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This extraordinarily dense wine, produced by the Chateau du Vosne Romanée, is distributed exclusively by Bouchard Pere & Fils, and has astonishing concentration and abundant black fruit notes accompanying the amazing nose. It is a pleasure to see the potential of this piece of property realized. Clive Coates raves about this wine: "Domaine du Chateau de Vosne Romanée. Huge colour. Marvellous, super-concentrated essence of wine on the nose. This is absolutely brilliant.
1998 VINTAGE in Burgundy
The 1998 vintage was born under good auspices and has real potential. In spite of the occasional capricious weather conditions, the harvest has given us wines full of promise ? some fruity and seductive, others meaty and more structured.
After brief cold spells in January and February, the vines enjoyed temperatures above the seasonal average in March. This mild weather was interrupted by cold and rainy conditions in early spring. More clement weather returned in May and got growth off to a good start though, later, a slight drop in temperature slowed down the end of the flowering period. Odium broke out but did only local damage and overall the health of the vines remained satisfactory. The summer was on the whole hot and dry. Some limited hail damage occurred. Whilst scorching temperatures in August led to rapid colouring-up (vérasion) and a promising start to maturation. Rain in September was fortunately concentrated at the beginning and end of the month. By and large, harvesting took place in excellent conditions under sunny skies.
As always, the quest for optimum maturity was the key factor in deciding when harvesting should begin. The composition of the grapes was good nut the presence of botrytis gave rise in many cases to a need for sorting ? more or less rigorously according to situation. On the whole, average sugar content and acidity levels were both satisfactory. The ?ban de vendanges? was lifted the 10th of September confirming a somewhat precocious year.
At Domaine Latour, we began the harvest on Monday 21st and Tuesday 22nd and selected only those vineyards with more than 12° of natural sugar content. The grapes maturity appeared to depend on the age of the vines, the older vines with stronger roots were the most resistant to the drought and therefore in the best condition.
During the period of good weather, the grape juice was re-concentrated. Over 80 percent of our crop was brought in between Monday 21st and Saturday 26th in perfect harvesting conditions. Such was the urgency to harvest before the rains returned, that all available personnel at Maison Latour were mobilised in addition to the harvesters, for the first time in twenty years.
We were able to finish harvesting on Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd October, just before the weather pattern changed again. The careful selection of fruit in the vineyards and on selection tables at our winery ensured that only the very best fruit in the best possible condition went into the vat.
The red grapes that were harvested before the rains came, have good concentration and especially good colour. They have a firm tannic structure that will enable the wines to age gracefully, and the acidity is balanced, but not as high as in 1996. All of the fermentation?s this year were rapid which has helped to soften the wines, and retain that brilliant Pinot Noir colour.
The white 1998s from Domaine Latour are great. Our Corton Charlemagne was picked before the rains came, under fantastic conditions, with sugar levels of between 12.5° and 12.8°. It will surely be a great wine that will benefit from some cellaring. A small crop was harvested from Chevaliers Montrachet Les Demoiselles due to damage caused by the late April frosts, these grapes were of great quality and in a perfect state of physiological maturity.
To sum up the 1998 vintage; the white wines are expressive and pleasing, notable for their elegance and agreeable acidity. For the reds the colour is good and they have a balanced structure and well developed fruit underpinned by harmonious tannins, which bode well for their future.