(70% semillon and 30% sauvignon blanc; 13.1% alcohol and 140 g/l residual sugar; total acidity of almost 6 g/l): Luminous medium yellow-gold. Almost Germanic in its perfumed, bright aromas of tangerine, grapefruit, peach, lemon, lichee and ginger. Lush but very fresh, with bracing limey acidity giving sharp definition to the complex flavors of honey, ginger, green fig, yellow melon and peach. The brisk, harmonious acidity really cleanses the palate and makes this one of the most immediately appealing (almost too easy to drink!) Yquems in memory. The finish is extremely long and vibrant. This is a much less massive, opulent Yquem than usual but is extremely graceful and refined. The product of four different tries, performed from September 25 to October 24, but only 40% of the total volume made it into Yquem. As much as I liked this wine, I think it’s a little too dominated by the sauvignon blanc (only the 2004, at 35% of the total, had more sauvignon blanc among Yquem’s most recent vintages). Winemaker Sandrine Garbay told me using more sauvignon was unavoidable in 2013 because the last semillons harvested in the third and fourth tries were opulent but simple, and a little bitter, so she included less of the variety than usual.
Robert Parker 96
Firstly, you notice the color, which is a touch deeper than recent vintages at this stage. The bouquet is quite honeyed and rich for Yquem at this early juncture, with subtle scents of peach skin, white flowers, and a puff of chalk and frangipane. The palate is viscous on the entry, all about the texture at first, coating the mouth with luscious botrytized fruit. There are touches of Seville orange marmalade, fresh apricot, a hint of spice and passion fruit. This is imbued with impressive depth and weight, perhaps an Yquem that is determined to make an impression after last year-s absence. It might not possess the finesse of a top flight Yquem, but it has immense power and persistency. A majority of the 2013 Chateau d-Yquem was picked between September 25 and October 2, augmented by a second trie on October 11 after rains had provoked botrytis and then a third trie from October 21 and 24, before a final pass through the vineyard at the end of the month. Winemaker Sandrine Garbay told me that all the lots were used, but only 40% of the crop made it into the final blend, which equates to around 70,000 and 80,000 bottles. During assemblage of different lots, the blend ended up 30% Sauvignon Blanc, a little higher than usual, and 70% Semillon, while the residual sugar comes in at 140gm/L, which is a little higher than average. The reason is that the fermentation stopped naturally at this level, therefore the alcohol is a tad lower than average at 13.1 degrees.
Tasted blind. Woody/oaky aroma entwined with orange and apricot. On the palate it is pure in lemon oil and richly creamy in texture. Caressingly rich. And just a hint of almonds. Spicy, long finish. Very intense. Classy – the universal verdict when we discussed it later. Delicious. (JH)
Anticipated maturity: 2025-2040