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Edmunds St. John 1995 Les Côtes Sauvages California Red Table Wine ($19.99)
Inky dark reddish-purple in color, this excellent Rhone-style California wine breathes delicious earthy black-fruit aromas nuanced by black pepper and wild mushrooms. Ripe and juicy fruit flavors follow the nose, soft but with plenty of fresh-fruit acidity for structure. As the name suggests, it's more "French" in style, a blend of Grenache and Syrah grapes from California's Mendocino and Sonoma counties and Mourvèdre from Napas Mayacamas hills. I like it. (April 10, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: A surprisingly pleasant match with "baloney and cheese sandwiches" made from imported Italian mortadella sausage and sharp provolone cheese on crusty Italian bread.

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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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