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What to eat with a Château d’Yquem 1929

Yes, we are fortunate enough to have a Château d’Yquem 1929. But we cannot decide what to eat with it. None of us particularly like foie gras. Can anyone recommend something? Persoannly I would prefer a dessert (that's my weakness), but a cheese would also be fine. Thanks

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  1. Eat nothing with it. It will probably only be alive in the glass for about 20 minutes, and then it will die. Just enjoy the flavors of that old wine, and not diminish it with anything else. It may taste like sherry; it may not even be sweet anymore or have any fruit flavors. Please don't expect it to taste good, just sorta "historical."

    4 Replies
    1. re: maria lorraine

      Interesting comment. The last rating on this wine from WS in 1999 rated this 97 points. If it's in sound condition and was stored well, I'd say the previous comment may be completely off the mark.

      Old wines are a gamble but to state emphatically that it's likely to die in the glass would be counter to my experience with old Sauternes including a number of Yquems.

      Seared foie gras would be my food of choice.

      1. re: Strawman

        The quality of storage seems key. And even with great storage, a sweet wine of nearly 80 years may not have held up.

        (BTW, I don't think I "emphatically state[d] it's likely to to die in the glass." I did say "it will ***probably*** only be alive...")

        I could be wrong, though. I acknowledge that. I've only tasted back to '53. Perhaps you've tasted older D'Yquem.

        I would certainly serve seared foie gras with a mature Sauternes, but not an old one like this. But the OP says no one in her group likes foie anyway.

        I'm quite interested to see how much fruit is left in this '29 Yquem -- whether all the traditional fruits have faded (apricot, figs, etc.), but perhaps some notes of dates and bitter orange peel remain, and also caramel. I'm also curious about the color of the wine (dark yellow, brownish, brown), if it's at all sweet anymore, its level of acicity, if it's maderized or oxidized, all that.

        Would love to hear a report back as well, jenfog, as others have asked.


        1. re: maria lorraine

          As I said elsewhere in this thread, the bottle of 1929 Ch. d'Yquem I had at 50 years of age was nothing short of breath-taking, fully mature and yet full of life. Based upon how it showed the,, I would have certainly expected it to go another 20-25 years at the least without falling apart -- but, again, that's based upon proper storage, etc., etc. (which may have been an issue over the past decade or so).

          OTOH, I absolutely love the 1953 but -- being my birth year -- I'll admit to a little bias. ;^)


          1. re: maria lorraine

            I'm not sure what the difference between likely to die in the glass or probably only be alive for twenty minutes is.

            Of course, I'm a pretty literal person. <shrug>

            And yes, I've had a number of Yquems older than 1953,

            Sorry about the foie gras recommendation. I just didn't think it was possible not to enjoy a good foie. LOL.

            I wouldn't serve it with cheese. That's a personal preference however. I've never liked how cheese coats the palate, If you aren''t going to serve foie gras (the best match IMHO), I'd opt for a fruit dessert like tart tatan.

      2. The other classic choice, if you don't care for foie gras, is Roquefort cheese. I would, however, enjoy the wine on its own first, before introducing the cheese (and perhaps a bit of frisée salad dressed with lemon juice and olive oil..) and crisp multi-grain toasts.

        1. Even if you loved foie gras and/or Roquefort (the two classic Sauternes combinations) -- and I do -- I wouldn't serve them with a Sauternes this old . . .

          The answer is "nothing." Not because the wine will die in 20 minutes or so, as maria lorraine suggests (it might, but I don't think so), but because with a Sauternes of this age, the experience is with the wine itself, not with the pairings. Old(er) Sauternes can begin to dry out a bit; it will have turned away from the honeyed apricots and peaches of its youth to more caramel, toffee and butterscotch notes . . .

          For a wine that is 78½ years of age, I'd actually opt for a something like a not-too-sweet dessert . . . something like a moist gingerbread or a poached pear . . . .

          The wine is AMAZING -- or, at least the bottle I had in 1980 (when the wine was 50) certainly was . . . and with proper storage, etc., etc., I have no reason to think the wine would be dead now. But that's the key . . . .

          Let us know.


          1. Why eat something with it that can only be a distraction from enjoying that unique wine? Enjoy it on its own at the end of the meal. I've had Yquems from the 50's and they were a mouthful, didn't need any support.
            Btw, great sweet wines have tremendous aging power if stored properly so there is a good chance that wine aged gracefully and is alive and kicking if it has been properly taken care of.

            1. Absolutely Roquefort on the cheese course (and roquefort, not gorgonzola, maytag, or other blue cheeses).

              Also, I'd really do a fruit-based dessert with Sauternes, that's an ethereal match....anything from fresh-baked apple tart to

              Sauternes is really nice with citrus fruit overtones like lemon and orange... also has a very nice connection to Ginger and Vanilla....

              SO... if you wanted to make an ultimate-to-die-for dessert to accompany this ultimate-to-die-for great trophy wine, think outside the box and do an "Orange Ginger Roquefort Cheesecake" :)

              Enjoy and please reqport back....

              1. Agree with zin1953 and froggio.
                I would drink it on its own.
                Please, leave us a note on how it was.

                1. Thank you so much everyone for your replies! You were all very helpful.

                  We are going to consider all the options in readyness for our big opening. Sadly though, I have to confess that it has been very badly stored. It was recorked at the chateaux in 1996 (it was fine then), but since then, it has not been well looked after at all....I know it's a crime!!

                  Well, I shall report back after Sunday night.

                  Thanks again for all your ideas and tips.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jenfog

                    An interesting move here would be to get at least a couple more bottles of Sauternes (doesn't have to be d'Yquem), and serve them alongside. So you do a vertical of sorts which will illustrate the "aging process" but also give you a back up just in case the 1929 is long gone!!

                    This is a major showcase wine and if you like organizing interesting food & wine tasting dinners you couldn't have a more interesting "magnet wine" for it. So create at least a few courses with a matching red and white to get it going,. then crown it all with a 2 or 3 course dessert round. And if the 1929 has gone flat, no worries, and if it's even reasonably good then it will cap off a very memorable event.

                  2. I agree with "nothing", but if you're going to have multiple wines or insist on "something", consider Halvah (one that is sesame based) with water crackers.

                    1. NOTHING would be my suggestion. Younger d'Yquem I tend to enjoy with foie gras, but you say you do not enjoy it. Not a fan of a sweet dessert or cheese to interfere with the wine. A d'Yquem this old I would not pair with anything in any event. Of course it is all up to individual taste, but I don't think you can go wrong with unblemished,but you can go very wrong with accompanying food, esp. cheese.