2016 Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes Blend

Sauternes Blend - 9L
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JS 99 JD 99 TWI 98 DC 97 JL 97 WE 97 WA 96 VN 95 WS 94
JS 99

jamessuckling.com, February 2019

A very classic Yquem. Breathtakingly wide spectrum of floral honey, exotic fruit (passion fruit, mango and pineapple), caramel and marzipan aromas. But none of this is a jot too much. In fact, the wine is extremely...
JD 99

jebdunnuck.com, June 2019

The 2016 Chateau D’Yquem is pure magic and dessert wines don’t get much better. Offering a pale gold color as well as a blockbuster bouquet of honeyed tangerines, tart apricots, liquid rocks, white flowers, and...
TWI 98

The Wine Independent, September 2023

The 2016 Yquem has a pale lemon-gold color, with 135 grams per liter of residual sugar, 14.2 % of alcohol, and a pH of 3.8. It gallops out with energetic scents of lemon curd, peach preserves, and lime cordial, followed...
DC 97

Decanter, April 2017

Despite a rich botrytis character, this balances impact with delicacy. Clear citrus on the nose with a hint of flint and smoke, allowing the soft white flowers and lime blossom to steal up on you slowly. There are caramel...
JL 97

TheWineCellarInsider.com, November 2018

Chateau d'Yquem is great at any age, and this just-released beauty is no exception to that rule. The wine combines high levels of sweet, ripe, tropical fruits, honey coated apricots and pineapple. with freshness, giving...
WE 97

Wine Enthusiast, April 2017

(95–97) Barrel Sample. The bouquet opens with aromas of honey and citrus, offering richness and freshness at the same time. The mouthfeel is opulent, with honeyed flavors. There is some acidity underneath, although...
WA 96

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, October 2023

With 135 grams of residual sugar, the 2016 d'Yquem has turned out brilliantly in bottle, exhibiting a precise, harmonic, deep bouquet with aromas of mango, lychee, jasmine, exotic fruits, dry apricot and menthol. It’s...
VN 95

Vinous, April 2022

The 2016 Yquem was picked from 27 September until 4 November after drought-like conditions in the summer. It has an attractive nose with white chocolate, chamomile and Chinese white tea infusing the honeyed fruit. Very...
WS 94

Wine Spectator, March 2019

This is exotic, with very lush and seductive notes of coconut, honeysuckle, creamed white peach, glazed pear, mirabelle plum and yellow apple, all woven together seamlessly. Beautifully caressing in feel, with a long...


Color & Type Dessert
Varietal Sauternes Blend
Country France
Region Bordeaux
Sub-region Sauternes
Vintage 2016
Size 9L
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.

The 2016 Chateau d'Yquem is a standout example of a Sauternes blend, produced in the renowned Bordeaux region of France. This white wine, bottled under cork, boasts an alcohol content of 14%. Chateau d'Yquem is known for its high-quality wines, and the 2016 vintage has not disappointed, garnering exceptional reviews from critics across the board.

James Suckling awarded the 2016 Chateau d'Yquem an impressive score of 99, describing it as "breathtakingly wide spectrum of floral honey, exotic fruit (passion fruit, mango, and pineapple), caramel, and marzipan aromas." Suckling emphasized the wine’s precision and nuanced complexity, noting its "wonderful freshness and textural complexity, in spite of the considerable concentration and extravagance."

Jeb Dunnuck also rated this vintage highly with a score of 99, calling it "pure magic" and stating that "dessert wines don’t get much better." He highlighted the wine's "pale gold color," "blockbuster bouquet of honeyed tangerines, tart apricots, liquid rocks, white flowers, and honeysuckle," and praised its "full-bodied richness, an opulent texture, [and] vibrant acidity."

Vinous' Neal Martin gave the wine a score of 95, appreciating its "attractive nose with white chocolate, chamomile, and Chinese white tea infusing the honeyed fruit." Martin noted the wine's "very well defined and focused" character with "more cohesion than previous bottles," and a palate that is "medium-bodied with a viscous opening."

Wine Enthusiast, in a barrel sample review, rated it between 95 and 97, describing the bouquet's "aromas of honey and citrus" and the wine's "opulent mouthfeel with honeyed flavors," while pointing out the underlying acidity that promises excellent aging potential.

Other notable reviews include Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, which gave it a score of 96, and highlighted its "precise, harmonic, deep bouquet with aromas of mango, lychee, jasmine, exotic fruits, dry apricot, and menthol." The Wine Independent's Lisa Perrotti-Brown rated the wine 98, praising its "energetic scents" and "decadently creamy texture."

Decanter and Wine Spectator also provided high scores of 97 and 94, respectively. Decanter noted the wine's "rich botrytis character" balanced with "delicacy," while Wine Spectator described its "exotic, lush and seductive notes."

Overall, the 2016 Chateau d'Yquem is a highly-acclaimed wine that combines richness, complexity, and elegance, making it a valuable addition to any wine collection.