(2021) Pierre says the development of Botrytis was excellent in 2010, comparing it to 1990, and that the proportion of 10% Sauvignon is unusually high, because the Sauvignon was so good in this year. It spent 20 months in barrels, 50% new and 50% one year old, and has 145g/l of residual sugar. This was a big crop, with over 80,000 bottles produced from a yield that is always between 15 and 20 hectolitres per hectare. I've enjoyed several tastings of this vintage over the years, and it's a wine with realy charm and elegance, but a fabulously approachable sweetness and easy-drinking appeal. There is honey and quite exotic apricot and mango on the nose, more delicate floral notes flit in and out, as well as the light earthy character of Botrytis. Beautiful fruit and texture on the palate, mouth-filling and glycerine-rich, but that orange and tangerine character of the acidity, that persistent touch of leafiness, gives this real freshness even although the concentration and Botrytis character persists in the long finish. Price for a half bottle.
(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.