Saturday, February 6, 2016

Chateau Fortia Chateauneuf du Pape, 1998

I have been following this wine closely over the past several years. I remember it as being exceptionally good when it was first released, but reports since then have been varied. I liked the wine even more in 2009, but a bottle opened at Thanksgiving, 2014 showed more secondary than primary fruit flavors. No problem, I thought; it is entering another stage of Chateauneuf du Pape development. Tonight's bottle was yet another experience.

Deep, dark crimson, and the initial aromas are beautiful. Good solid red fruit focus with at least some of the lushness it showed when it was first released. None of the leathery traits I detected in 2014. A bottle of 2013 Haut-Plantey from the Haut Medoc and a 2011 Columbia Valley Cabernet are beside it at the table, and this is clearly the superior wine--smoother and with a more developed flavor profile. Of course, it should show better than those wines at this stage of its development. On the second night, I was a bit disappointed; the bouquet was not as intense and the flavors not as focused. It might be better consumed sooner rather than later.

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