A Superior First Growth produced in the Sauternes appellation, Chateau d'Yquem is the most popular sweet wine in the world. The estate covers 113 hectares of vines, and the vineyard production area spreads out over about 100 hectares, which take advantage of the warm, dry top soils with gravel. The clay soils below can build good water reserves. The wine is aged in barrels for 20 months (with 15 rackings and a light fining). The Chateau d'Yquem 2015 comes from a blend of 75% Semillon and 25% Sauvignon Blanc.
At Chateau d'Yquem, the 2015 vintage was marked by a cool winter and a rather hot spring. This heat extended into the blooming phase, which was optimal for the vines. Summer set in and June and July became among the ten warmest months in the estate’s history. Sufficient rains fell in mid-June and this allowed for the build-up of significant water reserves to get through the summer. In August, there was some rain between the hot and good weather days, which provided the berries with a slow, beautiful ripening period up until the harvest. The harvest took place from September 3 to October 21, and there was a good development of Botrytis due to a bit of rain.
On the nose, the Chateau d'Yquem 2015 develops preciseness, complexity and exuberance, and reveals a lovely minerality. On the palate, the wine is incredibly balanced, pure and with a great botrytised fruit. This Chateau d'Yquem 2015 reveals exceptional acidity and tension. The levels of acidity and sugar come close to the records of the estate, and these help make the Yquem 2015 an exceptional vintage in line with the legendary 2001 and 2009 vintages.
Following a very long harvest stretching nearly two months, the 2015 Château d'Yquem came in at 13.9% alcohol and 144 grams per liter of residual sugar, sporting a pH of 3.65 and six grams per liter of tartaric acid. None of these numbers, however, even remotely begin to tell you how profound this wine is. The nose opens with electric notes of ripe pineapples, green mango, orange blossoms and lemon tart with hints of fungi, lime zest, crushed rocks and jasmine. The freshness on the palate is just astonishing, permeating and lifting layer upon layer of tropical fruits and earthy notions, all encased in a sumptuous texture and culminating in a very, very long, mineral-tinged finish. Truly, this is a legendary vintage for d'Yquem. I've been conservative with my drinking window here, and I would not be at all surprised if our descendants are drinking this vintage well into the next century.