A masculine, ripe expression of Côte Rôtie, the 1998 Côte Rôtie Côte Blonde offers up tons of blackberry and cassis fruit to go with notions of smoked meats, iron and earth. Hitting the palate with blockbuster levels of concentration and a voluptuous, sexy texture, it still has a surprising amount of tannin that come through on the finish. Nevertheless, this is mature and drinking nicely. I would opt for drinking bottles over the coming decade or so. (JD)
The 1998 vintage was quite hot in Côte-Rôtie, but also a drought vintage and the vines tended to struggle a bit to fully ripen the fruit (at least in comparison to the perfection of the ’99 growing season), and consequently, the ’98 Côte Blonde shows a bit more of a “cooler fruit” tone from its less thorough ripeness. That said, this too is a superb wine in the making, delivering a fine bouquet of black raspberries, dark berries, black olives, a very strong base of soil, black pepper and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex, with a bit of chewy tannin still to resolve, fine focus and balance and a long, tangy and quite soil-driven finish. This will be another reference point vintage for the Rostaing Côte Blonde, but it still needs four or five more years to shed a bit more tannin.
Bright full ruby. More flamboyant, profound aromas of crushed, crystallized black fruits, pepper, game and roasted nuts. Lush, sweet and superconcentrated; remarkably mouthfilling wine of great class. Suaver than the Landonne, with more inner-mouth perfume. ('I vinify every cru and every vintage exactly the same,' says Rostaing. 'The differences among my wines are those of terroir and only terroir.') Palate-staining aftertaste features superb grip and lush tannins. These '98s should turn out to be Rostaing finest wines since his '91s. (ST) 94+
Really lush, with black cherry, fig and game notes that glide along while dried herb, mineral and saddle leather hints chime in for effect. Long, silky finish still has some structure to shed. (JM, Web-2004)
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