The 2011 vintage of Château d’Yquem wasn’t released last year because of the depressed market conditions. Now we also know that there will be no 2012 vintage produced. At the time they felt that they had made a fantastic wine that merited releasing at a more propitious moment. It still hasn’t been released onto the general market but some clever pre-release promotion has been taking place. A case was put up for sale at a French auction last week with the bottle size to be decided by the customer.
I contacted the château about this unusual strategy and their response was very interesting. The auction sale included the 2011 as a way of conjuring up support for the vintage, which may not have been the case if it had “opened” through the normal channels. It was felt that the reputation of Sauternes 2011, very often totally wrongly associated with the lighter style of the reds when in fact it is a great Sauternes vintage, would dampen a general offer. This is therefore yet to come at an unspecified date. They made it very clear that this is just a little toe in the water just to foster support (which it did as it sold very well) and in no way suggests that Yquem will be pursuing a Latour policy.
And the price? Well a case sold for 9,844 Euros or roughly £8,175, much higher than the prices achieved at the auction for the 1988, 1989 or 1990 vintages. Looking at Liv-Ex trade prices this is over twice the price of the 2009, nearly twice the price of the 2001 and higher than the most recent sales of the 1975 and 1967 vintages.
The bar has been set! Bill Blatch