Robert Parker 98
A warm to hot vintage ideal for producing outstanding reds does not necessarily make for a great Sauternes vintage, but in the case of 1990 it did. Dry, warm winds in the autumn contributed to the level of concentration that this wine exhibits. Fortunately, a little rain in late September and early October ensured that botrytis flourished well in the end, the final factor necessary to achieve this extraordinary expression. Medium to deep golden colored, the 1990 d’Yquem opens with unabashed opulence, giving expressive notes of dried apricots, toffee, candied walnut, tree bark and sandalwood with nuances of preserved mandarin peel, lemongrass and fallen leaves. The palate is entering that stage where it still has bags of fruit and yet appears quite dry, with a lively line contributing jaw-dropping tension and finishing with epically long-lingering honey nut and earth-inspired notes. Pure. Hedonism. The multilayered intensity perhaps makes this appear a much bigger, sweeter Yquem than it is, and yet it possesses a relatively modest 12.7% alcohol and 126 grams per liter of residual sugar with 3.9 grams per liter of total acidity (H2SO4). Well into its ideal drinking window, there is no real rush to drink this beauty, as it should remain suspended at the heavenly plateau for another 25+ years.
Anticipated maturity: 2019-2044
Full-blown aromas of caramel, toffee, honey, white chocolate and damp earth; slightly Tokaj-like. Hugely concentrated and layered in the mouth; extraordinary sweetness cut by harmonious acidity. As with the best vintages of Yquem, the finish goes on for a minute or more. Stains, and stuns, the palate. A huge wine, surprisingly extravagant on the nose (earlier bottles have been far more restrained) but completely unevolved and a bit musclebound on the palate. May ultimately merit a higher score.
Half bottle. Mid gold. Medium intensity of barley sugar. Good acidity but rather low key considering the vintage etc. Fun but not knock out.
Anticipated maturity: 2013-2030