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1999 Haut Beausejour St. Estephe, Bordeaux, France

Further evidence that name and terrior are not everything, and you have to be careful when buying Bordeaux, lest you pay too much for a decent, but not stellar wine. Stopping by a local wine bar in Atlanta after jumping on a plane to address some client problems (I WILL NOT mix business with blog) I sampled a few of their upper end selections in the "hearty to full bodied" category, including this St. Estephe.

Tasting Notes:
Just the color your expect a nice Bordeaux to be, the soft ruby red of this wine is mirrored in its nose -- not overpowering, but subtle berry flavors that honestly could be more refined but are pleasing nonetheless. On the tongue the wine displays a softness that makes it attractive, and the cherry and blueberry flavors come across with the brilliance of a claret, but seem to be one dimensional. The finish is long and slightly hot -- more evidence that the wine is not well integrated.

Food Pairing:
This, like many of its ilk, is definitely a food friendly wine. I would be happy drinking it with roast duck or with veal in a red wine sauce.

Overall Score: 7.5

How Much?: Retails for $23

There are better ways to spend twenty bucks in Bordeaux. If you see it on a menu somewhere for $30 and are ordering some red meat, go for it, but if the markup is much more than that, as some restaurants are wont to do, give it a pass. I wouldn't go out of my way to find it.

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud