The 1988 Yquem is a vintage that I have drunk with enormous pleasure on numerous occasions. This last bottle was the perfect ending to a horizontal of 1988 Roumier wines at Noizé. It was a late harvest that lasted until All Saints Day (1 November). A total of 6 tries were necessary through the vineyard, each gifting plenty of botrytised fruit. Deep amber in hue, it offers wonderful aromas of mandarin, orange blossom, wax resin and a light adhesive scent. I was actually quite taken aback but the splendid delineation and life-affirming vitality of this example, hints of crème brûlée interwoven through the honeyed fruit, Clementine and hints of caramelised pear. It fans out wonderfully on the finish. Without doubt, this was the best bottle of 1988 Yquem that I have encountered.
Anticipated maturity: 2022-2050
Robert Parker 96
The 1988 Chateau d’Yquem has long been an insider’s favorite over the 1989 and 1990, although at the end of the day, all three form a brilliant triumvirate at the end of the decade. Tasted from a half bottle, it shone with a slightly burnished amber hue. The bouquet is just as I have encountered with previous bottles with scents of marmalade, mandarin, burnt honey and citrus fruit, perhaps a little waxier and resinous than I recall. The palate is medium-bodied with impressive weight, viscous as you would expect, though not as flamboyant as the 1989 or as unctuous as the 1990. It is beautifully balanced with notes of apricot, white chocolate and orange peel towards the harmonious and tensile finish. You can see this cruising along for two or three decades and maybe it will turn more Barsac-like in style? Time will tell – a glorious Yquem however you look at it. Tasted May 2016.
Anticipated maturity: 2016-2046
13.5%, 123 g/l RS, TA 3.8. Very classic vintage. Warm year with a very wet spring. Good weather lasted to the end of the harvest, 15 Oct started – very late – and then it was a dream vintage with no rain for 4 weeks. Ended 25 Nov. Very late. Dark tawny. The most uintriging nose Glossy and lively and more intellectual than the other two, Extremely long – a hint of ginger and real zest. Certainly seemed the best of these three without a doubt. Very racy and flirtatious – maybe racier than the 1989. Powerful and very very long.
Anticipated maturity: 2000-2040