Bordeaux 1998: Tasting in 2008

The notes presented below come from a small tasting of a disparate group of wines, devoid of the grandest names, and taking in a hotch-potch selection of Bordeaux appellations. From the left bank we have Sociando-Mallet, which put in the most convincing performance from this side of the Gironde, it having been pitted against lone examples of St Estèphe, Pauillac and St Julien. While these wines did not disappoint, in each case showing at least some appealing characteristics alongside the very firm, dry structure they exhibited (occasionally with a touch of green, admittedly), none offered the very immediate, classically-styled pleasures that Jean Gautreau’s wine had to offer.

Bordeaux 1998

Meanwhile, three minor names from the right bank hinted at the success of Merlot and the right bank appellations in this vintage. None deserved any significant criticism, and indeed Grand Mayne was a delight, sufficiently so for me to note this in my wine of the week feature. Lastly, three examples of the sweeter side of Bordeaux, and here – although it is not possible to make judgements from such restricted assessments – these wines hinted at what a difficult vintage this was for botrytis. Rieussec put in a star turn, but Filhot and Climens were left waiting in the wings, it seems.

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