d’Yquem v Rieussec; Chateau d’Yquem 1989 and Chateau Rieussec 1988

The rather fortunate opportunity arose to taste two Sauternes wines blind together from two grand estates – Chateau d’Yquem and Chateau Rieussec.  The results were very interesting.  Would the d’Yquem be an unassailable beacon of Sauternes quality?  Would it justify being five times the price of the Rieussec?  Does label matter?  Would the vintage make a difference?  The answers on this tasting were “not compared with the Rieussec”, “no”, “not if both labels are good” and “yes”.  The d’Yquem from the 1989 vintage presented as the fuller bodied, more obvious wine, with evident quality and complexity.  But perhaps not quite exhibiting the intensity and complexity of a great d’Yquem.  Interestingly, I thought it resembled a younger Rieussec vintage.   Conversely, the Rieussec 1988 presented as the more restrained, and possibly more complex wine, giving up its marmalade notes in a quiet but thoughtful and considered manner that suggested a long life ahead.  The 1989 vintage seems to have been a warmer vintage, and 1988 possibly better regarded.

Chateau d’Yquem 1989, Sauternes
Golden in colour.  Full bodied in the glass with notes of oak, butter and caramel.  A very good wine, if rather obvious in bearing.  (Alc: 13.5%, Region: Sauternes, Bordeaux, Rating: Very Good, Drink: now to 2037, Tasted: Mar, 2017)

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Vintage Rating Review

Chateau Rieussec 1988, Sauternes
Golden in colour.  Aromas of orange peel and marmalade.  A fine boned and delicious interpretation of Sauternes that will beguil and reward drinking now or further cellaring.  A compelling Sauternes.  (Alc: 14.5%, Region: Sauternes, Bordeaux, Rating: Very Good to Outstanding, Drink: now to 2037, Tasted: Mar, 2017)

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