I have been fortunate enough to taste the ’45 Yquem on half a dozen occasions or so (one bottle even being served at the end of a job interview I did over a fine dinner in Geneva, Switzerland), and since the first sip that has always been one of my favorite Yquems, as I love its focus, complexity and cut. The bouquet on this most recent bottle was magnificent, as it soars from the glass in a brilliant mélange of white cherries, toasted coconut, crème caramel, lovely minerality, heather, clover honey and a touch of new leather. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, deep and amazingly pure and focused, with magical mid-palate depth, flawless balance, and amazing length and grip on the laser-like finish. This is like a perfectly cut diamond of Yquem. Drink between 2008-2050.
The 1945 Chateau d’Yquem got off to an inauspicious start when a rare frost (-2 degrees) on May 2 miraculously only affected two or three leaves at the top of the vine and left the nascent buds unscathed. Chateau records detail that the 1945 was picked during six pickings that spanned six weeks from Monday to Saturday. It would seem that observance of the Sabbath led to God’s blessing upon the resulting wines. Harvest commenced on September 9 (after 41mm of rainfall on August 29 provoked widespread botrytis) and finished on October 20. The 1945 Yquem is loaded with 164 grams per liter residual sugar with 4.41 grams per liter total acidity, but statistics are a moot point. Do not let its tawny port appearance put you off. The bouquet is so ridiculously delineated and pure that it will make any other Sauternes within its ambit look ordinary. The aromas race from the glass: Seville orange marmalade, quince, wilted rose petals and an old antique bureau. The palate is perfection. The balance is extraordinary, the acidity effortlessly slicing through the candied orange peel and quince notes, a subtle saline tang delivered on the shimmering, crystalline finish. Returning to the bottle two hours later it has lost absolutely none of its energy. I might one day drink a Sauternes equal to the 1945 Yquem, but I will never drink a Sauternes that is better. (NM)
The 1945 d'Yquem remains the benchmark against which I judged all bottles of this historic wine. Even following a deluge of legendary First Growths it holds its own. It was picked over six tries over six weeks of harvesting that began on 9 September and finished 20 October. It comes with 164gm/L residual sugar. It has a spellbinding pure, crystalline bouquet with quince, marmalade, here a hint of fig and minerals, the aromas just exploding from the glass. The palate is perfectly balanced with a razor-sharp bead of acidity, candied orange peel and quince just like the bottle served at the château in 2014, with an animated, effervescent finish that leaves you breathless. Stunning. Enthralling. Spellbinding. Drinking window: 2018-2050. (NM)
Bought from Hugh Johnson's cellar. The richest, most historic sort of burnt orange marmalade essence. 19.5/20 points. Drink to 2050. (JR)
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