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1998 Ch Haut-Brion

December 22, 2013

This wine came courtesy of John on the occasion of his promotion, 26 Nov 2013, over a seven-course degustation at The Rabbit Stash, a cosy but serious restaurant run by a husband-and-wife team at The Alexis, Singapore, certainly a dining venue that I can recommend wholeheartedly, especially as it is BYO on Tuesdays  with stemware by Riedel, no less. 1998 Haut-BrionWe began the evening with a Ruinart Blanc de Blancs NV, which was medium-full and fairly open on the palate with lively notes of fresh citrus, green apples, sweet pomelo, a dash of tropical fruits, walnuts, toast and traces of vanillin, drying out towards the finish as the wine gained further intensity over time.

Of the several different Haut-Brions I’ve had over the years, one seldom encounters the 1998 Ch Haut-Brion, which John pleasantly surprised me, having double decanted it for more than 3 hours earlier in the evening. Effusive notes of cordial and rose petals erupted from the glass, saturated with a perfumed fragrance that was impossible to dismiss. This medium-to-full bodied wine broadened over the palate with food and further aeration as notes of dark cherries and blackcurrants emerged towards the fore with a residual tinge of tangy citrus lurking in the background. As with all Haut-Brions, the balance is impeccable, the wine becoming highly focused and opulent (to be fair, a description seldom associated with Haut-Brion) as it gained depth over time with layers of early secondary development. Still far from its peak drinking period, and I’d suggest that anyone with an eye for value should seriously consider securing a half-case. Outstanding.

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