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The tasting was not blind. Prices in Pounds Sterling

Whites

de Ladoucette (Loire) Pouilly-Fumé Baron de Ladoucette 1997 - £29.99
One of the Loire's most expensive dry wines, the "Baron de L" is the super-premium wine from the de Nozet estate, which makes the more widely known "Comtes Lafond" Sancerre. It has a pale green/straw colour and a subtly attractive ripe, sweet, peachy fruit and sweet oak. There's lots of spice and a nice tart orangy note into a long finish. Very good.

Nicolas Catena (Argentina) La Catena Alta Chardonnay 1998 - £21.99
Deeper medium gold colour. Superbly toasty and inviting nose. Imbued with roasted sesame-seed, toast and coffee. Very rich, a hint of mint and plenty of ripe orchard fruit. On the palate it is broad, generous and fruity with notes of fig, walnut and plenty of juicy, sweet, bright fruit. Good acidity too and very long indeed. Very good.

Reds

Clos du Val (California) Carneros Pinot Noir 1998 - £17.49
Medium density bright ruby colour. Quite a smoky, herbal, tea and tobacco edge to soft pinot fruit a savouriness. Very fine indeed and will age gracefully.

Nicolas Catena (Argentina) La Catena Alta Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - £22.99
Very dense, dark, almost black. Terrifically sweet, concentrated blackcurrant/cassis fruit. Some black cherry and mint and a chocolaty intensity. There are creamy raspberry, quite fresh nuances. On the palate it is dense and solidly packed with fruit, pure, focused and richly concentrated, with a sleek, shimmering fruit quality. Very long, powerful and impressive.

Katnook Estate (Australia) "Odyssey" Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 - £24.99
Another very, very deep wine with a hint of ruby at the rim. Gorgeous cream and cassis aromas are dusty and deep, with a seam of blue/black fruits and bitter mint chocolate. FIne Shiraz, and cheap, cheap, cheap compared to Grange!

Fortified

Valdespino (Spain) Fino Sherry "Inocente" - £8.99
Fine flor nose. Though fine and yeasty there's a rich caramel edge and a nuttiness: like pistachio shells. The palate is extremely dry - salts and peanut husks, quite rich and layered, powerful but extremely dry. Most tasters disliked it, but it grew on me in the glass - needs a handful of nuts or some olives, but a very fine wine.

Valdespino (Spain) Pedro Ximinez - £10.99
A seriously gorgeous "PX" with a heap of raisin and sultana, notes of orange peel and a little cherry - glimpses of brightness amongst syrupy darkness. There's raisin, chocolate, rum and treacle on the palate. Delightful.