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J.L. Chave 1997 Saint-Joseph "Offerus" ($23.99)
After teasing my palate with a series of modest California Syrahs and Petite Sirahs (tasting notes here, also featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor), I thought it was time to re-calibrate my taste buds with the original article from the Northern Rhône. Saint-Joseph is a fine region therein, making somewhat lighter and more youthfully accessible Syrah than its neighbor Hermitage; and Chave is one of the most respected names of the region. ("Offerus" is one of two Chave St. Joseph bottlings, made from purchased grapes.)
This wine is fine, putting my palate calibration for Syrah neatly back on track. Dark ruby in color, it breathes delicious raspberry aromas framed with black pepper, pleasant leathery nuances and a whiff of leafy green scents. Very full and bright in flavor, tart cherry-berry fruit adds a fragrant black-pepper acent, tasty fruit built on a firm acidic structure. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (Sept. 4, 1999)
FOOD MATCH: Perfect with a medium-rare T-bone crusted with coarse black pepper.
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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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