M. Chapoutier Australia 1999 Mount Benson Shiraz ($14.00)
This very dark ruby-color wine reveals reddish-vermilion glints against the light. Its aromas are on the "earthy" side, focused on an odd but appealing "raw meat" character - more typical of Northern Rhone Syrah than Australian Shiraz - and smoky "gunpowder" notes over earthy black fruit. Full and ripe flavors follow the nose - plums, black cherries, beef and smoke - juicy fruit and firm structural acidity. Very "French" in style, adding a distinct Gallic accent to a big and appetizing Australian red. US Importer: Paterno Imports, Lake Bluff, Ill. (Dec 16, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: It would be a natural with grilled rare beef, but its ripe fruit and smoky complexity married it nicely with a less conventional match, spaghetti alla carbonara made with American bacon.

WEB LINK: http://www.chapoutier.com/

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