I was almost ready to declare this wine dead three or four years ago. It was hard and disjointed, seemed like it had lost its fruit. "Drink up" said some tasters on the internet, but why drink up a wine that is giving you little or no pleasure? I've been down this road before, and I know that what seems like "drying up" or "loss of fruit" is actually an awkward stage the wine is going through. I can't explain it, but I know it happens.
Tonight, I'm glad I had the patience to wait. This 1998 is beautiful, and I still have four or five bottles waiting to be opened and enjoyed. Deep crimson with some tawny tones. Blueberries and violets--Mourvedre, Grenache and Syrah in full bloom. Also garrigue and black pepper, but these traits are understated at this stage and come out more prominently on the second night.
I remain convinced that Gigondas is a wine to drink early. My favorite Font-Sane was the 1997 (not a great vintage) consumed a year or two after release. Once the wine goes into its awkward stage, it's hard to know when it's going to come out of its shell. For this wine, the time is right now.