Domaine Chapelle St.-Joseph 2003 Vacqueyras ($20.99)
Clear, dark garnet. Raspberries and cherry liqueur and a subtle earthy whiff of "forest floor." Mouth-filling and ripe, earthy cherry-berry flavors reflect the nose. A good backbone of acidity, just a hint of tannic astringency, and a bit of alcoholic warmth in the finish that tastes hotter than the label's 14% statement suggests. Still, it's well balanced and full, clearly a cousin of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and substantiates the premise that the Southern Rhone handled the super-hot vintage of 2003 with more style than many of their more northerly neighbors. US Importer: International Vineyard Products Ltd., Columbus, Ohio. (Nov 3, 2007)
FOOD MATCH: A wine that needs, and rewards, a pairing with rare red meat; it was fine with papper-crusted, pan-seared, local grass-fed rib eyes.
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