Chappellet 1999 Old Vine Cuvee Napa Valley White Wine ($12.99)
Clear gold, not dark but rich in color, with appetizing aromas of apples and pears - ripe and accurate representation of fruit - surrounded by whiffs of spice. Big and full in flavor, clean fruit and piercing acidity given body by substantial (14.5 percent) alcohol. An idiosyncratic expression of Chenin Blanc, it may be the most impressive American example of this often lightweight variety; it's an equally far cry from the elegant French (Loire) style for this grape, but it shares with the Loire a noteworthy structure that holds promise of development over time. If you have an experimental nature, you might enjoy putting a couple of bottles of this one away for several years to see where it goes. US Importer: (Oct 21, 2002)

FOOD MATCH: Pizza! Not a traditional pizza, though, but a "gourmet" pie made with an assortment of earthy and robust flavors to stand up to this hearty white: Roasted garlic, green olives, mushrooms, onions and ... anchovies!



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