Brunier "Télégramme" 2002 Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($22.99)
This wine from the disastrous 2002 vintage pours clear garnet, very light in color for a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It seems light on the nose and palate, too, opening with a vinous scent of raspberries, spice, faint vegetal notes and a high-toned whiff of volatile acidity. It's a little more inviting in its flavor, juicy and very tart, simple red fruit and white pepper over almost sour acidity, on the thin side. More like a rustic, everyday Côtes-du-Rhône than a Châteauneuf, it's probably as good as a skilled wine maker could do with the best fruit available after the vintage's autumn rains and flooding. But I won't be buying another bottle of this one. US Importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (Feb 26, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: Foreseeing the wine's lightness, I went with something lighter than the beef or pork that I would normally choose with a Southern Rhone, going instead with an Italian-style dish of pork chops braised on a battuto of fennel, celery and onions.



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