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Boisseyt-Chol De Boisseyt-Chol 1996 Saint-Joseph ($18.99)
I tried this wine at a trade tasting last month and was blown away by its full, earthy complexity. Spotting it at a local retailer, I couldn't resist bringing home a bottle for a follow-up "reality check." My recollections were fully confirmed, and my wife - without any prompting - declared it one of her best red wines of the year. This is an amazingly good wine, and while it's not cheap, it could stand competition with wines at double its price point. Very dark garnet in color, it yields up a virtual choir of aromas, showing black fruit, fragrant pepper, tar and smoke and a fresh, pleasant scent of dried tobacco leaves. Ripe and full on the palate, black fruit and dark chocolate flavors are framed by lemony acidity, with complex nuances that follow the nose. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Cincinnati (Nov. 30, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: Surprisingly good with a meatless pasta dinner of conchiglie (small shell pasta) with a creamy spinach and ricotta 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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