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
There is one response to “1998 clos napoleon…”
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..
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…