Thackrey Pleiades XII Old Vines California Red Table Wine ($20.99)
The latest release in this consistently persuasive Roman-numeral series from Sean H. Thackrey, this dark-ruby wine is clear but not brilliant, showing a hint of haze in the glass. That's no flaw, though, as it foreshadows rich aromatics and good body in an unusually complex and pleasing red. Full plum and red-berry fruit aromas add an appealing "gamey" note that evokes the hearty reds of Southern France; juicy fruit and pleasantly earthy flavors are consistent with the nose, with 14 percent alcohol adding body and tart, lemon-squirt acidity to provide a cleansing edge. US Importer: (Feb 28, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: A food wine in the European style, it made a great match with a medium-rare New York strip steak with plenty of black pepper.

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