Saint Cosme 2001 Cotes-du-Rhone ($12.99)
Very dark reddish-purple; glints of bright garnet show when you hold the wine up to the light. Fragrant black pepper aromas add spice to black-plum fruit on the nose, but it's a bit closed and "tight." Same's true of the flavor, where depth is apparent but requires some coaxing to bring out. It opens up with extensive swirling and time in the glass to fine and balanced fruit, fragrant pepper and lemony acidity over smooth tannins, but it seems to be going through a "shy" period. Decanting with vigorous aeration before serving will wake it up a bit. US Importer: Michel-Schlumberger Wines Ltd., Healdsburg, Calif., and other regional importers. (Apr 22, 2004)

FOOD MATCH: The classic antidote for young reds, a rare rib-eye steak, makes an ideal companion, bringing the wine out of its shell.

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