This past weekend I was fortunate to stumble across the 1998 Mas de Daumas red in a restaurant in Paris. Despite the City of Lights being a foodie’s paradise in terms of restaurants, the wines on many lists tend to be over-priced and incredibly young. So I was delighted to see this wine at a decent price.
For those less in the know, the 1998 is a vintage they consider the best they have ever produced, so I felt that I snagged a bit of a trophy. Straight from the bottle and into the decanter, the colour was deep and its nose rich and ample. Profound notes of sweet leather, spice and dried cherries continuously expanded on the palate whilst the pencil lead perfume lifted from its core reminding the enthusiastic drinker of its prominent percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon (50%). Its tannins were ultra velvety, yet its palate sculpted – the best of both worlds. If I had not known what it was, I might think it was part of the Léoville Barton stable with the fleshiness of Langoa and the stateliness of Léoville. It was just delicious. Why is it so good? (besides it being produced from the “˜Lafite of the Languedoc’!)… It appears that the 1998 produced the lowest average yields since 1978 – their first vintage. This intensity provided what they describe as “˜la maturité absolue’ (absolute maturity). And all the while, keeping a balance in alcohol between 13-13.5%.
Samuel Guibert feels that the 2008 is very similar to the 1998 (they are blessed with vintages ending in “˜8′ – fortunately for the Chinese!). Luckily, we have a few magnums (£135 IB per 3) and jeroboams (£109 each IB) left of the delicious 2008 which is a miracle in itself. Get it while you can as the 1998 is at least double the price and much trickier to find.