(2018) At 31 years old this is in marvellous condition and magical form. Cellared by me for the past 20 years or so, the colour is a bright, rich gold, and the nose is laden with botrytis notes of honey and glycerine, barley sugar and tea. There's a minty echo of oak and ripeness, but it is gloriously pure. In the mouth it is weighty without being sticky, with those lovely glycerine tones to the peachy, apricot and then lemony fruit, the sweetness perfectly balanced against the fresh, long, dry acidity that elongates the finish. What a lovely wine. Available as listed below at time of writing.
(2007) Vying with Rieussec for Sauternes top wine this vintage in my opinion (I didn't manage to taste d'Yquem), this has one of the most attractive noses and one that is already showing more complexity than any others. Barley sugar and toffeed sweetness, with a marmalade lusciousness and fat, waxy fruit. Very ripe and fruity, the palate has striking botrytis with honey and more marmalade qualities coating the palate, and a beautiful core of acidity. Great length here too.
(2006) Vying with Rieussec for Sauternes top wine of the vintage in my opinion (I didn't manage to taste Yquem), this has one of the most attractive noses and one that is already showing more complexity than any others. Barley sugar and toffeed sweetness, with a marmalade lusciousness and fat, waxy fruit. Very ripe and fruity, the palate has striking botrytis with honey and more marmalade qualities coating the palate, and a beautiful core of acidity. Great length here too.
(2005) Luscious mid-gold colour. Beautifully limpid and pure nose of dried apricot, a gently figgy toastiness, and lots of very lightly caramelised orange fruit. Exudes a creamy quality on the nose. On the palate there is full, luscious weight, with a terrifically oily texture, and intense fig and concentrated dried fruit flavours. There's a freshness and ripeness suggesting pieneapple and really ripe mango, but a lovely core of tea-leaf, tobacco and herbs that adds massively to the complexity. Acidity seems very well integrated and stays gently in the background, but it really persists in the finish and plays against the concentrated apricot and nectarine skin concentration of fruit. With fabulous length, this looks like a very good Yquem in the making, and along with Rieussec, my wine of the vintage.
(2003) The first time I have tasted this vintage of Yquem, so quite a treat. Extremely vanillary and rich on the nose at present, absolutely flooded with sweet, custardy oak, but obvious layers beneath of honey, toast, marmalady fruit and botrytis. On the palate it is thick-textured and unctuous, with barley-sugar and honey thickly layered over nectarine and dark, seville-orange fruit. This is super-concentrated, and seems very fine indeed, like tasting the 1989 young, with a palate loaded with fruit, nutty richness and plenty of acidity pushing and extending the finish. Extremely promising, and almost certainly of outstanding potential.
(2002) Delightful botrytis here on this golden-hued wine. Very fine and surprisingly youthful, with honeyed apricot, tangerine and exotic pineapple notes. There's a nutty, toffeed undertone, and a hint of citrus too - even a minerally component. Beautiful palate, with terrific sweetness that floods over the tongue in honeyed silkiness. Fine nutty quality, again more rich, ripe apricot character and clean, though generous acidity that extends a pure, lingering finish. An excellent and beautiful wine.
(1999) Lovely deep golden colour. Nose is dominated by new oak at present, but beneath there are notes of mint, melon, lime and vanilla with hints of a coconutty richness. The palate is quite closed. There's a good, rich mouthfeel and fine sweetness. Botrytis is muted and flavours seem rather compacted.
(1999) La Tour Blanche is reckoned to be the estate where Sauternes was first developed and it was classified just behind Yquem at the top of the 1855 list, so quite a contrast to the preceeding wine from Saintsbury, who were founded only in 1981! This wine has a crystal-clear and refined nose of honey and fig botrytis, citrus fruit and an almost minty purity. It is obviously a baby, and on the palate reveals its complexity only very slowly. The overall impression is of fine, pure sweetness and honeyed, luscious fruit, but interesting nuances of spices and minerals appear fleetingly. Long, composed and rich, this will develop over 20 years.
(1998) Much brighter than the 1988, lemony colour. Much more subtle with coffee, spearmint, almonds, figs and tropical fruit. On the palate medium bodied but luscious with flavours of dried banana and coconut, cinnamon, vanilla and figs. Great depth and concentration with a marvellous chameleon-like quality of ever changing nuance. Tight and will certainly blossom given time. Superb stuff.
(1997) Tasted four times now with very consistent notes. Beautiful honey gold colour. Rich botrytis nose of honey, nuts, candied fruits, orange marmalade and amaretti biscuits. Little bit of vanilla custardy new oak. Amazing complexity on nose and palate. Tropical fruits - dried pineapple, banana, guava, mango. Texture is rich, luscious, almost syrupy. Acidity is round and expansive and maintains the finish which is long, pure and fills the senses. Wonderful now but hinting at quite a future.