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Mar 21, 2012 08:52 AM

Château d’Yquem

What year is considered drinkable right now without "wasting it"

wanted to pick up a half bottle for a celebration and not knowing much about the wine other than older is better i could use some advice

and k and l they had a 95 and 98 half bottle for sale and was wondering if either of those would be good and is it really worth the extra 70 bucks for 3 more years of aging?

Are there certain years other than the "premium years" that i have seen on line as listed special best growth years

are there certain years to avoid? I was under the impression their quality control was very good and if it wasnt a certain level of quality it just didnt make the cut so not sure if there is a bad year

Is there something else that is in the same price range that i should consider to be equally as good ?

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  1. IMO all of the 1990's are too young for me.
    I am drinking the 70's and 80's right now.

    That being said, some prefer a "little" younger Sauternes especially if you prefer less "boty" taste and more "honey" taste. It depends on what you like and if you fancy yourself as a "Sauternes expert". Unless you are doing a side by side comparison, those subtle differences between excellent vintage years would be difficult to discern, especially when you pair it with typical "Sauternes foods" might not think it is worth the extra 100 bucks to get that "more subtle note of apricot" you stuff your face with blue cheese :)

    I think a nice 1986 would be worth it and you wouldn't feel like you were "wasting" it but it is pricey. The 1984 is a lighter wine if you can find it -it is a good buy, the 1982 is boty but less complex and NOT worth the price, the 1980 is a good buy but you might not be able to find it, the 1989 is probably the easiest to find with the best price.

    For those reasons, I would suggest the 1989 that is drinking really well right now and I don't think you would go wrong with spending your cash on that bottle!

    OTOH, maybe someone will come along and give good news about the 1990's bottles. I just have not opened any so I can't comment on that.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      Totally agree with 1990 being too young! 1989 too! Just 'wasted half a bottle recently. 1986 is approaching readiness IMO. 1983 is drinkable and so is the great 1975 which is still 'young' but drinking great!

      1. re: Charles Yu

        Totally agee, Charles Yu. Well, I am drinking late 1980's Doisy Daene, Rieussec and Cordier with no regrets.

        I have cases of the 1989 d'Yquem and think it is fine right now. Not stellar, but I am not convinced that another few years will improve it. Just MHO. I find the complexity lacking and it seems a bit simplistic as compared to the 80 and 86.... but, it is all about personal taste. Still a good buy and a good drink.

        I drink these with the stinkiest of blue cheese and a wafer thin cracker. Gulp...gulp. So, I am probably just a heathen anyways :)

        I will disclose that in the past few years,I have developed a palate that dislikes sweetness most of the time. So, I might be a bit jaded. I seem to be unable to appreciate them as much now-as I once did. In the future, I will sell most of them instead. Things change.

    2. Drinkable is different from prestige/collectible. Very rarely, if it was a recent-ish vintage (last 20 years), would you get a bad bottle (unless it was flawed).

      Some years get a cult cache.

      If you don't care about that sort of thing, just go on cellartracker plug in the wine and the vintage and see what people are saying.

      Do you like Sauternes? What attracted you to Chateau d'Yquem? Some are perfectly fine drinking younger ("zipppier) the character changes as it ages, but even an 8 year old good Sauternes will still taste awesome.

      8 Replies
      1. re: goldangl95

        I do like Sauternes i just saw that it had a special designation and terrior and it was supposed to be "the best" That being said i would prefer to keep it 150 or less and 200 max so is there is another maker that is "better" when it is younger or better priced then i would certainly consider it i.e. if there is a different maker that creates close to the same quality for pennies on the dollar that would certainly appeal to me - i know that age makes a huge difference with sauternes i guess where is the cut off line for good great greater and greatest

        1. re: Dapuma

          Château Rieussec. 2001, 1997, 1989, 1986..... a 1989 is currently around $125.

          1. re: Dapuma

            Repeating the questions, are you trying to look for a prestige bottle? Or just a good Sauternes?

            The more unique the bottle (older/highly scored vintage) the more there will be clammer about how it is awesome, and it has prestige - but frankly I try to ignore this as the prices can get astronomical. For example, a recent good vintage for Sauternes (and wine generally) was 2001.

            This is kinda arbitrary but:
            Anything that is less than 10 yrs old is kinda killing the baby. However, 5 years old or more it will be integrated and it can taste great!
            After that it starts becoming somewhat personal preference, some like them younger some like them older. Some people are still drinking vintages from the 1920s.
            Just search cellartracker (I am no way affiliated besides using their site frequently) its a good way to aggregate some basic numbers and data. But again, this doesn't figure in what YOU like.

            1. re: goldangl95

              Good Sauternes - the prestige is less important but it is for a more wine knowledgable friend than myself so if it is a good bottle that would be great

              if i can get an entire bottle for 100-125 compared to a half for 200 - Is there that much of a difference between the two - not sure i have had enough to really know unless side by side

              Rieussec seems to be rated highly overall online is that a good choice for more "bang for the buck"

              1. re: Dapuma

                the only way to know the difference is to offer both! Rieussec has a good qpr (quality/price ratio) for this type of wine. It is excellent. If you are looking for a great bottle to share with your friends and not break the bank, go for the R but if you are looking for bragging rights and looking to impress your friends, go for the Ygrec. Half as much for twice the cost!

                1. re: Axel Heyst

                  Should the Rieussec be aged equally as long? Is there a difference in how it ages because of where the terrior is? (i hope i said that correctly) or is it just the type of grape is going to mellow and mature as it ages regardless of terrior

                  1. re: Dapuma

                    How a wine ages is a complex group of factors. The type of wine and the producer tell you a lot - but the vintage is also a big factor.

                    Basically all Sauternes, will lose their zippy more acidic, "primary" flavors with time,and soften, mellow and round out while building depth in "secondary" flavors.

                    I, personally, like primary (fruit/floral) notes in most of my wines, so I tend to drink my wines on the younger side - with just enough time so that the oak and other flavors have had time to integrate. Depending on the producer and the vintage, the time it takes the wine to integrate can very.

                    I am by no means a Sauternes expert, but 10 years of aging before drinking is perfectly fine for me. I'm sure the interesting secondary flavors are something I'd love to experience someday, and its a somewhat rare experience to be able to enjoy - but in no way should you have a bad experience by drinking a 2003 Sauternes right now from any reputable producer.

                    1. re: goldangl95

                      In very general terms, you palate is similar to my wife's. She appreciates the "youth," in many wines, where I often lean toward the "aged." Now, that can depend, and along the lines, that you cite, but where she loves a young, very good Vintage Port, near release, I normally prefer that same wine, with maybe 10 - 20 years on it, in a proper cellar.

                      Glad that she love the Taylor-Fladgate 1985 VP's, as I was holding about 2 cases for "later." Along the way, she insisted on drinking many of them, and they WERE good. Unfortunately, they never matured, as I had hoped, so we now have 3 btls. left, enjoyed the other 21, and have not missed much, IMHO.

                      Along with the elements that you cite, one's personal tastes (as you also mention), play a major role, in the appreciation of the wines.


        2. That is a great question. We had the 90 n 1998, and it was great, though short of its potential.

          One must first ask themselves a big question - "Do I like my Sauternes older, or younger?" That is not something to take lightly. I like some many years, but my lovely wife, likes them younger, just like man of her Vintage Ports, and even 1er Cru Bdx. In the end, it is about YOUR tastes.

          With the VP's, I keep holding out hopes that mine will somehow change, while my wife keeps drinking the 85's. I am almost out, but she's been enjoying them for decades. Oh well, so long as wife is happy, then life is good!

          There are also many Sauternes, and Barsac's, that are great, so Ch. d'Yquem is not alone - though they are "at the top," at least for me.



          2 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            Hi, i have a 1989 0,75 ml bottle. How much could it worth? Is that true that it is one of the best years? Thank you

          2. I have 1964 Tokay Essencia, and I am afraid to open them. I also have d'yquem that I am waiting to get to 40 years before opening.

            2 Replies
            1. re: law_doc89

              Why are you afraid? János Kádár is dead -- he can't hurt you anymore.

              1. re: zin1953


                I want the right time and groups with which to share. My fear is with all older wines that it will have turned. Of course, my bottles date from his dictatorship.