1997 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes Blend

Sauternes Blend - 750ML
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JL 96 WS 96 WA 95 NM 94 VN 93
JL 96

TheWineCellarInsider.com, March 2021

This is one of the better buys for Chateau d'Yquem these days. What a beautiful expression of sweet wine. The nose pops with sweet, ripe and overripe pineapple, apricots, spice, coconut, creme de caramel, candied orange...
WS 96

Wine Spectator, July 2014

A pure style, with intense acacia, white peach, apricot, nectarine and tangerine notes that are long and racy, set against a gorgeous singed almond backdrop. Pulls together orchard and tropical fruit flavors on the long...
WA 95

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, August 2019

A vintage of exceptional weather, 1997 was a relatively warm, drought vintage equating to a very slow onset of botrytis this year. The warm temperatures contributed plenty of sweetness, while light rains late in the...
NM 94

Neal Martin's Wine Journal, March 2008

I must admit to being rather underwhelmed by this feted Yquem. A slightly deeper colour compared to the -96 and like that wine, the nose is reluctant to show its colours at first but after 20-30 minutes becoming very...
VN 93

Vinous, April 2022

The 1997 Yquem comes from a season that witnessed the earliest-ever flowering (5 May) and an early picking that began on 4 September, though botrytis failed to develop, necessitating seven tries through the vineyard over...


Color & Type Dessert
Varietal Sauternes Blend
Country France
Region Bordeaux
Sub-region Sauternes
Vintage 1997
Size 750ML
Percent alcohol 14%
Closure Cork

Sauternes is the best and most sought-after region for dessert wine in Bordeaux, perhaps in all of France. Chateau d’Yquem is the most celebrated of all Sauternes producers.

The history of d’Yquem can be traced back to 1593, when local nobleman Jacques Sauvage became the feudal overseer of the property. The area was already home to late-harvest wines even then, and the Sauvage family moved things forward, creating “modern” vineyards—and the famous chateau—on the unique hill that contributes to d’Yquem’s outstanding quality. In 1711, the Sauvage family became full owners of the property and managed to retain it through the French Revolution.

The quality and reputation of Chateau d’Yquem wine improved as the vineyard was methodically expanded and enhanced. By the late 18th century, it was celebrated internationally and counted Thomas Jefferson among its staunch supporters. But the house continued to innovate and better its practices. The constructed a large, purpose-built cellar for maturation and aging in 1826 and, not long after, began harvesting in multiple passes to optimize fruit quality. This work was rewarded when Chateau d’Yquem was designated the only 1er Cru Superieur dessert wine in the famous 1855 classification of Bordeaux wines.

Chateau d’Yquem holds just under 300 acres of vineyard land on gravelly, well-drained soil, but only uses about 250 to make wine in any given year. The remainder is due to a program of continual replanting which ensures that producing vines are always in their prime. And the vineyard is planted only to Semillion (75%) and Sauvignon Blanc (25%), eschewing Muscadelle which is commonly used in the area but makes less distinguished wine.

Within an hour of harvest, the grapes of Chateau d’Yquem are in the winery and being pressed. Unlike most white wines, quality actually improves with multiple pressings as that extracts more sugar and flavor intensity. Chateau d’Yquem three or four times, with the initial effort yielding about 75% of the total volume.

Chateau d’Yquem does all its fermentation in new French oak barrels. This is unsual for Sauternes, but results in the most flavorful and pristine wine. Although there is variation from one vintage to the next, the typical Chateau d’Yquem wine finishes fermentation at 13.5% alcohol with 150 grams/liter of sugar.

All the barrels age for six to eight months after fermentation. At that point, under-performing barrels are set aside. The remaining barrels go to the aging cellar for 20 months, where they are topped up twice weekly to maintain freshness. For pure flavors and clarity, the wines are also racked 15 times and then fined before the final, blind tasting which determines the blend that will go into bottle.

Although not always very outgoing when young, Chateau d’Yquem is marked by fruit (apricot, mandarin, and occasionally tropical fruit) and oak (vanilla and toasty aromas). Older vintages, on the other hand, have an extraordinarily complex fragrance as soon as the bottle is opened, with hints of dried fruit (dried apricot, prune, stewed fruit, and marmalade), spice (cinnamon, saffron, and liquorice), and even flowers (lime blossom, etc.). The first impression of Chateau d'Yquem on the palate is always very silky, and often sumptuous. It then fills out, "coating the palate". This fine wine has a strong, but never overbearing character, with great elegance and poise. It always maintains a balance between sugar and acidity (sweetness and freshness). A touch of bitterness can also contribute to the overall harmony.

Allow me to introduce you to the exquisite 1997 Chateau d'Yquem, a true gem from the renowned Sauternes region of Bordeaux, France. This white wine is a Sauternes blend, expertly crafted by the esteemed Chateau d'Yquem, a producer known for their exceptional quality and attention to detail.

As you pour this golden elixir into your glass, you'll be captivated by its medium gold color, a visual representation of the depth and complexity that awaits. On the nose, aromas of intense acacia, white peach, apricot, nectarine, and tangerine dance gracefully, enticing you with their vibrant and enticing notes. This bouquet is complemented by a gorgeous singed almond backdrop, adding a touch of elegance and sophistication.

The palate of the 1997 Chateau d'Yquem is full-bodied and unctuous, coating your mouth with a velvety texture that is simply divine. The flavors of orchard and tropical fruits intertwine harmoniously, creating a symphony of taste that lingers long after each sip. With each moment, the wine reveals new layers of complexity, showcasing its impeccable balance of sweetness and acidity.

Renowned wine critic Robert Parker's Wine Advocate awarded this vintage a score of 95, recognizing its exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Lisa Perrotti-Brown, also from Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, describes this wine as having a silken texture, opulent richness, and a beautifully knit backbone of freshness. It boasts a long, toasted-nut finish that leaves a lasting impression.

The 1997 Chateau d'Yquem is a true masterpiece that can be enjoyed now or cellared for future enjoyment. It pairs wonderfully with a variety of desserts, such as crème brûlée or fruit tarts, and can even be savored on its own as a luxurious treat. This wine is a testament to the artistry and dedication of Chateau d'Yquem, and it is sure to elevate any occasion to new heights of sophistication and indulgence.