Wednesday 18 September 2013

Two 1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

I admit it - back in 2000 I was hooked on Parker´s praise of the 1998 Châteauneuf´s - "this is a profound, possibly once-in-a-lifetime vintage to by in quantity". Ok then, I will buy...
In hindsight it was a lemmel behaviour on my part, more than a genuine interest. Ah, well, you live and learn.

Over the years we have done some nice tastings with the 98´s - in 2003 we tasted 30+ of them. A lot of them have been really, really good, but regardless how good, a Châteauneuf can´t get my spine tingling, like a great Barolo, Burgundy or Bordeaux can.

I still have some 98´s left in a almost forgotten bin - time to test drive two of them.

1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Domaine de Beaurenard
A mature, round, nice nose with lots of forest floor, autumn leaves, red currants, dried resin and a touch of bonfire. Earthy and good. Not that much depth, but it is perfectly mature with pleasant fruit.
The taste is bigger than the nose leads on and has a nice warmth and notes of red currants, dried raspberries, garrigue, resin and some smoke. The finish is medium long and warm. Very good. This has matured nicely and even though it doesn´t have heaps of complexity it is drinking really well. Drink up.
88p   (tasted 2013/09)

1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Grande Garde, Domaine Saint Benoit
This on the other hand has gone a bit too long in its evolvement. At least on the nose, which is big, ripe and meaty with notes of moist earth, overripe raspberries, Coca-Cola and rosehips. A bit too sweet and barnyardy.
The taste keeps things together in a better fashion. The sweetness is more withdrawn and better integrated in the structure. The finish is long and warm with notes of raspberry licorice, autumn leaves, meat stock and warm herbs. A good acidity. The taste saves this from being overblown. Should have been drunk 5 years ago.
86p   (tasted 2013/09)


  1. But then you are not very far from Uncle Bob's assessment of these bottles... ;-)

    I believe he lauded more serious producers in particular and I confess that some of those bottles he in fact did single out has been absolutely singing, at least in my glass, like the Pegau Cuvee Reservee, Cuvee Laurence and Cuvee Da Capo, Vieux Telegraphe, anything from Henri Bonneau, the Janasse Vieilles Vignes, the Usseglio Mon Aieul, the Clos du Caillou and so on. Life is far too short to drink average wines. :-)

    1. Well, I can agree with you on all except the ones from Pegau - gotten them blind several times, and they hardly muster themselves over 90p...


  2. You never know when they will show up in a blind tasting... ;-)