2011 d'Yquem, Sauternes (Pre-Arrival)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
80% semillion and 20% sauvignon blanc; 3.8 pH; 144 g/l residual sugar; 13.8% alcohol): Bright yellow-gold. Captivating nose is marked by sexy lemony botrytis, white peach, mango, guava and saffron. Enters the mouth very dense but remarkably vibrant and pristine thanks to lively acidity, then turns richer and more unctuous in the mid-palate, displaying knockout flavors of fresh tropical fruit, white peach, white flowers, beeswax and wet stone. The finish is pure and extremely long. This amazing young Yquem, one of the finest in the last dozen years, perfectly combines elements of the fresher, more refined Yquems of the recent Dubourdieu years with the more exotic, opulent personality of the wines made under Alexandre de Lur Saluces. The harvest began on September 6 (only in 1893 did it begin earlier) with the young sauvignon blanc vines and even some semillon to preserve freshness. There were four tries in total, ending on October 5. General Manager Pierre Lurton told me that picking practically all the botrytized grapes very quickly in September was the key to guaranteeing a pure, fresh botrytis component. Sandrine Garbay, who has been maitre de chai at d'Yquem for 18 years, also believes this to be one of the top Yquems in recent memory, though it really doesn't remind her of any previous Yquem vintage with possible exception of the 2001.
A lovely, creamy, tropical style, with mango, papaya and guava notes lending a caressing feel, while singed almond and warm piecrust accents blossom through the lush finish. Just when you think that's all there is, toasted coconut, fig, orange blossom and persimmon details kick in, lending length and dimension. The finish is ridiculously long. Best from 2020 through 2060. (Web-2014)
Crazy minerality to this, with lots of dried mango, pineapple and papaya on the nose. Botrytis-spice and nutmeg undertones. Full body, very sweet, with superb depth of fruit and richness. It goes on for minutes. Turns dense and concentrated on the palate. Speechless. Better in 2019.
The 2011 has a clear silvery gold hue, perhaps not quite as deep as I recall the 2010 last year. The bouquet is very fragrant and well-defined, with scents of wild honey, honeysuckle and a touch of vanilla. It is a refined, sedate and beautifully focused bouquet that does not need to show off. The palate displays superb weight in the mouth, even though at first it seems almost understated. Yet there is clearly a high level of spicy, botrytized fruit with notes of honey, orange zest and a touch of mandarin. There is no explosion on the finish; the 2011 is rather a lesson in control, complexity and nuance. It is utterly seductive. Drink 2016-2040+.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2011 d'Yquem seems to be a close cousin of the 2001 and possibly the 1988. Light gold in color, restrained but pure and noble, it offers an intense bouquet of honeysuckle, caramelized apricot and white peach with a subtle hint of toasty oak. It builds slowly but beautifully to a full-bodied wine with a long finish. This vintage is about restraint and perfect balance despite the 144 grams of residual sugar. Some vintages are more exuberant or flamboyant, but 2011 is racy and compelling. Of course, these wines can be drunk young, but expect the 2011 to age for 50-75+ years in a good cellar.
Rich, with intense flavors of botrytis, lemon and Seville orange peel. This wine has both freshness and sweetness, with a light touch.