I grilled some chicken for dinner the other day at home in Tuscany, and I couldn't decide what to drink. So I popped down to my cellar and found a bottle of 1998 Poujeaux. Even though it rained on the Left Bank during the harvest that year, this cru bourgeois from the Médoc was surprisingly good. The wine showed spices, nutmeg and crushed raspberries on the nose that followed through to a medium to full body, with ripe and round tannins and a long, flavorful yet subtle aftertaste. I rated it 90 points, non-blind.
I only drank part of the bottle that night and tasted the wine the following day during lunch. It was still holding on beautifully and showed wonderful aromas of currants, berries and spices. The palate had dried out a little, but the gorgeous perfumes in the wine brought me back for more.
The estate was sold last year to the owners of St.-Emilion's excellent Clos Fourtet. So I think the quality of the Poujeaux wines will get even better. The vineyard is about 50 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 40 percent Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, with a touch of Petit Verdot. Poujeaux has a history for making excellent wines, despite its modest ranking. I still remember drinking the 1928 and 1929 vintages in the 1980s, and the wines were in perfect condition. More recent excellent vintages include 2000, 2001 and 2004, but my favorite remains the 1989.
Château Poujeaux Moulis 1998 (87, $21 on release)