After many years of troubles in Northern Ireland both sides agree to the Good Friday peace agreement. The US President Bill Clinton denies he had "sexual relations" with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, but later admits it. The Soviet Union Banking system suffers a meltdown when the Rouble lost 70% of its value against US dollar in 6 months with several of the largest Russians banks collapsing. U.N.I.C.E.F. reports there are approximately 250 million child laborers worldwide .

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Vintage Report

Burgundy Vintage Report by DRC: Throughout most of the year, when everywhere in the world climates were shaken by exceptional weather disturbances, Burgundy had its share of misfortune with some spring frost and hail sometimes striking the same places successively. The Côte de Nuits and our Domaine in particular were fortunately spared by these catastrophic conditions, but during the whole period we alternately went through cold and warm weather spells.



After a mild winter, the « débourrement » (budburst) began precociously in early April, but a cold spell arrived around April 15th causing severe spring frosts in some places. There was no damage at the Domaine, but these low temperatures nevertheless provoked some « coulure » which would later take the form of « millerandage » and reduce the production accordingly.

The month of May was fine and warm. The growth was so rapid that the vineyard work, especially the « ebourgeonnage » (debudding) had to be done very quickly.

The first flowers appeared at the beginning of June. But a cold period set in and the flowering was finally spread over several weeks. We could still observe some « coulure », therefore « millerandage » and we already knew that we would have to content ourselves with small quantities.

The heat returned at the end of June and the vegetation began to grow very fast. There again, the work, especially the « accolage » (tying-down) had to be done so quickly that our teams had difficulties in keeping up. As far as I can remember, we have never experienced such stressful and labour intensive conditions.

In August however, there occurred one of the factors that would characterize the 1998 vintage : an exceptional heat wave (temperatures rose up to 43°C) which was both beneficial in quickening the grape ripening and bad in that it created a significant « stress » among some vines, especially the younger ones, and provoked everywhere « grillure » on the parts of the grapes facing the sun. It is the first time we saw this phenomenon develop to such an extent. Those grapes would of course be eliminated at the harvest.

At the end of August, the heat lessened slightly and we hoped for a little rain. This fortunately occurred and the ripening accelerated. This rain continued  however and on September 15th we were really concerned, as rot began to appear and ripening stopped.


Then, at the very last moment, thanks to one of those miracles to which the Burgundian climate is so familiar, the fine weather returned, more than fine weather, where conditions were quite ideal : north wind, clear weather, not too hot, everything that was necessary to stop the rot and help the ripening.

We began the harvest on September 19th, under the sun, with the young vines already very ripe : 

-    Sept. 19 & 20 : young vines
-    Sept. 20, 21 & 22 : Romanée-St-Vivant, Richebourg
-    Sept. 22, 23 & 25 : La Tâche
-    Sept. 24 : Romanée-Conti 
-    Sept. 25 : Montrachet; Grands-Echezeaux
-    Sept. 26 & 27 : Echezeaux

The whole harvest took place under a beautiful weather. It was only raining on the penultimate day. Harvest was completed on, Sunday 27th, on a sunny cool day.

Never have our teams of harvesters worked better : « haute couture » once again, in the vineyards first of all where the selection is most important , and on the sorting table also which « refines » the vineyard work and eliminates the grapes that bear « grillure », those which are not quite ripe, and the rot that is finally much more important than it appeared first.

The degrees are satisfactory, between 12°1 and 12°7, and acidities are much better than expected.

Yields vary according to the wines between 20 hl/ha and 27hl/ha.  

In summary, we have gone through both a difficult year and harvest, but the Domaine was able to seize the « few » opportunities offered by outstanding weather conditions and, even if it is too early to give a definitive description of the vintage, we are rather optimistic. The devatting has just begun : the colours are beautiful, fragrances enchanting, and there seems to be a lot of « fruit ».

With 1998, the production of great wines would depend on the yield controls, the choice of the precise date for picking and finally the quality of selection.


VINTAGE 1998 by Domaine Trapet:

The wines have only just been put into barrels and already wine-lovers are wondering: Les Chambertin, les Chapelle and les Latricières, will they be refined and elegant?
Will they have the fruit and balance of the 1995s? Will their power and weight equal the   egendary 1996s?

Here are our first impressions based on the wine still in fermentation vats, our first impressions of this vintage that, without dispute, already captivates and astonishes us.
A year fraught with extremes!
This vintage doesn’t resemble any other vintage in the least: 1998 can be characterized by perpetually alternating cold and hot spells. As the beginning of the 1997 winter was especially mild, trimming advanced rapidly. After such headway was achieved, a long period of cold weather followed, continuing until the end of January. So the pruning shears had to be set aside until the mild weather returned. In the spring, the vine awakened slowly from a long winter

Our decision, after making sure to raise the height of our trimmer, was to delicately remove the leaves by hand in areas where the grape bunches faced north.
This long and tedious chore, performed throughout the entire domain, was crowned with success. The threat of Oidium subsided as veraison approached. The onset of veraison was observed August 10th, under a scorching sun: we had to gather the grapes of the youngest vines early, the temperature was 41°C in the shade! Who said that the vine grows in the winemaker’s shadow ?
After the good weather, rain! These unstable weather conditions could have damaged the quality of the grapes, however, rid of excess leaf cover and preserved by the cold, these small grapes were resistant.Sunday September 20th, the night before harvest: the team was there in full force.
The winemakers of Gevrey who had been harvesting since Friday, shared with us their surprise: the grapes were good, healthy and ripe!
After uncertainty came hope, hope for an exquisite yield,reflecting the terroir that nurtured it.
The forecast announced that weather conditions were improving, so we decided to start Monday with our Burgundy appellation.
In order to take full advantage of the final benefits of the dry north wind, we waited before picking our thickskinned cru grapes.
Harvest of the Chambertin appellation didn’t take place until the end of the week: Friday September 25th, in dry sunny weather.
After two very selective sortings, the grapes were carefully transferred to fermentation vats.
Fermentation began slowly then became more turbulent, releasing aromas into the vat hall.

Successive tastings of these «new-born» wines are reminiscent of the 1995 vintage, round, well structured, with pronounced ripe fruit. But we must be patient, in the silence of the cellar the wines evolve slowly.



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Vintage Report

Bordeaux Vintage Report by Château Palmer + Italy by Angelo Gaja: Summer was exceptionally fine, with hot and very dry weather in August. The vines were not overladen with fruit, which meant that by mid-September they had reached optimum levels of ripeness in terms of sugar and phenolic compounds. Althought there was some reduction in sugar levels during the period of persistent rain that followed, the rain had little effect on the polyphenols or the overall quality of the grapes.

Speedy extraction made vinification much easier. The wines obtained from each of the three grape varieties show a balance fruit with excellent tannic structure, while still maintaining the elegant Palmer style.
Harvest dates: from 09/24/1998 to 10/09/1998


Vintage Report by Angelo Gaja: 1998 is one of my favorite vintages. It is a vintage of balance, beautiful balance. But after 1996 and 1997, 1998 was forgotten. But it is one of the most drinkable wines in the last thirty years. Excellent balance. Perfect to match with food. Because Piedmont produces food wines.

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Vintage Report

Australia 1998 Vintage Report

New plantings and excellent conditions during harvest have helped to establish a record vintage in 1998 of 954,500 tonnes. The 1998 grape intake was more than 150,000 tonnes above the low yielding 1997 vintage (798,000 tonnes) and 72,000 tonnes, or 8%, greater than the previous record set in 1996.

Of the total intake 646,000 tonnes were premium winegrapes, easily surpassing the 500,000 in 1996/97. This premium component represents around 68% of the total crush, compared with 35% in 1990. While yields were up an estimated 5%, the surge in premium grape production has resulted from a major vineyard planting program of 25,500 ha in the five years from 1992 to 1996, an increase of 50% in the total area planted of winegrapes since 1992. This represents a vineyard investment program approaching $1 billion and is further evidence of the industry's shift to the production of quality wine.


Premium red grape intake was up by 42% to 299,000 tonnes and premium red plantings have outpaced premium white this decade as the industry strives to meet increasing domestic and export demand.

Shiraz has increased by 50,000 tonnes to 147,300 tonnes and is second in production only to Chardonnay, whilst Cabernet Sauvignon intake was up 46% to 97,800 tonnes. Merlot increased by 48% to 12,700 tonnes and all other premium red varietals saw double digit growth.

Premium white grape intake increased by 20% to 346,900 tonnes, of which Chardonnay production was 173,000 tonnes—up 30%. Semillon intake increased by over 6,000 tonnes to 57,500 tonnes, while Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Verdelho also increased substantially—up 41%, 21% and 19% respectively.

Non premium varietals showed an increase of 10,000 tonnes against 1997, with Sultana up 18% to 136,100 tonnes, reinforcing its continued versatile role as a neutral white variety in cask, low priced bottled and sparkling wines.

The 1998 record vintage coincides with unprecedented export growth by volume (189.1 million litres, up 21%) and value ($790.8 million, up 33%) for the 12-month period ended May 1998.

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Napa Valley and Australia Vintage Reports: An abnormally wet El Niño spring and late summer caused a poor set for the 1998 vintage crop. During the growing season, clusters also were subjected to uneven ripening and threatened with sunburn, sending growers into the vineyard, performing more hand manipulation of the vines and reducing crops. With a later than usual harvest, growers faced the possibility of rains, but nature cooperated with a warm and sunny early autumn. Picking started in late September, went into full swing in October and reached completion in early November. The clusters, while small and low in weight, produced elegant fruit with definite personality and complexity. The juice to skin ratio was very low, which translates into extracted wines with concentrated fruit flavors.


The year 1998 in Australia had a good Winter rain with plenty of warm weather around the time of berry setting. A cool start to Summer followed by some warm – hot days produced wines with lots of fruit and plenty of tannin structure.  The ripening was mild with no rain.  Crop levels were also up and in some cases, this had an impact on the weight of the wine, and possible the balance.

Despite good rains in late Spring, 1998 was a drier than normal year for the Barossa and Eden Valley. A disease free, warm to hot summer led to an early vintage and quick ripening conditions. Baumes were high leading to strong colours and flavour intensity in reds and excellent quality whites with rich bold flavours. Eden Valley Chardonnays were excellent and Rieslings showed a steely, classic style.

Barossa Highlights

The rapid ripening pattern of many varieties highlighted the shortage of processing space in wineries - particularly fermentation and storage - which caused some delays. Vinimatics were  used extensively during this compressed vintage.

A group of 15 Barossa winemakers undertook the second major overseas promotion, to London and Ireland, in May. Events include the London Wine Trade Fair, Australian Wine Tastings and a special tasting for trade and the general public in Dublin.

The Barossa participated in Wine Australia in Melbourne, with 20 wineries and the Barossa Wine and Tourism Association, providing tastings and masterclasses.

The Barossa Winemakers funded a week long visit by two key European wine writers: Kirk Bauer from Germany and Mischa Billing from Sweden.


The Barossa Wine Show celebrated its 21st year. Key changes in the last ten years included the move from a presentation lunch to a black tie dinner (first held in 1995); the introduction of a judges dinner to recognise the achievements of industry leaders such as John Vickery, Peter Lehmann, Brian Barry, Brian Dolan, Peter Wall and Colin Gramp; and a fund raising auction for the youth of the Barossa.

Willow Bend Wines (established by Wayne Dutschke and Ken Semmler in 1990) changed its name to Dutschke Wines to better reflect Wayne's high profile as a Barossa winemaking identity in the US market.

A Technical Subcommittee of the Barossa Winemakers' Committee was formed to research oenological and viticultural issues and assist with information dissemination.

Yattarna, Australia’s most publicised and awaited premium white wine, was released after six years of development and 144 different trials.

Orlando released its first 100% Barossa Shiraz for more than ten years, Centenary Hill, which immediately dominated the show circuit.

Biscay Wines, owned and managed by John Hongell, former General Manager of Saltram Wines, was launched. The grapes sourced from the Hongell vineyard, which includes 1943 Grenache vines, make just 1000 cases of two wines vinified by John's son, Trevor.

Tim O'Callaghan cut his winemaking and grapegrowing teeth at his father Robert's winery and also worked in the Hunter Valley before starting his own small-production, hand-made wine company in 1998. Why Digger's Bluff?
"The name came about because I happen to own the world’s greatest dog," Tim says. "He was born on Anzac Day, so I named him Digger. Together we live on a windy bluff over-looking Seppeltsfield vineyards."

Grapegrowers Noel and Cheryl Heidenreich's 'old school' range of wines commemorates the now defunct Vine Vale school in which Noel and his brothers were educated. When it closed down, Noel became the custodian of the school bell, which still holds pride of place at Heidenreich Estate and accompanies them to tastings and wine shows around the country.

The legendary 1853 Old Garden Mourvèdre vineyard in Rowland Flat is the source of Hewitson's wine of the same name. The man behind the brand is Dean Hewitson, who travelled, worked and studied in a range of places as diverse as Oregon, Bordeaux and Beaujolais before establishing Hewitson Wines in 1998.

At one point the man who looked after the largest vineyard in the world (Southcorp),  Coonawarra boy David Murdock and his wife Kathryn established their own brand Murdock Wines in 1998.

"We need to put the Barossa back on the world stage, to reinvent its identity and to change how this region is perceived globally," suggests Rusden Wines owner Dennis Canute. "Rusden is our vehicle to go about doing that." This family-run business prides itself on individuality and strong family involvement. Son Christian is the winemaker while wife and mother Chris has been the hands-on vineyard manager for more than thirty years.

Mick Schild left school at fifteen to immerse himself in the family grape growing business, and to get 'his education on the land' in the same way his father did before him. Not yet forty years of age, he now controls over 400 acres of vineyard and is one of the Barossa's largest landowners.

With both parents and four sons (including experienced viticulturist Ben Sieber) actively involved in the Sieber Wines Estate, the Siebers are deeply invested in the future of the Barossa. The business started trading in 1998.

Thorn-Clarke Wines is one of the modern success stories of the Barossa, growing to an 80 000 case production within just seven years of its first vintage. Focussed on exploring the influence of site on wine style and quality, Thorn-Clarke sources grapes from four distinct districts within the Barossa. This is a family-run operation owned by fifth generation Barossans David and Cheryl Clarke, with son Sam managing the business and daughter Nicole actively involved.

"There's an ancient, German made, red gum bridge on our property that survives despite the best efforts of time," says Jo Hage. "We always told the kids that a troll lived under it!" Jo and husband James operate Troll Creek Wines, producing small quantities of hand-crafted wines exclusively from their fifth generation family estate.

Janelle and Kristen Zerk are the dynamic duo behind Z Wines. Despite a grape-growing history in the Barossa that dates back to 1846, Janelle was the first Zerk family member to pursue a winemaking vocation. Sister Kristen studied wine marketing and together they started Z Wines in 1998, sourcing grapes from their father's Lyndoch-based estate.

Château Tanunda is one of the Barossa's most specacular historic icons, but it lay in a state of disrepair until South African born businessman John Geber was inspired to buy and restore it in 1998. $5 million dollars later (and counting), the Château has regained its former glory and is once again a landmark destination in the Barossa. Its grand event and function areas can cater for more than 600 people and its sprawling grounds have been dubbed 'The C.C.G.' - Château Cricket Ground. The cellar door is home to the Small Winemakers Centre where the wines of more than twenty small producers are offered for tasting.

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Port Vintage Report by Taylor: The 1998 growing season started extremely wet. The water table was replenished but this in turn caused extensive erosion problems, particularly in old terraced vineyards. A wet winter was followed by a cold spring falling to just above freezing mid April. With May came a burst of warmth records showing a 40cm shoot growth over the weekend of 8-11 May. A dry, hot summer, with temperatures exceeding 40 º C during the first two weeks of August, was followed by daily showers during the harvest which began on 20n September.

The almost perfect growing season caused great excitement in the Douro until picking began. The rain during the harvest caused dilution o f the fermenting musts and a corresponding reduction in the power of the final wines. Hopes were dampened and the overall yield turned out to be the lowest of the decade.



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The best wines of the 1998 vintage

Name Tb Producer Location
1 Brut Millésime 98.0 Deutz Champagne, France
2 Pétrus 97.5 Château Pétrus Pomerol, France
3 Marcobrunn Riesling Auslese Goldkapsel 97.0 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
4 Ermitage le Pavillon 96.8 M. Chapoutier Rhône, France
5 Hommage à Jacques Perrin 96.7 Château de Beaucastel Rhône, France
6 Richebourg 96.6 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
7 Cheval Blanc 96.5 Château Cheval Blanc Bordeaux, France
8 Reserve des Célestin CNP 96.5 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf du Pape, France
9 Richebourg 96.5 Anne Gros Burgundy, France
10 Ermitage Cuvée Cathelin 96.2 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Rhône, France
11 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Reine des Bois 96.0 Domaine de la Mordoree Rhône, France
12 Screaming Eagle 96.0 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley, United States
13 Dom Pérignon P3 96.0 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
14 Redigaffi 96.0 Tua Rita Italy, Italy
15 Chapoutier Ermitage Le Méal Blanc 96.0 M. Chapoutier Rhône, France
16 Tertre Roteboeuf 96.0 Château Tertre Roteboeuf Bordeaux, France
17 Musigny 96.0 Domaine Leroy Burgundy, France
18 Le Pin 95.9 Le Pin Bordeaux, France
19 Trotanoy 95.8 Château Trotanoy Pomerol, France
20 Bâtard-Montrachet 95.8 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
21 Basket Press Shiraz 95.8 Rockford South Australia, Australia
22 Pinot Noir Blue Slide Ridge 95.5 Marcassin Sonoma, United States
23 The Marauder 95.5 Sine Qua Non California, United States
24 Puligny-Montrachet Pucelles 95.5 Domaine Leflaive Burgundy, France
25 Number 9 95.5 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
26 Chambertin 95.5 Domaine Armand Rousseau Burgundy, France
27 Château de Figeac 95.5 Château de Figeac Saint-Emilion, France
28 Giaconda Chardonnay 95.5 Giaconda Vineyard ., Australia
29 La Turque 95.5 E.Guigal Rhône, France
30 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Le Secret des Sabon 95.5 Roger Sabon Rhône, France
31 Château L´Evangile 95.5 Château L´Evangile Pomerol, France
32 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée da Capo 95.3 Domaine du Pegau Rhône, France
33 Sir Winston Churchill 95.2 Pol Roger Champagne, France
34 Barolo Gran Bussia Riserva 95.2 Poderi Aldo Conterno Piedmont, Italy
35 Château Ausone 95.2 Château Ausone Bordeaux, France
36 Krug Clos d'Ambonnay 95.2 Krug Champagne, France
37 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes 95.0 Château de Beaucastel Rhône, France
38 Ermitage L´Ermite 95.0 M. Chapoutier Rhône, France
39 Opitz One TBA 95.0 Willi Opitz Neusiedlersee, Austria
40 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Barbe Rac 95.0 M. Chapoutier Rhône, France
41 Clos Saint Hilaire 95.0 Château Clos Saint Hilaire Bordeaux, France
42 E-raised 95.0 Sine Qua Non California, United States
43 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 95.0 Quilceda Creek Washington, United States
44 Benchmark 95.0 Grant Burge Wines South-Australia, Australia
45 d'Yquem 95.0 Château d'Yquem Bordeaux, France
46 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvée des Félix 95.0 Domaine Bois de Boursan Rhone Valley, France
47 Clos Jebsel "Selection de Grans Nobles" 95.0 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Alsace, France
48 Richebourg 95.0 Domaine Jean Grivot Burgundy, France
49 Steinberger 95.0 Kloster Eberbach Rheingau, Germany
50 Barolo Rocche dell'Annunziata Riserva 95.0 Paolo Scavino Piedmont, Italy
51 Number 10 95.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
52 Montrachet 95.0 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Burgundy, France
53 Château Beychevelle 95.0 Château Beychevelle Bordeaux, France
54 RunRig 95.0 Torbreck Barossa Valley, Australia
55 Hermitage Les Bessards 95.0 Delas Frères Rhône, France
56 Grange Hermitage 94.7 Penfolds South Australia, Australia
57 L'Eglise-Clinet 94.7 Château L'Eglise-Clinet Bordeaux, France
58 Rare 94.6 Piper-Heidsieck Champagne, France
59 Meshach 94.5 Grant Burge Wines South-Australia, Australia
60 The Malleea 94.5 Majella Wines South Australia, Australia
61 Shiraz Hanisch Vineyard 94.5 Veritas Vineyards & Winery Barossa Valley, Australia
62 Nacional Vintage Port 94.5 Quinta do Noval Douro, Portugal
63 Hermitage 94.5 Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Rhône, France
64 Blanc de Blancs 94.5 Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne, France
65 Artadi Pagos Viejos 94.5 Artadi Laguardia, Spain
66 L'Ermita 94.5 Álvaro Palacios Catalonia, Spain
67 Château La Fleur-Pétrus 94.5 Château Lafleur-Pétrus Bordeaux, France
68 Harlan Estate 94.4 Harlan Estate Napa Valley, United States
69 Dom Pérignon P2 94.4 Moët & Chandon Champagne, France
70 Clos du Mesnil Vinothèque 94.3 Krug Champagne, France
71 Musigny 94.3 Jacques-Frédéric Mugnier Burgundy, France
72 Blanc de Blancs 94.3 Deutz Champagne, France
73 Noble Cuvée 94.1 Lanson Champagne, France
74 Number 8 94.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
75 Selection Grains Noble Le Trie 94.0 Domaine Albert Mann Alsace, France
76 Chambolle-Musigny Les Gruenchers 94.0 Domaine Dujac Burgundy, France
77 Turley Old Vines Zinfandel 94.0 Turley Wine Cellars Napa Valley, United States
78 Number 5 94.0 Kracher Neusiedlersee, Austria
79 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 94.0 Château Montelena Napa Valley, United States
80 Quorum Barbera d'Asti 94.0 Quorum Piedmont, Italy
81 La Mondotte 94.0 La Mondotte Bordeaux, France
82 Montrachet 94.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
83 Château Laville Haut-Brion 94.0 Château Laville Haut-Brion Pessac Leognan, France
84 Romanée Conti 94.0 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Burgundy, France
85 La Mission Haut Brion 94.0 Château La Mission Haut-Brion Bordeaux, France
86 La Romanée 94.0 Bouchard Père & Fils Burgundy, France
87 Cuvée Alexandra Rosé Grand Siecle 94.0 Laurent-Perrier Champagne, France
88 Grosset Gaia 94.0 Grosset Wines South Australia, Australia
89 Richebourg 94.0 Domaine Hudelot-Noëllat Burgundy, France
90 Scrio 94.0 Le Macchiole Bolgheri, Italy
91 Millésime 94.0 Mailly Grand Cru Champagne, France
92 Vintage Rosé 94.0 Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Champagne, France
93 Selection Grains Nobles Clos St. Thoebold 94.0 Domaine Shoffit Alsace, France
94 Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon 94.0 Shafer Vineyards Napa Valley, United States
95 Latour-à-Pomerol 94.0 Château Latour-à-Pomerol Bordeaux, France
96 Chateauneuf du Pape 94.0 Henri Bonneau Châteauneuf du Pape, France
97 Côte-Rôtie La Landonne 94.0 E.Guigal Rhône, France
98 Amarone della Valpociella 94.0 Quintarelli Giuseppe Amarone della Valpolicella, Italy
99 Pyrenees Shiraz 94.0 Dalwhinnie Vineyard Moonambel, Australia
100 Musigny 94.0 Domaine Comte Georges de Vogüé Burgundy, France


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