This year, the occasion doesn't merit as grand a fête—there's something about those round numbers—especially considering the economy. So what better way to celebrate than pulling up a few wines from the blessed year and grilling a few lamb chops?
Nancy is a Burgundy lover, so the white from Domaine des Comtes Lafon was in her honor. This was the best its 1998 Meursault Clos de la Barre has ever shown (now that I'm down to our last bottle). Razorlike minerality cut through the mature honeycomb, heather, grilled hazelnut and dried pear and fig notes. The wine had gone through a long awkward period, proving once again that Burgundy is best drunk either right away or after considerable bottle age. It was 93 points for me, non-blind—not bad for a village-level wine in a less-than-stellar vintage.
It's little surprise I pulled up a Châteauneuf-du-Pape—probably my favorite wine and an ideal partner with grilled lamb. The Domaine Bois de Boursan Cuvée des Félix is Jean-Paul Versino's limited-production, old-vine cuvée, and I love its old-school personality. The 1998 showed burly texture and lots of braised chestnut, beef, tobacco and macerated olive notes, all held in place by a dense core of black currant and cherry fruit. The wine is just hitting its stride and is in line with where I reviewed it when I did a retrospective of 1998 Châteauneufs a couple of years ago. A classic 95 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Get the blind-tasting retrospective review and current auction price for Domaine Bois de Boursan Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée des Félix 1998.