Château Dassault, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé MAGNUM
Château Dassault, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé MAGNUM

Château Dassault, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé MAGNUM

Bordeaux / Right-Bank, France 1998 (1500mL)
Regular price$150.00
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Château Dassault, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé MAGNUM

When I see 1998 Bordeaux, be it on a retail shelf or in a white-tablecloth restaurant, my eyes widen and I reach for my back pocket. For me, this combination of vintage and region has become one of wine’s most guaranteed, bullet-proof purchases. Says Wine Cellar Insider’s Jeff Leve, “1998 Saint-Émilion [is a] stunning example of what the Right Bank does best when the region produces ripe Merlot and Cabernet Franc!” If this interests you, then today’s château-direct Grand Cru magnums will render you speechless. The legendary vintage, however, is only part of the thrilling equation. 

When it comes to finding these decades-old gems, provenance and property are absolutely crucial. Château Dassault has both covered: This historic Grand Cru Classé estate—initially founded by the family behind Cheval Blanc—is among the top 1% of Right Bank Bordeaux, and today’s special parcel of ‘98 mags rested in their cellar for almost a quarter-century before we extracted them. So, I say let the culty châteaux of Saint-Émilion keep fetching hundreds and thousands of dollars while you sit back and enjoy these perfectly stored, incredibly priced, library-release magnums. 

NOTE: Due to the wine’s large format, it is ineligible for “Build a Case” purchases. 

Though acquired and renamed by the Dassault family in 1955, the origins of this estate couldn’t be more purebred: It was initially founded a hundred years prior by the Fourcauds, the same family who established the Right Bank touchstone Château Cheval Blanc. Immediately after the acquisition, Marcel Dassault went to work with renovations, from better drainage in the vineyards to aesthetics to equipment upgrades in the cellar. The increase in quality was as dramatic as it was quick, and it soon paid off: In 1969, they were awarded Saint-Émilion’s prestigious Grand Cru Classé ranking, one they’ve proudly held ever since. 

Today, Laurent, the grandson of Marcel, runs the operations, which have grown substantially over the years. Their holdings now dominate the historic appellation of Saint-Émilion and their perfectly preserved library releases are spectacles to behold. Following their recent partnership with the Rothschild family, I expect Dassault’s stock to continue rising. 

In classic fashion, Dassault’s vines are mostly planted to Merlot, followed by Cabernets Franc and Sauvignon. After hand-harvesting their crop in ‘98, separate varietal fermentations were carried out in stainless steel. The resulting wine was subsequently transferred into French barriques, approximately 80% new, for 18 months. Upon bottling in the year 2000, today’s small batch of magnums remained untouched for 21 years. 

I must again reiterate how much love I have for this vintage: 1998 from a blue-chip château like Dassault is in a prime drinking window! For the best experience, use an ah-so opener to extract the cork and pour gently into Bordeaux stems around 60-65 degrees. I recommend allowing the wine to briefly rest in your glass before savoring an evolving nose full of leather, espresso, spiced plum, cedar, and dusty black cherry, and an expansive palate that delivers deep, silky layers that glide into a seductively mineral finish. For those keen buyers who purchase more than one magnum—drink one or two now and uncork your others over the next five years. Cheers!

Château Dassault, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé MAGNUM




Enjoying the greatest wines of Beaujolais starts, as it usually does, with the lay of the land. In Beaujolais, 10 localities have been given their own AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin) designation. They are: Saint Amour; Juliénas; Chénas; Moulin-à Vent; Fleurie; Chiroubles; Morgon; Régnié; Côte de Brouilly; and Brouilly.

Southwestern France


Bordeaux surrounds two rivers, the Dordogne and Garonne, which intersect north of the city of Bordeaux to form the Gironde Estuary, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The region is at the 45th parallel (California’s Napa Valley is at the38th), with a mild, Atlantic-influenced climate enabling the maturation of late-ripening varieties.

Central France

Loire Valley

The Loire is France’s longest river (634 miles), originating in the southerly Cévennes Mountains, flowing north towards Paris, then curving westward and emptying into the Atlantic Ocean near Nantes. The Loire and its tributaries cover a huge swath of central France, with most of the wine appellations on an east-west stretch at47 degrees north (the same latitude as Burgundy).

Northeastern France


Alsace, in Northeastern France, is one of the most geologically diverse wine regions in the world, with vineyards running from the foothills of theVosges Mountains down to the Rhine River Valley below.

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