With the terrible bottle of Domaine du Haut des Terres Blanches opened last Friday fresh in my mind, I opened another bottle, as I promised. Yes, the bottle I opened last Friday was a bad bottle, for whatever reason. This bottle is better, although not what I expect from this Chateauneuf du Pape at 15 years of age.
Light color with brownish, brick tones but not the complete muddy brown of last week. The aromas are slow to open and are somewhat muted when they do. The bitter taste fades away as the wine warms and airs. There is nothing particularly intense about the smells or flavors, but there is a subtlety that becomes more and more apparent. The vines here are very old and well situated. Eventually, it becomes a suitable accompaniment to baked ziti. I'm not sure I would bring this wine out for any special occasion. And for every day meals, I would prefer a good Cotes du Rhone. But who knows? The wine tastes old (even compared to other 1998s), but it may not have stopped growing. I love the 1993 and 1994 Haut des Terres Blanches--both older and much less reputable vintages. I don't think this 1998 measures up.