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Saint-Emilion and Pomerol 1998

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A really top vintage in St-Emilion and Pomerol, perhaps the vintage of the decade

Weather Conditions

Flowering took place in normal conditions, and after a cool start to the summer, August was hot and dry. Early September was wet, but the grape skins were thick and there was no rot. On the right bank, much of the Merlot was ultra-ripe and was harvested from around 21 September, although there was a short pause when rain returned for a few days. By then most of the Merlot had been picked. Cabernets were picked in early October, and although less ripe than the Merlot, was still of excellent quality. This is certainly the best vintage since 1990.

Best Appellations

Conditions benefited the earlier ripening Merlot in 1998 producing a really top vintage in St-Emilion and Pomerol, perhaps the vintage of the decade. The majority of Merlot in Pomerol and a good percentage of that in St-Emilion was harvested in ideal conditions the week of 21-25 September. After a rainy weekend the rest was picked 28-30 September. The Cabernet was brought in 2-9 October. Pomerol has made some exceptional wines, to be ranked with the 1990s and 1982s and probably better than the more recent 2000s. St-Emilion is more classic in style with lots of tannin and the impression of freshness emphasised by low pH levels. There is definite ageing potential here.

Best Producers

St-Emilion: Angélus, Ausone, Beau-Séjour Bécot, Berliquet, Canon-la-Gaffelière, Cheval Blanc, Figeac, Grand Mayne, La Mondotte, Pavie-Macquin, Le Tertre Roteboeuf, Valandraud