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Bouissiere Domaine la Bouïssiere 1996 Gigondas ($14.99)
A low-rent neighbor to Chateauneuf-du-Pape but by no means a second-class citizen, Gigondas offers dry, robust red wines of consistently good quality. This one kept us coming back for more with its structure and balance. Dark ruby in color, it showed fragrant black-pepper and ripe black cherries on the nose and palate, with soft, accessible tannins, black fruit and snappy acidity hanging on in a long finish. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Cincinnati. (Oct. 16, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: Worked very nicely indeed with a hearty risotto with beef, red and green bell peppers and peas.

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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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