Château Saint-Nicolas, Fronsac 1998
Pulling the cork on the 1998 Château Saint-Nicolas is akin to opening the doorway to a manor house drawing room; adorned with leather, button-backed chairs, a smouldering log fire with fine mahogany furniture. Shelves laden with thick, leather-bound books and silverware which has been lovingly polished for decades. It is glorious composition of old fashioned, comforting aromas. There's so much to savour and unravel, you really need to take time to enjoy the experience.
On the palate there's a surprising swathe of sweet, mulberry fruit with a hint of red currant, it's quite remarkable, you have to keep reminding yourself that this is over twenty years old, lesser wines would have faded long ago. Then there's the evolution from delicate fruit to those wonderful notes of leather, polish, wood-smoke and sweet spice, the balance is impeccable with a hint of warmth. The length of the finish is magnificent, and that sweet, mulberry fruit character returns, with the most delicate of tannic grips.
You're compelled to re-taste again and again to understand the complexity, this is exactly why Bordeaux enthusiasts get so excited about cellaring their wines for future enjoyment, the best made wines really do age beautifully, and this is a stunning example.
I can't quite get my head around the price, under £20 for a fine claret which has been cellared for over two decades makes no sense to me, but I'm not going to argue.
Stand for 24-hours prior to service, decant only to remove the fine sediment and gently aerate, as little as 15 minutes will work wonders.
James Russell-Grant | FromVineyardsDirect
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