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Chablis Louis Michel & Fils 1996 Chablis ($17.99)
Light straw color, with a fresh scent of juicy cooking apples. Full appley fruit and lemony acidity on the palate, so ripe that it seems fat at first; but steely acid quickly wraps it in a sturdy structure. Characteristic Chablis "mineral" and light hints of damp wool appear as the wine warms in the glass. A low-end Chablis, perhaps, but it attractively demonstrates what Chardonnay can be ... but so often isn't. U.S. importer: Vineyard Brands Inc., Chester, Vt.; Robert Haas Selections. (March 6, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with sauteed chicken breasts topped with Spanish serrano ham and Mexican farmer cheese and tucked into a flour tortilla with a dab of tomatillo salsa.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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