1998 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac

SKU #995052 93 points Wine & Spirits

 (no tasting note given)  (4/2002)

Jancis Robinson

 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, no Petit Verdot. First wine showing some age at the rim, just a little pinky brick around the garnet. Intensely cedary nose. Leafy verging on green and a note of spring blossom, herbal. Dry, tight and somewhere between taut and elegant. Chalky tannins, fresh and moreish, lacks the richness of earlier vintages tasted but quite refined. Cassis leaf on the palate, classic cigar box. (JH)  (12/2009)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Quite a deep garnet core with crimson rim (wider than the 2000.) The nose is pleasant if lacking a little vigour: blackberry, sous-bois, a touch of cigar box and cedar, although it seems a little hollow in the middle, as if a major aroma has gone missing. The palate is medium-bodied, nicely balanced, quite elegant although lacking real fruit concentration and depth. Quite sharp, almost citrus acidity with strong tobacco flavours coming through on the mid-palate, leading to a slightly austere finish. It has a classic, traditional charm, although it is a medium-term Pichon rather than long, plus it lacks a little chutzpah. Drink now-2018. Tasted December 2008. (NM)  (9/2009)

Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Moderately saturated medium red. Slightly shallow aromas of currant, chocolate, leather and smoky oak. Then fruity, suave and gentle, with subtly sweet flavors of cassis, licorice and lead pencil. Finishes with sneaky length and rather silky tannins for the vintage.  (6/2001)

K&L Notes

This is a more elegant-styled wine, a bit atypical for the '98 vintage. This wine has more red fruit aromas of raspberry and red licorice. Very ripe and rather soft, round tannins. Quite approachable for the vintage. Lacking a bit of concentration, but very well-balanced. Should be very good in near future. Pichon-Lalande was especially proud of the quality of the Merlot fruit in 1998. That Merlot makes up 30% of the blend, along with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 15% Cabernet Franc.

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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them.


Specific Appellation:


- Pauillac is probably the most famous village in Bordeaux. Located between St. Julien and St. Estephe, it has more of the top ranked chateau than the other four appellations of the Haut Medoc. This area has three of the five premier cru classe wineries: Lafite Rothschild, Latour, and Mouton Rothschild. There are two of the top second-growths (Pichon Lalande and Pichon Baron) as well as several outstanding fourth and fifth-growth chateaux including Lynch Bages. Because of the gravely soils and great drainage, Pauillac has the ideal conditions to grow great Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines from this village are some of the longest-lived in Bordeaux.