1998 Louis Bernard Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Nice purple color, not as deep in color as I expected, but quite nice. There is a hint of the age when held over a white background. This is better than I expected.

I opened it while it was fresh from the 55° F cellar. I think that I should have let it come to room temperature before opening it, as the aroma was not as pleasant as I had hoped for. It was in the arena of dirty socks. So I let it sit in the glass for about thirty minutes then came back to it. There was still a touch of mustiness, but under that, there was a touch of chocolate, a touch of red cherry, a lot of alcohol, a touch of tobacco, and a little blueberry.

I was disappointed with the flavors. There is no fruit left; it is all wood, alcohol, a lot of tannins. Perhaps I need to decant the thing and let it sit for a while longer. I’ll do that and resume tasting after a bit…

One interesting note on the decanting of this wine – there was no residue in the bottle. Not even a little bit.

Okay, so after being open an hour, I was ready to dump this down the drain, but I think that I read in a Perl manual something about laziness being a virtue. How true!

About an hour later, I decided to make beef tacos. I had the decanter sitting on the kitchen counter top, and as the ground beef was getting close to being ready, I decided that I needed to move the decanter out of the way. I caught a whiff, and said “Wait a minute, what was that?”

There was a lovely aroma cutting through the smell of the cooked meat, and I must say the combination was quite pleasing.

The funky, musty, okay, I’ll say it, the cat-piss aroma was long gone. In its stead is a nice floral, dark cherry, tobacco, chocolate, a touch of blueberry, and an ever so slight presence of pepper. Quite nice I would say.

In the mouth, it has smoothed out to be quite elegant and smooth. The tannin is still there, but it is well balanced. The flavors are chocolate, tobacco, or perhaps it is better described as “cigar box” a touch of smoke, and a bit of earth and minerals.

The finish is nice, with a lot of tobacco right at the end.

This wine is ready to drink now, and as I think back to about mid-2001, when I bought it, I remember these flavors in a much too young wine, but even then worthy of purchase, and I think that storing it until now has really paid off.

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