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Qupé 1998 Santa Barbara County Bien Nacido Reserve Syrah ($23.99)
Qupe One of the leading "Rhone Rangers," Qupé enjoys a loyal following among California wine fanciers, and the large Bien Nacido vineyard consistently produces a surprising range grape varieties that turn up in some highly regarded wines. Big and aromatic flavors of licorice and dill show significant oak influence; it's mouth-filling in flavor, black fruit and mint, with big fruit and oak in a long finish.

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Pepperwood Grove 1999 California Syrah ($6.99)
Abbaye de TholomiesA product of Sebastiani-Cecchetti Vineyard in Sonoma, Pepperwood Grove makes several varieties - this Syrah, a Merlot and even a Pinot Noir - that have consistently surprised me by offering quality that belies their rock-bottom price. It's simple and fresh, with fragrant floral aromas and a whiff of volatile acidity; grapey and perhaps off-dry, it fades in the finish.

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Wine notes in 'shelf-hanger' format:
We publish Wine Lovers' Page tasting reports in the familiar "shelf-hanger" size and format, to make it easy for wine merchants or collectors to print them out, clip and post them where this wine is displayed. We do ask, however, that the Wine Lovers' Page name and URL be left intact, and that these reports be used with the specific wines rated, not different bottlings or vintages.

All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I accept no free samples from wineries or distributors, purchasing all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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