The 1998 Burgundy Vintage – 20 years on…

Update 1.11.2018(31.10.2018)billn

I have been so looking forward to tasting these 1998s. I cut my teeth of the wines of 1993-1995 and the 1996s were the first en-primeur wines that I bought. I tasted some 1996 and 1997s in Burgundy but only started to regularly taste from cask from the 2000 vintage – so all my experience…

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There are 3 responses to “The 1998 Burgundy Vintage – 20 years on…”

  1. peterbam16th November 2018 at 6:56 pmPermalink

    Hi Bill, Can I ask how you served these wines (this level, this vintage, this age)? Pop and pour; or double-decant just before service; or double-decant a few hours earlier; or…? Many thanks, Peter

    • billn17th November 2018 at 10:42 amPermalink

      Hi Peter
      Just popped and poured. The only preparation was to stand the bottles up for 24 hours before, and put them in the fridge before opening. My cellar after the hot summer was a bit over 18, so too warm for drinking, I prefer my wine to slowly warm in the glass, so virtually all year round they start in the fridge.
      Decanting I only do with young wines to get rid of the CO2 and help them open – oh and when I’ve butchered a cork so need to filter out the cork chunks 🙂

      • peterbam17th November 2018 at 12:25 pmPermalink

        Brill, thank you. I’m in a decades-long process of trying to make sense of how to get ‘air’ right. People often talk about double-decanting as ‘just’ about taking a wine off its sediment, but I’m increasingly thinking/finding that sometimes it can be damaging (depending upon the wine, the vintage, the age, etc). I quite often do anyway; but in general I’m moving closer to the approach you mention. It’s very useful to hear your answer – thanks again.

  2. Dan20th November 2018 at 7:59 pmPermalink

    Hello Bill & Peter, Thought I’d chime in on ‘air’, and getting it right. How one uses oxygen with respect to older wines is a matter of context for me. In a tasting of many bottles I do prefer a ‘pop-and-pour’ at fridge temperature. This allows for a slow aeration and warming; one can tag along as the wine changes in the glass over hours of examination and enjoyment. Yet with my meal I want the wine to be at peak performance with the course at hand. This means a guesstimate must be made as to each wine’s potential. Slow aeration with the cork removed for xx hours; a single decant just before consumption; even opening and double-decanting early in the morning (e.g.,1996 Giacosa Red Label).

    I try to have a few bottles standing up for a minimum of a month. When consuming these, I always decant before moving them to either table or restaurant. When an old wine falls ‘bright’ it is a magnificent sight.

    Madeira drinkers say for each decade of bottle age the wine needs one day open. What a little bit of spirits does to the aging curve!

    I remember a story from when I was starting out on what was to become an obsession with the history of wine. In the 1950s a certain Bordeaux chateau owner’s dining room was partially filled with cases of the domain’s wine. It needed one year at ‘room temperature’ (likely chilly by our standards) before being ready for his table.

    As with most things vinous, there are many right answers.

    • peterbam21st November 2018 at 12:20 pmPermalink

      Hi Dan, Nice observations – good to hear. I completely agree that things must be taken on a wine-by-wine basis, with all the techniques you mention in play, and with the usual goal being optimisation for meal time. Regards, Peter

  3. Dan20th November 2018 at 8:05 pmPermalink

    Forgot to say, I drank a lovely bottle of H. Gouges NSG 1er cru Les Pruliers 1998 a few days ago. The Gouges brothers knocked it our of the park that year. Not as stern as Les Vaucrains, I would be happy drinking this wine every day, forever. Popped and poured in a restaurant (no time to prepare at home), the wine gained weight and length throughout dinner. Echoed Bill’s note with slightly darker notes because of climat.

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