Is it me or are '98 red burgs drinking really well right now?

I unfortunately don’t have a lot from the vintage, but looking back at my notes, every '98 I’ve tried in the last 6 months has shown really well. In my early burg drinking days all the ‘98s seemed burly and unfriendly, but I’m finding great balance of ripeness and elegance lately. Below is the wine that prompted the post - curious to hear others’ thoughts.

  • 1998 Domaine Pierre Amiot et Fils Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru Aux Combottes - France, Burgundy, Côte de Nuits, Gevrey-Chambertin 1er Cru (1/23/2015)
    Terrific stuff from an underrated vintage. Even after an hour of air this is drinking great. Beautiful nose of violets and dried berries. Medium to light bodied with good concentration and elegance. Black cherries, blueberries and lot of spice on the palate. Mouthwatering finish, which lingers for a while. More Vosne then Gevrey, but is that really a complaint? (93 pts.)

Personally have some fairly recent mixed reviews with non-GC wines: good (but not great) = Coche-Dury Volnay 1er; pretty much spent and average at best = Gerard Mugneret Vosne-Romanee. Haven’t busted out the GC “big boys” recently. Next to try on my list: Clos de Tart.

It’s a mix for me but generally they are open but they all have a hollowness in the mid palate. It’s kinda weird. The initial attack is strong but it’s hollow in the middle

There are IMHO generally 3 different 1998s:

  • wines that are really nice now, with good balance and enough sweetness on the palate, mostly 1ers and Villages …
  • some better crus that are fine but still a bit too young showing still structure, they will be fine in another 3-5+ years
  • quite a lot, certainly the majority but including the lesser producers, that made wines with dry tannins and not enough ripe fruit to be really sweet and enjoyable, many will always taste more or less astringent and rather short … I doubt that they will really much improve when kept … but I will not exclude some positive surprises in a few years among them.

But generally even most of the fine producers have a certain (tiny) dry rustic component in this vintage - e.g. different from let´s say 1999 or 2002 (or even 1997/2000) - most will never be really charming, but excite in other ways …

My 0.02 …

They had been drinking well for years but seemed to have shut down again in the last 2-3. Haven’t tried one in about a year though. It would be great news if they’ve opened up again.

and I do like them

I think Jadot did a great job in 1998. I’ve had the Bonnes Mares a couple times and it’s usually outstanding.

I can’t stand the bitter, drying tannins in many 1998s. I think bigger wines must’ve done better but I’ve had disappointing bottles from producers like Angerville, Mugnier, Bernard Amiot . . . it wasn’t a vintage for the delicate.

I haven’t had a lot of 98s of late. The Faiveley premier crus are still young and fairly tough but promising (Gevrey-Cazetiers was the last I sampled). With decanting, the Lamarche Vosne-Suchots can be quite generous.

I’ve got a few '98 Lambrays and I’ve been thinking about opening one in the near future. Anyone have any recent experiences with this wine?

Drank a '98 Dujac Gruenchers a few weeks ago that was stellar…

Leah, thanks for the note. Dujac’s Gruenchers is almost always terrific, but I’ve never had the 98. I’m glad to see that it performed well!

not really for me,but have a bottle rest.
Clos St.Jaques from Fourrier is worth a look today?

Had the 98 Roumier Amoureuses last month. Just as per Gerhard’s comments, the tannins were faintly coarse for this bottling, but quickly recede and give way to very pure, high toned airy but penetrating fruits that make one forget about anything negative about 1998, and anything else for that matter. That being said, I’d say that it’s still not quite ideally mature and would give it another 3-5 years, particularly if you only have a bottle or two.

'98 Roumier BM killed it in a vertical last year.

How much decant ?

Jason, I had the Lambrays last year. I suspect it will hold for many years, but it’s quite approachable now with 30-60 minutes in the glass.

I opened a Faiveley Latricieres and Jadot Clos de Beze 2 weeks ago as part of a Gevrey tasting. The Jadot was quite disjointed and not showing well compared to a bottle 4-5 years ago. The Faiveley was a bit more giving, but really probably needs another 5-10 years.

Last month, I too opened a 98 Faiveley Latricieres and found its flavors rather closed and its tannins somewhat prominent. I won’t open my next bottle of this for at least three or five years.

In the July, 2014, View from the Cellar, John Gilman had a good article titled “Visiting the Currently Quite-Closed 1998 Red Burgundies.”

Probably 4 hours in all. The 95 was absolutely gorgeous as well.

I think that many drink Ok now, but that they just aren’t great wines…