Château d’Yquem, 1989

A.O.C. Sauternes, Bordeaux 1er Cru Classé supérieur, France

Yquem is one of the most extraordinary, unique and astonishing wines in the world. There is no question that it is France’s greatest sweet wine, and for centuries it has been top of the list of the country’s greatest whites – Thomas Jefferson was impressed enough with it in 1787 to order a shipment to be sent back to America. The attention to detail and the uncompromising quest for perfection that go into making this wine are outstanding and unique. Grapes are picked individually, selected for their degree of noble rot at just the right moment. A whole vine will produce just one glass of sweet, golden nectar. If a batch falls below standard it is sold off as anonymous Sauternes. The result is, of course, astonishing. A wonderfully complex, sweet, rich, fascinating drink that ages for decades and even centuries.

Yquem is, without doubt, one of the finest wine producers, of whom Robert Parker comments: “There is no other wine in the world like it, and there is no other luxury wine that can possibly justify its price as much as Yquem. The remarkable amount of painstaking labour necessary to produce the nectar known as Yquem is almost impossible to comprehend.”

There is no rush to drink Yquem, but when you can resist the temptation no more we would recommend that you serve it alongside a foie gras or oyster starter, or with a fine blue cheese such as Roquefort (which has its own a.o.c). Several top international chefs have also partnered Yquem with sole and lobster dishes.


“One the outstanding Yquem’s of the modern age, this ’89 rarely disappoints. The nose is exuberant, just soaring from the glass with acacia honey, orange-blossom, apricots, quince and a touch of wild heather. Brilliant definition. The palate is perhaps more introspective than I anticipated but beautifully balanced with viscous honeyed fruit, tangerine, peach and just a hint of Seville orange marmalade. Lacquers the mouth in heavenly Sauternes with an extraordinarily long finish. Stunning!” Robert Parker


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