Bordeaux 1998: Tasting in 2012

I have expended a lot of energy reviewing some very recent Bordeaux vintages in the past few months. Obviously my Bordeaux 2011 report, published on my return from Bordeaux in April, has been a major part of this work, although not long before that I also updated my Bordeaux 2007 summary with new notes and opinions from the annual tasting at the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. Then, more recently, I compared and contrasted four vintages, 2008 to 2011 inclusive, following my encounter with them at the annual Grand Cru Classé Tasting. That means this year I have already published a report of some kind, of varying breadth and significance admittedly, on all five of Bordeaux’s most recent vintages.

So, before I get stuck into Bordeaux 2010 (at the annual Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux tasting) and Bordeaux 2008 (at the annual Institute of Masters of Wine tasting) again, both events coming up in a few months time, thought it was about time I stop for a moment to look back at some more mature wines. Over the next couple of months I will publish notes from a handful of tastings looking at older vintages, starting today with 1998. These tastings are never going to be exhaustive, far from it, as they generally feature bottles from my own cellar and I do not have the financial clout to buy a huge spread of cru classé wines in even one vintage (especially now they are so expensive), never mind every vintage.

Bordeaux 1998

Vintage Recap

A brief recap on the vintage is merited, although more detail can be found in my introduction to 1998 Bordeaux if required. Rather than working forward with a meteorological report, at fourteen years of age perhaps it makes sense to start with the wines. Anyone who has tasted a broad spread of wines from 1998, or indeed anyone who has read reports on the wines of this vintage, will know that this was a year that favoured the right bank appellations of St Emilion, Pomerol and the lesser associated communes. The left bank wines are in general less successful, and the same can be said for Sauternes.

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