In a move that echoes the decision of Chateau Latour to withdraw from the En Primeur market, Chateau d’Yquem have decided not to release the 2011 vintage….yet!? Don’t worry too much though as there are some fantastic alternative suggestions below – just read on.
This makes business sense as, for the red wines at least, I can’t remember such a disappointing En Primeur campaign with release after release meeting with stony silence from buyers across the world. Much better to sell your wine in a more positive climate and, frankly, I’m surprised that more didn’t take this line. Instead brand Bordeaux has taken a big negative hit as a result of the initially delayed and then hastily rushed series of openings at prices mostly beyond what the market was willing to pay.
Thankfully Sauternes has rightfully emerged with an intact reputation, mainly because prices were consistent with the quality of the vintage which was, as everyone realises, excellent in 2011. At the same time economic conditions were taken into account and the 2011’s were for the most part cheaper than the 2010’s and 2009’s, representing excellent value.
The case of Chateau d’Yquem is, however, a little different as recent prices have been high as a policy of following the prices of the red First Growths has been adopted. I absolutely agree that as a wine it is at least the equal of anything else produced in Bordeaux, especially in 2011 where it was without doubt the wine of the vintage, but this does mean that older vintages of Yquem and other top Sauternes and Barsac do look relatively well priced at the moment.
So here are a few suggestions for anyone disappointed not to have the opportunity to buy some 2011 Chateau d’Yquem:
Chateau Raymond-Lafon – the next best thing, literally speaking, to Yquem, especially as some of the vineyards used to belong to Yquem before the property was bought by Yquem’s former manager, Pierre Meslier, in 1972. The 2011 Chateau Raymond-Lafon has been our best selling Sauternes precisely because of its super quality to price ratio, so click on the link above to buy some before the En Primeur offer closes.
Another wine with strong Yquem connections is the 2011 Chateau de Fargues, owned by Comte Alexander de Lur Saluces, in charge at Yquem when Pierre Meslier of Raymond-Lafon was manager and until the property was sold to LMVH in 2004. Not as exceptional value as Raymond-Lafon but this is an exquisite wine of the very highest quality – I will certainly be buying some personally as this chateau has been known to produce wines that reduce me to tears of joy! If you’d like to join me in buying a few bottles or more just click on the link above.
And finally, if Yquem it must be, then there is real value in older vintages and nowhere better than the 1998 Chateau d’Yquem of which we have a few cases of 12 half bottles at only just over £1,000 (the 2007 in comparison is around £2,500) – once again just click on the click to go directly to this wine in our online shop.