Thursday, October 20, 2005

October 19, A Sauterne that is not - "Y" the dry Y'quem


A particular region in Bordeaux, Sauterne - produces some of the best sweet wines in the world. The grapes which tend to go into a Sauterne are both Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The difference is "noble rot" or Botrytis Ceneria - a mold. This mold tends to dry out and shrivel the grape - intensifying flavors and sugar content to get a Sauterne.

Perhaps the most famous or first among equals is Chateau Y'quem. What many people do not realize is that Chateau Y'quem also makes a dry white wine from the very same grapes - without the Bottrytis. This isn't made every year and when it is, total production is several hundred cases ( saw somewhere that it was around 700-900 cases but do not remember the source ). The result is "Y" or Ee-'grec. "Y" was first produced in 1959 and so far has had 21 vintages.

As it is a dry wine - it technically cannot be considered a "Sauterne" and therefore labelled as "Bordeaux Superior". Rest assured this particular bottling of "Bordeaux Superior" will live up to the labelling - can't say that for most. It also costs a fraction of the price of Y'quem and worth it. It is unlike any white Bordeaux that you will ever have from the Graves or Pessac-Leognan area of Bordeaux.

Drunk young it probably can be best described as a dry-Y'quem with just a hint of sweetness at the tip of your tongue - and it is POWERFUL. With time it produces additional nuances personally this is one which can be enjoyed young or mature - you will get to appreciate different aspects.

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