1988 Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape (Pre-Arrival)
Elegant and understated, with lovely fruit and structure. Has an excellent deep color, with focused black cherry and refined spice aromas, a full body of refined tannins and spice and berry flavors. Needs time to develop.--Châteauneuf-du-Pape retrospective. Best from 1993 through 1995.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1988 is firmly structured and elegant, with sweet, sweaty horse/old leather notes that may or may not be brett. Medium-bodied, earthy, firm, and vigorous, my instincts suggest it has reached full maturity, but I suspect it will always remain a firm, muscular example of Beaucastel without the charm, depth, and intensity of either the 1989 or 1990. In many ways it behaves along the lines of the 1995.
Much more like the 1990 than like the 1989. Redolent of meat and undergrowth and leather though there is also a hint of something floral, possibly lavender. Herbal and gamey and definite smoky bacon character.