It was one of the most magnificent tastings of my life. Yesterday I had the amazing fortune to taste 15 vintages of the legendary sweet wine producer Chateau d'Yquem in Beverly Hills with a couple dozen wine collectors and wine merchants, at Wolfgang Puck's Spago restaurant.
I did not make it to church yesterday, but I felt very close to God. I was blessed with tasting no less than four 100-point wines and a number of others that were very, very close.
In the last flight of the four-flight tasting, I rated three out of five wines 100 points, including the 1945, 1921 and 1899. I was sitting next to Pierre Lurton, the president of Yquem, and we were both speechless. "These are eternal wines," said Lurton shaking his head. "They will live forever."
Check out my video to see the colors of the 1899 and 1921. I also tasted the 1899 on video. Awesome! Truly awesome.
I have some super-cool videos for later this week, from the Yquem tasting as well as a Cheval Blanc tasting from last Friday and Saturday. The two legendary Bordeaux wines estate have the same owner, Bernard Arnault (and friends). Arnault is the CEO of Moët-Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the luxury goods conglomerate. Wine collector Bipin Desai organized the tastings.
Here are my tasting notes on the four 100-point Yquems:
2001: This is still spellbinding every time I taste it. It is it so balanced yet so intense. It is super dense and very, very sweet yet so light on its feet. It dances around your palate yet delivers masses of everything. Honey, pineapple, dried apricots, sugar-coated lemons, lime ... fab. Full, very sweet and very, very long. Last for minutes on your palate. It¹s amazing now. But this will improve for decades ahead. Best after 2015.
1945: Wonderful color of amber with hints of orange. Intense aromas of dried mango, orange peel and apricot with hints of caramel. Full bodied, very dense and sweet yet racy and super long. This is so lively and beautiful. Goes on and on and on. Truly amazing. Timeless.
1921: This is a legend, and it lives up to its reputation. Orange amber with a green-edged color. Smells almost like tawny port with orange peel, brown sugar, toffee and sugary lemons. This is full and very, very dense. Very sweet too. With lots of botrytis spice and marmalade. So long and powerful. Amazing. What concentration!
1899: I have had a number of 1899s and this is the best, clearly. So clean and fresh on the nose with mango, lime, caramel, brown sugar and candied orange peel. Full-bodied, very sweet, super refined with amazingly crisp, lively and long. Turns to toffee and dried apricots with an orange undertone. Goes on and on. Such youth and such complexity. Perfect balance. Am I too generous? No!
I stood up to say a few words to the group after everyone had spent time tasting and drinking the last three wines, as well as 1937 and 1949 which were also outstanding. And I said how Yquem is unique in the world. There is nothing even close in the rest of the world. In other places, you can find amazing pure Merlots to compete with Pétrus, or Cabernet Sauvignon-based blends to compare to Latour or Margaux, or Chardonnays to match up to the best grand cru Burgundies, but Yquem is Yquem. And it has amazing pedigree. What a Sunday!