1988 Château d'Yquem Sauternes Wine Tasting Note


1988 Château d'Yquem  (Sauternes) 99

Just a fabulous wine from the moment the wine hit the glass. The explosive nose, with its coconut, butterscotch, creme brulee, candied orange, flowers, vanilla bean, and honeyed tropical fruit got you to stop, stare and take another sniff. Rich, lush, opulent, intensely concentrated, velvet-textured apricots, yellow tropical fruits and a gallon of honey that was perfectly braced with a wall of acidity that hung on for well over 60 seconds in the finish. This has entered the start of secondary development and could easily go 100 years. As a guess, the next marker comes in with another 20 yeas of age.

2774 Views   Tasted

This keeps getting better and better. I won't be around when this hits full maturity, whenever that is, but I'm digging it right now. With gobs of honey drenched pineapples, apricots and tropical fruit, the wine is dense. But the acidity cuts right through. The spicy character, opulent mouthfeel and incredible length are something to experience, at least twice, because it's that good.

4523 Views   Tasted 98

Holy Frickin' Moleeo.... Is that how you spell that? Who cares? This is stunning juice! The caramel, butterscotch, Cointreau, cooked apricot, honey, molasses, coffee, vanilla and floral aromas are off the charts. Rich, intense, concentrated, bright and bursting with acidity, the wine is the perfect mix of sweetness, freshness, and purity of fruit. The finish takes on a honeyed, ripe and over ripe pineapple sensation that sticks with you for 60 seconds or longer. This wine is a deal sealer.

5317 Views   Tasted 99

Chateau d'Yquem is more than the waves of concentrated, perfectly ripe, honeyed, tropical fruit. It's freshness that goes along with the experience, keeping the wine uplifted and expansive. That combination is impossible to find in other sweet wines. Every sniff, sip and taste was a treat. Still young, this intensely concentrated wine should last 100 years!

5002 Views   Tasted 98

With a beautiful, yellow, copper, orange, gold hue, the nose screams with loud enough to taste it around the block, with its white peach, pineapple, caramel, creme brulee, apricot, honey, candied orange peel and tropical fruits. Rich, fat, dense and beyond luscious, the wine marries sweetness with blistering acidity, keeping everything lifted, with just the prefect amount of tension. The finish is pure, sweet, fresh and built to age for longer than most people reading this note. I've tasted this wine a lot over the years and this is the best showing yet for this majestic elixir. If you're young enough to wait, this is only going to get better and better with more time.

5135 Views   Tasted 98

With an orange glow in its hue, this rich, fat, sweet, intense, flavorful wine serves up layer after layer of pure, honeyed, tropical sweetness. Drink this now, or seal it in a time capsule for your grandchildren.

5016 Views   Tasted 97

Honey, flowers, pineapple, apricot, orange and tropical fruits slathered in honey, along with rich textures and mouthful of perfectly ripe, sweet, ripe, honeyed fruit and fruits. This is drinking great today and is only going to get better over the next several decades. This could be favorite vintage of the famous trio, 1988, 1989 and 1990.

5837 Views   Tasted 98

With a blast of coconut, pineapple, flowers, spice, orange, apricot and honey drenched, tropical fruit, the wine continues adding complexity. The finish couples decadent honeyed fruit with freshness and acidity.. Thick, rich, dense and incredibly lush, this is sweet hedonism at its best.

5227 Views   Tasted 98

Endless aromatics of ripe pineapples, nectarines, peaches, flowers, spices, vanilla, coconut and more all drenched and dripping honey. Wave after wave of luxurious fruit flows across your palate. This wine is incredibly concentrated. Very dense and full bodied with ample acidity keeping everything in balance.

3709 Views   Tasted 98
Yquem Wine Tasting Notes, Ratings

When to Drink Chateau d'Yquem, Anticipated Maturity, Decanting Time

Chateau d'Yquem can be enjoyed on the young side with no decanting. Of course the wine is sweet, but there is so much, incredible, racy acidity, the wine always feels fresh, and never cloying, which makes it quite fun to enjoy young. With Chateau d'Yquem and frankly, all Sauternes, temperature is more important than decanting.

Chateau d'Yquem is delicious on release. But d'Yquem does not reach full maturity for 35-50 years, or even longer in the best vintages! That is when the magic happens! But that is unrealistic for 99% of the world's wine drinkers. So, enjoy it at any special occasion that calls for it.

Serving Chateau d'Yquem with Wine and Food Pairings

Chateau d'Yquem is best served at 14 degrees Celsius, 57 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool, almost cellar temperature gives the wine more freshness and lift. The wine will naturally, slowly warm in the glass, while it develops more aromatic complexities and fleshes out.

Chateau d'Yquem can be served with seafood dishes, especially shellfish, lobster, crab and oysters on the half shell. Foie gras is a perfect pairing with its natural sweet, salty and savory characteristics. Chateau d'Yquem can also be paired with roasted chicken, veal and pork dishes that are either spicy, or prepared with a touch of sweetness.

Spicy Asian cuisine, raw fish, like sushi or sashimi, and cheese, both hard and soft also make great pairings with Chateau d'Yquem.

The best vintages of Chateau d'Yquem are: 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2005, 2003, 2001, 1997, 1996, 1990, 1989, 1988, 1986, 1983, 1976, 1975, 1967, 1962, 1959, 1949, 1947, 1945, 1937, 1929, 1927, 1921, 1893, 1869, 1847 and 1811.

Chateau d'Yquem Dry White Wine

Chateau d'Yquem also produces a dry, white Bordeaux wine called "Y," which is pronounced (Ygrec). The wine is only made in select vintages. The first vintage for the production of dry, white wine at Chateau d'Yquem took place in 1959.

To make the dry white Bordeaux wine of d'Yquem, the fruit the estate uses does not only come from declassified grapes. Most of the berries are picked before the harvesting of the grapes for the production of Chateau d'Yquem has started.

When harvesting for Ygrec, the vines and grapes are chosen prior to harvest. However, while one bunch of Sauvignon Blanc on the vine is designated for Ygrec, the remaining bunch can be used for d'Yquem, if the necessary amount of noble rot develops.

For the Semillon used in Ygrec, the grapes are harvested just prior to the full development of noble rot.

Close to 80% of the parcels used to produce their dry white wine can change from vintage to vintage.

The blend of "Y" is normally close to 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. Interestingly, this is almost the complete opposite of the grape blend that is placed in Chateau d'Yquem! Since 2000, it become more common to see vintages of "Y," than in previous years.

This is due to an increase in the production. However starting with 2005, Ygrec has been made in every vintage. Today, slightly less than 1,000 cases are produced of "Y" each year.

To produce the dry white Bordeaux wine from d'Yquem, the wine is vinified in stainless steel vats. In fact, in 2012, the estate added several new, gleaming, stainless steels for the vinification. There is no malolactic fermentation. The wine is aged in 50% new, French oak barrels for an average of 10 months.

During its aging time, the wine is aged on its lees. This marks a major change in the wine, as previously, the wine was aged for up to 18 months in barrel before bottling.

Starting with the 2011 vintage, the chateau completely redesigned the label for "Y". The dry white wine of Yquem, "Y" is sold as a Bordeaux Superieur Blanc. Chateau d'Yquem does not produce a second wine. Instead, they declassify the unwanted grapes or wine.

While the estate strives to make a vintage of Chateau d'Yquem every year, that is not always possible. Chateau d'Yquem ended up declassifying the entire harvest and did not make wine in the following vintages, 1910, 1915, 1930, 1951, 1952, 1964, 1972, 1974, 1992 and 2012.

Even with as many as thirteen separate passes in the vineyards, as the grapes were not up to their high standard to produce a wine worthy of Chateau d'Yquem, they did not produce any wine in those years.

So, what does Chateau d'Yquem do with the declassified wine? In the past, declassified grapes that were not used in the production of their dry, white wine "Y", were sold off in bulk and used to produce a generic, Sauternes wine.

Today, declassified grapes are also used to produce a special blend of declassified d'Yquem that is only available to employees through internal sales at the property. The wine is not meant to be sold as a commercial product. The wine is classed as a generic AOC Sauternes wine.