Displays gorgeous, savage aromas and flavors, with crushed juniper berry, hot tar, sage leaf, roasted chestnut and grilled beef notes that scorch across the palate. Still rugged on the finish, though the color at the rim and the intensity and range of the aromas show that this is evolving. (JM)
The 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape from the Michel family was firing on all cylinders for this retrospective, and while I’ve had bottles stateside that seem tired, this was beautiful on all accounts. Garrigue, truffle, leather and plenty of ripe fruit flow to a full-bodied, mouth filling and unctuously textured feel on the palate. A classic, foudre-aged blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and the rest other permitted varieties, I would drink bottles ASAP while they’re showing this beautifully, but it will certainly hold nicely for another 7-8 years. (JD)
The 1998 Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape presented a slightly more restrained, graceful style of Châteauneuf in its silky tannins and graceful, elegant fruit. It, too, was fabulous. (AG)
Inky and rustic, yet in a refined manner. This is knock-out juice if you like ’em big and flavorful. The full bouquet of grape, raisin, oak, licorice and herb aromas pulls you in and the follow-up palate of dense blackberry flavors with herb and smoke shadings fulfills the promise the nose makes. Loads of oak here, but there’s great depth of fruit for it to play against.
Deep red. Spicy, deeply pitched aromas of fresh raspberry, pepper, cinnamon, gunflint and game. Thick, silky and compellingly sweet in the mouth, with liqueur-like flavors of raspberry, blackberry and game. Superripe but not over the top. Finishes very long, with fine, dusty tannins. Not the most complex or primary example of the vintage, but this could not be mistaken for anything but ripe-vintage Chateauneuf du Pape. (ST)
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