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Clos du Mont-Olivet Clos du Mont-Olivet 1997 Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($22.99)
Clear ruby in color, this delicious red Rhône wine breathes red-fruit and herbal aromas that lead into a full-bodied, juicy fruit flavor with lots of fragrant black-pepper. Although it's not an inexpensive wine, at this price it's well below the median for Chateauneuf and represents good value. It would make a good holiday gift, although note that it should either be drunk up within the next year or so, while it's still fruity and fresh; or cellared for several years until it matures. Assuming it follows the usual aging pattern for Chateauneuf, it will start "closing down" in coming months, after which it should be held until around 2004, when its complex flavors of maturity will start to show. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Cincinnati. (Dec. 18, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: The "red wine with beef" formula works here: It's excellent with pot roast.

Clock This wine was featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor, my free weekly E-mail bulletin of quick wine tips, advice and tasting notes. Click here to join the E-mail list!

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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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