La Vieille Ferme 1999 Cotes du Luberon Blanc ($7.59)
At least two years behind the current release but still widely available in the marketplace, this blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Ugni Blanc grapes offers an excellent demonstration of the way that white Rhone varieties gain richness and complexity at levels of oxidation that would kill less robust whites. A pretty bright gold color reveals some oxidation, but the aroma is pleasant and appealing, white fruit and light nutlike aromas of almonds and hazelnuts, not at all like the dank, walnutty Sherry-like quality of a wine spoiled by air exposure. It's very full and rich in flavor, almost unctious fruit and nut-butter, laced up with firm, citrus-juice acidity. White fruit and hazelnut notes persist in a clean, long finish. US Importer: Vineyard Brands Inc., Birmingham, Ala. (Aug 14, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: Made for seafood, it might overwhelm more delicate dishes but was a hit with a flavorful dinner of pan-seared scallops with a ginger-lime reduction served on a bed of mixed greens.

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