Edmunds St. John 2000 Paso Robles Rozet Vineyard "Los Robles Viejos" ($22.00)
Making stylish use of four of the primary grape varieties from the 13 permitted in Chateaneuf-du-Pape (45% Mourvedre, 30% Syrah, 21% Grenache and 4% Counoise), Steve Edmunds has created a pretty, ageworthy wine that pays homage to its Southern Rhone inspiration without slavishly mirroring it. Dark reddish-purple in color with bright violet glints against the light, it breathes lovely, complex aromas, black plums with subtle accents of grilled meat, fennel, oregano and a distinct "tree-bark" and "forest floor" earthiness that's surely traceable to the Mourvedre. Full and ripe on the palate, tart cherry-berry and subtle earthy flavors follow the nose. There's plenty of fresh-fruit acidity, and smooth tannins to suggest good aging potential. French-style earth and California-style fruit come together to make a "Mid-Atlantic" wine in the best sense. US Importer: (Feb 15, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: Like its Southern Rhone inspiration, this robust, complex red blend is made to go with rare beef. It went just as well with a beef alternative, still-pink slices of Muscovy duck breast (served over Gruyere-and-onion grits cakes).

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

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE: Wine-Searcher.com

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