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A red wine from a well-known family of French winegrowers centered at the Chateau de Beaucastle in Provence.

As I've probably mentioned elsewhere, 1998 is considered to have been a terrific harvest in the Rhone valley, and it's relatively easy to find a really cheap Cotes du Rhone AOC wine that is also really good for the money. As a consequence, however, I think my standards have gone up to an unreasonably high level. Take this wine, for example: I had hoped that it would be super, and was initially disappointed when it turned out to be just good. After some reflection, I turn in this somewhat more favorable review.

The wine is a deep, brilliant red, with few tinges of blue to belie its youth. As it is only lightly filtered and not cold stabilized, there is some sediment, but that's certainly not something that bothers me (but if you serve this to uneducated guests, they may complain about "things floating in the wine"). The aroma is straightforward, with hints of black pepper. In terms of taste, it is a rich wine of medium body, but again not an overly complex layering of flavor. The finish is a little harsh and tart, but this may be a consequence of youth (perhaps it needs to be served a couple of degrees cooler).

I paid $8 for this bottle, on sale from about $11. I certainly got more than my money's worth, and am actually considering buying another bottle or two (at $8) to hang onto for about a year or so. It is not the best wine, and not really built to age, but perhaps another year might soften the aftertaste and bring out more of its inherent flavors. It's a good sippin' wine, or perhaps might go well with, hell, I don't know, beef stir-fry with broccoli. Just a guess.

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