Mostly Blind dinner - 88 Krug, 02 Boillot Monty, 02 Laurent CdB, 89 Palmer, 96 Yquem and etc. (Black Salt, Washington DC): This is a very pleasant surprise. Very intense and youthful nose displaying sweet yellow fruits, fresh apricot, banana, mango, papaya, custard and honey. Excellent concentration, unctuous yet airy and weightless, sweet banana/pineapple driven palate impression and lovely clean finish. This is very much sweet fruit driven D’Yuem rather than botrytis. Very opulent but not terribly complex. With D’Yquem, that can change with time. Very enjoyable already. I highly recommend as long as you don’t absolutely have to have botrytis.
Half bottle. Medium gold color. Ripe burnt sugar, coconut aromatics. Ripe, round, unctuous, somewhat honeyed and sweet. Unquestionably tasty and immediately attractive, but I found the balancing acidity to be somewhat wanting. Big and concentrated, but this could use more definition and bite. Did not even come close to the balance of the '88 which we had last weekend.
Copper; white raisins, apricots, kumquats, yeast donuts, lychees, cloves; semi-sweet, raisin, apricot, three-fruit marmalade, honey, creamy, decadent, good acidity, excellent balance, good structure, long finish. Syrupy marmalade, clover honey, brioche and a unique creaminess. Complex with high pedigree. Drinking well now but still evolving as it breathed. Delicious with blue cheese.
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(Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes) Dense, fairly well concentrated, with an evocative nose, and a fine spine of acidity. There is good botrytis character here too, as well as a little residual oak. Full, creamy, rather light-footed and delicate, but this gives a nice balance based on that fine and firm acidity. It has elegance, and a very good length. Whilst not a great Yquem, it is certainly very fine for the vintage. I think my last score may have been a little harsh, although that time it was lined up against a number of superior vintages, including the 1997 and 1990.
(Chateau d'Yquem Sauternes) Average temperatures. Dry September, late botrytis. A moderate gold colour, but not the depth of the other vintages on show. Smoky white fruits, showing good depth of mature fruit aroma, and some good quince notes, but little botrytis otherwise. Full, sweet, maturing fruit. There is a mineral depth that adds interest here, and although botrytis character is subtle I like it more than other 1996s I have tasted. I like this, taking into account the weak vintage for Sauternes.
(Château d'Yquem (Sauternes)) A rich and maturing hue, a golden orange hue. Hints of toffee on the nose, which I find rather obvious, along with scents of bitter Seville oranges; sure, there is elegance here, but it comes with that firm suggestion of bitterness too, and there is also a faintly volatile note. Hints of almonds. Supple, quite savoury style, with some dry wood elements. Rich, honeyed, complex, bitter fruits, with touches of burnt toffee. Good but not a great example of Yquem.
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