Between 1978 and 2007, this 1998 is the greatest Vieux Telegraphe that was produced. It has taken a good decade for this wine to shed its tannins and come out of a dormant, closed period. It has finally emerged, and notes of iodine, seaweed, black currants, incense, and sweet cherries as well as hot rocks jump from the glass of this full-bodied, powerful wine. It possesses considerable elegance and purity, along with loads of raspberries and incense, in a round, juicy, rich style that is just emerging from the closet. The wine is still youthful and a pre-adolescent in terms of its ultimate evolution. Approachable now, it will continue to evolve for another 15-20 years. Bravo! (RP)
Very complex, this is a major-league red with a tight but deep nose of black fruits, spice, and tar. The deep yet closed fruit on the palate is accented by pronounced clove, tarragon and anise notes. Beautifully structured, with a velvety texture and fine fruit-to-acid balance. This impressive bottling finishes long, with dark fruit and cocoa notes. It virtually demands aging for three to five years.
This has always been one of the harder-edged wines of the vintage, but it is showing some signs of softening. The color remains dark, with aromas of grilled herb, tobacco and beef leading the way for currant, chestnut and garrigue notes that are carried by the prominent tannin structure. The chewy, mouthfilling finish is starting to let some sweet flesh come out from behind the iron and stone notes. Still needs time, but this is rock solid. --1998 Châteauneuf-du-Pape retrospective. Best from 2009 through 2027. (JS)
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