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D'Yquem 2020 (375ML)

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Left Bank
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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

97+ WI / 97 DB / 96 DE

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. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, Wine Independent

(Sauternes; 75% Semillon; 25% Sauvignon Blanc; a final yield of around 10 hl/h and hence 44k bottles in comparison to 60k for the 2019; 135 g/l of residual sugar; picked, essentially, in two tries (a tri is a a ‘sweep’ through the vineyard picking grapes), the first of passerillé (the grapes that have been left to dry on the vine) and the second of botrytized grapes; 14% alcohol). The return to quite a traditional blend for Yquem. Golden highlights and, in the sunshine, a splash of buttercup. Joyous, very open and immediately expressive aromatically, this feels fully-formed and, from the very first encounter, complete, harmonious and supremely integrated (an impression only reinforced as the wine opens in the glass). The nose is rich, sweet and enticing, with a sparkling, lifted, bright, crisp fresh feel to it – the very pure and precise fruit very much the star of the show. The botrytis notes are present, but a little restrained (much more so than in the 2019, for instance) and the complexity is constructed differently than in a richer and more concentrated vintage with multiple tries of botrytized grapes. This is a wine of purity and precision, the botrytis element bringing a subtle additional complexity without ever dethroning or detracting from the apricot, white pear, apple skin, peach skin, candied apple and tropical fruit. There’s a tiny hint of wild strawberry and just a trace of orange blossom and elderflower – but this is much less floral aromatically than the 2019. There’s buttered brioche, saffron, buttercup, heather honey, candyfloss and toffee apple, marzipan and frangipane and a panoply of subtle citrus notes – fresh, confit and pressé – bringing tension and accentuating the detail and definition. There’s also a delicate hint of roasted langoustine shell. This is super-soft and diaphanous on the entry, cooling in the mouth from the delicacy, purity and precision of the fruit. It is rich and yet fluid and dynamic and there’s a lovely evolution over the palate. The acidity acts like the tannins in a chiselled red wine, engaging slowly but with purpose to shape and structure the flow of the wine over the palate, drawing the core back to a well-defined central spine and, in the process, revealing more and more of the ever more perfectly detailed apricot fruit (like an image moving into focus). It’s a little like the building and then breaking of an Atlantic roller, with a profoundly apricot-scented plume of spray released as the acidity (and, indeed, salinity) grips the wine. In form and personality this has much more in common with the very best red wines of the vintage than the whites, with lovely clarity, tension and poise. Sumptuous, joyous, silkily textured and energetic, but above all luminous and crystalline with great precision and purity. The touch of fleur de sel elongates the juicy, sapid finish leaving just the pure fruit as a wondrous memory in the empty glass. - Colin Hay, Drinks Business

A masterclass in purity and delicacy for this 2020 vintage which manages to convey the beauty and allure of Yquem in a toned down, subtle and beguiling way. Aromas of white blossom and honeysuckle, gently caramelised Mirabelle plums and fresh apricots with flecks of clementine and grapefruit pith abound on the nose - richly scented in their individual aspects but delivered quietly, almost sultry and shy. Immediately mouthfilling and unctuous, streamlined and fresh with a sugary hit hitting first before mouthwatering acidity follows giving sumptuous succulence and vibrancy. Apricot, peach, fleshy mango and sharp pineapple give the exotic fruit zing balanced by a salty, flintiness that adds faint angles to the expression. Juicy, bright, clean and complete with hints of cinnamon spice and just-toasted bread providing the frame and structure reminding you that this is built to last. It's not as opulent as some vintages, much more understated and relaxed - and coincidentally one of the lowest in residual sugar at 135g/l - but this is a wonderful expression with control and confidence on show. It also has supreme drinkability even now with tension, clarity and energy so don't be afraid to open and enjoy this in its joyful youth. The 2020 is the smallest production since 2000 with an equivalent of 35,000 bottles made. All stock will be released for sale on 23rd March with only a small number of bottles kept back for the estate's library collection. 3.79pH. The vintage was challenging in terms of viticulture with tropical spring-like weather delivering early budburst and high mildew pressure, especially given it was the estate's first year of official organic conversion. June was wet and cool followed by a hot, dry summer. Botrytis arrived in mid-October but there was only a small window of five days and two separate passes to harvest grapes with perfect noble rot. - GH, Decanter

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