Saint-Émilion & Pomerol, 1998

1998 was an irregular year, with some absolutely stunning wines produced on the right bank, and particularly Pomerol, which was the star of the show. Meanwhile, many left bank Cabernet blends tended to be a little overly tannic and austere.

The summer ripening period was one of extreme heat, storms and cooler periods. It was the intense heat that shrivelled many grapes, resulting in excessive tannin in the Cabernet Sauvignon. This together with heavy rains at the end of September made a dearth of characterless, austere wines in the Médoc, although producers at the top end had the technology to make the best out of a bad year.

Meanwhile for Merlot, some rain respite in early September followed by a nice warm few weeks ensured that it was picked in optimum conditions on both sides of the Gironde, ensuring a very good year for Péssac-Léognan and the Graves.

In terms of pricing, there are some very good buys to be had in something of a forgotten vintage, especially looking on the right bank. There were some exceptional wines from the Graves and a cluster of very good offerings, but a poor year for Sauternes which suffered with the weather. 

The wines

Pomerol had a great year, mainly through a quirk of fate, when a hailstorm in July which damaged some of the crop forced growers to thin their crops, resulting in low yields of juicy berries that ripened beautifully in September and were picked in perfect conditions.

Saint-Émilion also produced some superb wines, although a few disappointments too.

Saint-Émilion & Pomerol, 1998

1998 was an irregular year, with some absolutely stunning wines produced on the right bank, and particularly Pomerol, which was the star of the show. Meanwhile, many left bank Cabernet blends tended to be a little overly tannic and austere.

The summer ripening period was one of extreme heat, storms and cooler periods. It was the intense heat that shrivelled many grapes, resulting in excessive tannin in the Cabernet Sauvignon. This together with heavy rains at the end of September made a dearth of characterless, austere wines in the Médoc, although producers at the top end had the technology to make the best out of a bad year.

Meanwhile for Merlot, some rain respite in early September followed by a nice warm few weeks ensured that it was picked in optimum conditions on both sides of the Gironde, ensuring a very good year for Péssac-Léognan and the Graves.

In terms of pricing, there are some very good buys to be had in something of a forgotten vintage, especially looking on the right bank. There were some exceptional wines from the Graves and a cluster of very good offerings, but a poor year for Sauternes which suffered with the weather. 

The wines

Pomerol had a great year, mainly through a quirk of fate, when a hailstorm in July which damaged some of the crop forced growers to thin their crops, resulting in low yields of juicy berries that ripened beautifully in September and were picked in perfect conditions.

Saint-Émilion also produced some superb wines, although a few disappointments too.

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  1. New Château Monbousquet, 1998

    Château Monbousquet, 1998

    Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2017-2023
    Reviewer Rating: 94 - Robert Parker

    "A full-throttle, jammy red, with lots of coffee, raisin and spice character on both nose and palate. Full-bodied, with big, velvety tannins and a long, rich finish." Wine Spectator

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    £90.00
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  2. Château l'Eglise Clinet, 1998

    Château l'Eglise Clinet, 1998

    Pomerol, Bordeaux, France

    Optimum Drinking: 2017-2035
    Reviewer Rating: 97 - eRobertParker.com

    "Truly gorgeous. Rich and thick yet refined and precise." Wine Spectator

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    £275.00
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