Chateau Chatain 2000 Montagne Saint-Emilion ($19.99)
Dark ruby, shaded toward the red end of the spectrum, especially at the edge. Strong, high-toned scents of volatile acidity create a frankly unpleasant first impression, but luckily it blows off after an hour of "breathing" and occasional vigorous swirling, unveiling more typical "roasted" scents of bitter chocolate and black coffee along with a distant whiff of "barnyard," all over a background of dark, plummy black-cherry fruit. Rather light-bodied and tart on the palate, not overly tannic, but there's pleasant, clean and balanced black fruit behind the austere facade. Youthfully awkward, needs a little time. US Importer: Robert Kacher Selections, Washington, D.C. (Jan 23, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: Shows well with braised Creole-style lamb shanks from Chef Joseph Carey's new cookbook, Creole Nouvelle, Contemporary Creole Cookery.

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