1998 clos napoleon…


What’s the old saying? – Buy in haste, repent at leisure – for a long time I had thoughts along those lines about this wine.

Of-course time is often a healer, and that seems to be the case even for Fixin in the most astringent (tannins) of vintages:

1998 Pierre Gelin, Fixin 1er Clos Napoleon
There’s one thing I still don’t like about this wine – the nose has a lactic note, one that I doubt will ever get better, but behind is a pretty strawberry fruit that implies ripeness, and for the first time I can ever remember, there’s a generosity about the aromas. In the mouth it’s still quite a big wine, but the sandpaper astringency is long gone, indeed it’s now a rather controlled and balanced structure. Good flavour and a pretty complexity. No shirking violet this, but from now-on, I think I can start harvesting some of the bottles from this case.
Rebuy – Maybe

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There is one response to “1998 clos napoleon…”

  1. jhasenpflug29th July 2015 at 4:00 pmPermalinkReply

    I love this wine and this producer, whom I worked with for 10 years when I was with Seagram Chateau & Estate in the USA. The wines can be a bit rough and rustic, with a kind of sandpaper grit as you note, but over time they smooth out and develop some interesting features, secondary truffle and marzipan aromas, a lushness of texture that is quite pleasant in the mouth. Their Clos de Beze can be magnificent after 20 years in bottle. I wish I still had some of the Clos de Beze 1989, which I served at my wedding in 1996. My now ex-wife and I enjoyed our last bottles of the 1989 and 1990 Clos de Beze in 2005 while divorcing, and they were lovely – the grit having disappeared from the sweet fruit and silky textured 1989, and the 1990 still firm and aristocratic, but deeply concentrated and a taste and flavor that seemed to linger for hours. I love the vineyard site of Clos Napoleon, and the parc up the hill with the Rude sculpture of Napoleon is worth the walk, even if the museum is usually closed..

    • billn29th July 2015 at 6:16 pmPermalinkReply

      Thanks for your insight Jerome!
      Though in this case the sandpaper is (for me) more to do with the 98 vintage than the producer. I have to say, wines tasted post-2009 have been far less rustic than was once the case. I particularly like your insight on the (in this context) value for money Bèze…

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