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1996 Chateau d'Yquem 1er Grand Cru Classe 375ml
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- Closure: Cork
Situated at the top of the Sauternes/ Barsac appellation hierarchy under the classification of Premier Cru Superieur, the wines of Chateau d’Yquem are simply like that of no other. Its history is established in the dominion of the English crown under Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, initially spouse to King Louis VII and later to Henry Plantaganet in 1152 (King Henry II) where the estate remained under British Royal ownership until 1453.
The estates notable years of growth came under the Sauvage family; united through marriage with family Lur-Saluces, they would remain sole caretakers of d’Yquem over four centuries until the retirement of Alexandre de Lur-Saluces in 2004 at the behest major shareholder LVMH. Pierre Lurton of Chateau Cheval-Blanc in now in the prime position. The vineyards at d'Yquem span 113 ha, planting 80% Semillon and 20% Sauvignon Blanc, and none of the permitted Muscadelle. The estate is one of the only few in the district to utilizing a mixture of both semi and fully botrytised grapes in order to maintain balance of sugar and acidity.
Older vintages such as the featured 1997 and 1998 are sheer delights, coupled with some stellar pre-arrival pricing at a fraction of the rate we would buy off the importers! We would implore that this is as good an opportunity as you will see to get your hands on some d'Yquem, absent of remorse.
Compared with the flamboyant aromatics of the 1997, Yquem's 1996 plays it closer to the vest, although there is a lot going on. Light gold with a tight but promising nose of roasted hazelnuts intermixed with creme brulee, vanilla beans, honey, orange marmalade, and peaches, this medium to full-bodied offering reveals loads of power in its restrained, measured personality. There is admirable acidity, weight, texture, and purity in this impeccably made Yquem. However, patience will be a virtue. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2060.
Robert Parker-The Wine Advocate #146