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Alquier Gilbert Alquier & Fils 1997 Faugères ($11.99)
Dark garnet. Fragrant pepper, black cherry and rosemary aromas appear at first, opening up into roses, cinnamon and spice, an unusually complex scent that's Alquier's trademark. A big mouthful of flavor, consistent with the nose; fresh fruit built on a firm acidic structure. U.S. importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, Calif. (Nov. 1, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: Makes a fine red-wine match with filet mignons pan-grilled with a wine-reduction sauce.

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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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