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Y" d'Yquem

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Has anyone tried Y" d'Yquem - the dry white Bordeaux from Chateau d'Yquem? One of ny local wine stores has it on prearrival for $150 a bottle. I'm quite curious, but reluctant to spring $150 based on mere curiosity. So I'm wondering if anyone has tried this wine and loves itt?

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  1. I have had it many times--in the past, alas, when the price was much more reasonable. It was always superb (as you might expect given the lineage): crisp yet complex: in other words, balanced with just a bit of waxy texture, that I found appealing. Again, this is a while back but I would have to assume the wine would be superb. If it's a very recent vintage, might need a bit of time in the bottle.

    1. Americans call it "Château Y," but the French call it Ygrec (which is how the letter "Y" is pronounced in French) -- the dry white Bordeaux produced at the estate, Château Yquem. (Note: the Sauternes wine is Château d'Yquem; the estate itself is Château Yquem -- no lower case "d+apostrophe".)

      The wine is exceptional and a great way to -- IMHO -- burn money. As with "penthouse pup," I too have had this wine across many vintages, but not since the price rose to (what are in my humble opinion) ludicrous prices. The wine is rich and unctuous, dry but with a round, lush mouthfeel, very complex and layered -- one of the world's great white wines, let alone great Sémillons . . . BUT it *does* need some bottle age to show its best -- often 10 years.


      15 Replies
      1. re: zin1953

        Interestingly, Chateau "R" de Rieussec, is a lot less expensive (looking at Wine-Searcher) so the OP might check into getting this---I haven't had it in a while but recall it being very good, though maybe not in Ch. Y's class. Still, the $100 plus difference goes quite a ways...

        1. re: zin1953

          Pretty much agree with Jason. It is very, very good wine but it is also expensive.

          1. re: zin1953

            I couldn't resist -- I just cleaned out the merchant's last two bottles of 2006 -- $20 a bottle cheaper than the 2010's on pre-arrival. I figured one for me and one for a holiday gift, although it sounds like I am not going to want to part with the second bottle.

            Is it too early to open the 2006?

            1. re: omotosando

              I've had the 2006 about a year ago - quite frankly, it already was a hoot!

              I'd open one of the two bottles and then decide what to do with the other one - my opinion on the matter is that the wine can either be drunk right now, in a sort of "good youth" phase, or in ten or more years, when it actually has the caracteristics of a great, well-aged Sauvignon/Semillon

            2. re: zin1953

              I don't know any American collectors who call it anything other than Ygrec.

              I like Ygrec, but it's very different from Graves blanc. On the nose it usually resembles Yquem, which can be jarring when taste it and it's dry. Generally heavier and richer than Graves blanc so it doesn't quite fill the same role at the table.

              They do age great--I've had vintages back to the 1960s (first vintage was '59, which I've seen but never tried) that were still cruising along.

              1. re: craig_g

                What do you think is the ideal pairing, given the weight and richness?

                1. re: omotosando

                  The wine has a very rich bouquet of bee's wax, honeysuckle, ripe fig and more. On the palate, the wine is dry, but still quite full and round -- almost voluptuous (if one can say that about a wine with a straight face) -- and while it is generally pretty close to a 50-50 blend of Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, I've always thought it's more reminiscent of an Sémillon.

                  For me, I like the wine with richer, sauced seafoods or some chicken dishes; perhaps a pork loin . . . I also enjoy it alone, or with some appetizers.


                  1. re: zin1953

                    Enjoy it alone? I would rather enjoy it with Catherine Zeta Jones...:)

                    1. re: Veggo

                      Well, if that were the sort of option available . . .

                      Naturally I'd have it with my wife! But can I invite CZJ to join us? ;^)

                      1. re: zin1953

                        It's fun to observe you and omotosando and pp and others muse about wines that most of us will never try, but we try to guess the pleasure through your descriptions. But it's still like a man imagining giving birth.

                    2. re: zin1953

                      Thanks. Sounds like it would pair with foie gras. What about cheese? The place that is supposed to have the best cheese service in L.A. Is a pop up that is BYOB. That could be interesting to pop by with a bottle of Ygrec, since they encourage dropping in for cheese only if you wish.

                    3. re: omotosando

                      I went to a tasting a few years ago and the Chateau rep recommended lobster.

                    4. re: craig_g

                      FWIW, Craig, I would *expect* "collectors" to call it Ygrec . . .

                      1. re: zin1953

                        Sure--I'm just wondering who the Americans calling it "Chateau Y" are:)

                        1. re: craig_g

                          People who aren't collectors; people who aren't "into" wine enough to know (or care about) the difference; people who have never heard of the wine; people who . . . .

                  2. Personally, I prefer the Haut Brion Blanc. The 1989 I tasted was utterly amazing!!

                    11 Replies
                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      That may be, but the pricing is in a different stratosphere. My local wine shop is selling 2010 futures for $1,130 a bottle.

                      1. re: omotosando

                        Typo, maybe? I Googled $150 a bottle from Woodland Hills.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Not a typo. For $150, you are looking at a "second" wine.

                          1. re: omotosando

                            Wow! Out of my league, but I'm sure it's extraordinary, and fascinating to those of us who will never know.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              Wally's in Westwood (Los Angeles, CA) is never known as the cheapest place to buy wine, but . . .


                              Note that the 2009 Château Haut-Brion Blanc is $1,099.99 on futures, while the 2009 **second label** La Clarté de Haut-Brion is $105.99 on futures. Also, it's worth noting that the La Clarté is the second wine of BOTH Château Haut-Brion Bland AND Château La Mission Haut-Brion Blanc.

                              Finally, Haut-Brion Blanc is a Graves, specifically from the sub-region of the appellation Pessac-Léognan contrôlée -- the finest area within Graves. Château Y -- despite the pedigree of the estate itself -- is "merely" an appellation Bordeaux Sec contrôlée. After all, the appellation of Sauternes is for sweet wine ONLY.


                              1. re: Veggo

                                Now, was that NOT the wine that you had promised me, if I showed up on your front door step with Cubans?



                          2. re: omotosando

                            You can go after Chinese auction values, or you can go after common sense and still enjoy life at it's best. E.g. you can try the Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc. I'm happier than a dog with two tails with my 2007. Here's the Guru's opinion:Rating: (94-96). Guide Hachette gives it a 2 star rating ( over 3). "Fidèle à son habitude, l'équipe de Smith Haut Lafitte propose un pessac blanc jouant résolument la carte de l'élégance. Celle-ci est perceptible dès la robe d'un beau jaune cristallin, puis se révèle dans le bouquet aux fines et fraîches senteurs d'agrumes (pamplemousse, citron), d'ananas et de fruit de la Passion." Total damage per bottle: about U$S 70. ( And we're talking a true Pessac-Leognan Blanc, no Bordeaux Sec, no Catherine Zeta Jones )

                            1. re: RicRios

                              With respect, a wine like Château "Y" has about as much in common with Chateau Smith-Haut-Lafitte Blanc as a -- well, let's not get too esoteric here -- bottle of Château Latour has to Pétrus. In other words, both are white wines produced from Bordeaux, but share little else in common.

                              Château Y = 50% Sauvignon Blanc (picked at maturity); 50% Sémillon (picked overripe).

                              Château Smith-Haut-Lafitte = 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 5% Sauvignon Gris, 5% unknown (Sémillon?).

                              Y = appellation Bordeaux contrôlée, produced within the Sauternes commune; soil is gravel and sand over limestone.

                              SHL = approx. 40 miles NNW, produced within the commune, and carrying the appellation, of Pessac-Léognan; soil is gravel.

                              Y = barrel-fermented in 33% new oak, subject to bâtonnage for 12 months.

                              SHL = (this is where the two wines are indeed quite similar) barrel-fermented in 50% new oak, subject to bâtonnage for 10 months.

                              Y = quite round, rich, lush on the palate, clearly reminiscent of d'Yquem albeit dry; produced only 23 times since the first vintage was created in 1959. A unique wine, even among other dry whites from Sauternes châteaux.

                              SHL = barring catastrophic events, produced every vintage. It's a great Pessac-Léognan blanc, but so are several other whites from châteaux in the commune.

                              1. re: zin1953

                                Probably you didn't follow the thread sequence.
                                My post was in response to Omotosando's post, with regards to the 1989 Haut Brion Blanc at $1130 a bottle. I was trying to poiint out that you can have an excellent Pessac-Leognan Blanc for a fraction of that price.

                                1. re: RicRios

                                  My bad . . . I failed to see the flashing "Thread Drift" light. ;^)

                                  Then again, I find the best thing about Haut-Brion blanc IS that it makes great wines like Smith-Haut-Lafitte (and Y, for that matter) downright inexpensive (looking).

                            2. re: omotosando

                              I thought the 1971 was excellent. IIRC, it was $24.95? $27.95? something like that . . .

                          3. Best thing to go with lobster and butter.

                            1. But do let it age.