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A “Legendary” Chateau d’Yquem Vintage

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his is the creme de la creme of vinous experiences. I could deliver a soliloquy on the ethereal nature of this wine, indeed I must.

One of the most widely recognized wine producer’s in the world, Chateau d’Yquem has an intriguing history. The only Chateau to be awarded a Premier Cru Supérieur rating in the original Bordeaux Wine Official Classification of 1855, d’Yquem has remained a moniker that effectuates an eyes-glazed-over trance.

Chateau d’Yquem like any great estate has had its fair share of family feuds. As a result of one brotherly enmity, a majority exchange in shares took place enabling gargantuan LVMH – Louis Vuitton Moet-Hennessy, to assume a 55% shareholding of d’Yquem for $100 million in 1996. As a side note, it is astonishing how many luxury brands this mega-company owns.

To the wine: the 2001 vintage was declared one of the top vintages in all of d’Yquem’s history, thus you can understand my excitement: critics all over the globe have sung its praises, it has attained faultless 100 point scores, and been described as “legendary”.

Our 750ml bottle was assiduously flown from Marlborough to Wellington on a Soundsair Cessna, to be shared amongst an enthusiastic dinner party table of 8 or so imbibers celebrating a special 70th at one of Wellington’s leading restaurants, Arbitrageur. After a pleasant meal in which we had enjoyed Framingham’s F-Series Spatlese 2011 from Marlborough matched with calamari, Delta Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009 from Marlborough, an irresistible and delightfully savoury Domaine Jamet Cote-Rotie 2001 from Northern Rhone, a complex, enjoyable Chateau Giscours 2000 from Margaux, and sadly a slightly past-it Fontodi Flaccianello 1999 from Tuscany, we moved on to the climax of the evening……

The sheer complexity and unctuousness of this wine is utterly breathtaking. The striking aromas percolate from one end of the table to the other as the precious nectar is being poured into glasses: there’s convincing characters of creme brulee, apricot, ripe lemon, marmalade, a slight funkiness balanced out with an elegant, lithe touch of new oak. Texturally this wine is just perfection: wearing a golden velvet gown it casts itself gracefully over each palate, a whip of precision acidity ensures it continues its lively choreographed performance for what seems like eons after taking one dear sip from its glass custodian. Making a serpentine path up the table, discussion courses, interrupted only by the occasional pleasure-bearing sigh. Everyone is in awe. Flavours permeate, enkindling sensory memories to be conserved for a lifetime.

I’m quite content to confess this was one magnificent 100 point wine experience.