1996 d'Yquem, Sauternes

SKU #996694 96 points Wine Spectator

 This leans toward the tropical side, with mango and guava notes out front, while maple, date, blood orange and citrus oil flavors fill in behind. The finish kicks into another gear, taking off with honeysuckle, orange blossom and frangipane accents. Has almost unbridled power today, while maintaining serious cut. A very impressive showing in a rather overlooked vintage. (JM, Web-2014)

95 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Light gold with a tight but promising nose of roasted hazelnuts intermixed with creme brulee, vanilla beans, honey, orange marmalade, and peaches, this medium to full-bodied offering reveals loads of power in its restrained, measured personality. There is admirable acidity, weight, texture, and purity in this impeccably made Yquem. However, patience will be a virtue. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2060. (RP)  (4/2003)

Jancis Robinson

 Served at The Clove Club's Bordeaux lunch with roast foie gras, loquat, hazelnut and amaranth - a particularly successful combination. Deep orangey gold. Masses of botrytis exhibited on the rich nose full of pungent lanolin. The finish was fresh and clean and the sweetness, if on a scale of 1 to 10, would be about 7. Lots of weight and presence - really very majestic. No hurry whatsoever to drink this. 18.5/20 points.  (5/2015)

K&L Notes

95 points Neal Martin's Wine Journal: "Tasted single blind at Farr’s 2005 dinner in Hong Kong. It is a while since I last tasted this vintage. Like before, the nose is tightly coiled and demands coaxing from the glass, but eventually it yields and offers a lovely bouquet of wild honey, honeysuckle, lemon curd and barleysugar. The palate is more tensile then I remember on the entry, with a keen thread of acidity and notes of mandarin, Seville orange, tinned apricot and honey, hints of almond sprinkled over the finish." (01/2012)

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Price: $289.99
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- A rich, viscous, full-flavored but subtly-scented and botrytis-prone white grape, Sémillon reaches magical heights when infected with "noble rot" and combined with even small amounts of the aromatic and high-acid Sauvignon Blanc to make Sauternes, one of the world's most revered and longest-lived wines, and in the sweet wines of surrounding regions like Barsac. Sémillon's most famous incarnation is in the wines of Château d'Yquem, one of the world's most expensive wines, and one that has been known to evolve for centuries. It frequently dominates, but not by much, in the oak-aged whites of Bordeaux's Graves and Pessac-Léognan, creating honeyed and viscous wines that are unlike any others. Elsewhere in Bordeaux and around France it takes on a supporting role in the wines of Entre-Deux-Mers and the Médoc. While planted throughout France, Europe, California and Washington, Sémillon's role as underling usually keeps it out of the spotlight with a few winery-specific exceptions. However, the grape is allowed to shine in Australia's Hunter Valley, where it is used to make an elegant dry wine often called, perplexingly, Hunter Valley Riesling. It also makes some incredible dry, oaked wines from the Barossa and lovely stickies in the style of Sauternes.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


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