offer in perspective, just 20 double magnums of the 2019 ‘Y’ is released to the world, and IWM is allocated a mere handful of cases of the new release.”

2017 Chateau d'Yquem ‘Y’ (or Ygrec)
98 Points, James Suckling: “This is an exotic dry white with dried mango and pineapple and some slate throughout. Full-bodied with dense, rich fruit and saltiness, which, together with extremely energetic acidity, really drive the finish. Drink now or hold.”

2017 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes
97-99 Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The 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.” April 2018

97 Points, Neal Martin, Vinous: “The 2017 Yquem was tasted instead of the 2018 since owners LVMH no longer show the wine en primeur. This vintage has just been released onto the market and so I have included it in this report. The estate suffered no frost damage in 2017 and a warm period between May and July, 3° Celsius above average meant the vines' growth cycle was a month in advance. Then, 65mm of rain between 1 and 16 September was the catalyst for botrytis formation. The fruit was picked in two dry and warm windows between 26 September and 14 October, during which concentration came easily so that the bunches achieved even levels of ripeness. The vineyard team selected the best parcels to pick at 21 degrees potential alcohol and in a draconian measure, the rest was sold, some 50% of the crop. Winemaker Sandrine Garbay described it as "A vintage of puissance and richness." It has a charming and very pure bouquet with dried honey, acacia, apricot blossom and touches of crushed stone that gradually unfurls in the glass. The palate is viscous on the entry, beautifully balanced with impressive weight and substance, though sans the multi-dimensional complexity of the very greatest vintages. Honey, hints of lemongrass, marmalade and quince combine on the extremely harmonious finish that lingers. This is a seriously good Yquem.” November 2019

2016 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes
99 Points, Jeb Dunnuck: “The 2016 Chateau D’Yquem is pure magic and dessert wines don’t get much better. Offering a pale gold color as well as a blockbuster bouquet of honeyed tangerines, tart apricots, liquid rocks, white flowers, and honeysuckle, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, an opulent texture, vibrant acidity, and again, an incredible sense of minerality, despite having no shortage of sweetness or richness. The 2016 is a classic blend of 75% Sémillon and 25% Sauvignon that hit 14.2% alcohol with 135 grams of residual sugar. It’s already complex and approachable yet will keep for 3-4 decades.”

98+ Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate: “Containing 135 grams per liter of residual sugar, the pale lemon-gold colored 2016 d'Yquem leaps from the glass with honeyed apricots, pineapple, green mango, crushed rocks, candied ginger, coriander seed and citrus peel with hints of orange blossom. The palate is very tightly wound, vibrant and refreshing with layer upon layer of minerals and spices, finishing with epic poise and persistence.” March 2019

2007 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes
98+ Points, Lisa Perrotti-Brown, The Wine Advocate: “Pale to medium gold colored, the 2007 d'Yquem delivers powerful scents of tropical fruits—dried mangoes and pineapple paste—accented by acacia honey, toasted almonds and woodsmoke with hints of chalk dust, kettle corn and lime blossom. The palate reveals one of those vintages that shape-shifts into an apparently drier style than it is, largely thanks to its uber-racy backbone of freshness and layered mineral-inspired flavors, finishing with a regal, satin-textured savoriness. Difficult to resist now, this will be one of those Rip Van Winkle vintages that can be predicted to cellar not just for decades but for generations. For number crunchers: 14.2% alcohol, 137 grams per liter residual sugar, and total acidity is 3.7 grams per liter H2SO4.”

98 Points, Neal Martin, Vinous: “Tasted single blind against its peers. Under blind conditions, the Yquem 2007 shines like a diamond. Nevertheless, it is initially rather taciturn on the nose, eventually opening up beautifully with touches of lemon curd, Mirabelle, and clear honey. The palate is medium-bodied with very fine definition and there seems to be a great deal of energy and vigor dispensed for your pleasure. There is such race and nervosity, and then that finish just purrs with harmony and focus. This Yquem feels just so alive and vivacious, yet there is an effortless quality here that is unmatched by its peers. Tasted January 2011.”

If you would like to take advantage of this offer we are asking that you email orders back to me at chris.deas@italianwinemerchants.com, connect with your portfolio manager or mention receipt of this offer if calling the store. All orders are subject to confirmation. Please note, for 2018 d’Yquem 375ml, 750ml, and 1.5L, the wines will arrive this upcoming Winter. As such, should tariffs exist at the time, the purchaser of the wines will be responsible for these additional tariffs at the time of importation as this wine is below 14% alc and the sizes/formats are not exempt from tariffs. The 2018 d’Yquem 3L, 6L, 9L, 12L, and 15L are tariff-free at the moment. All wines subject to confirmation.

All my best,
Chris