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La Chasse de Pape (France) Côtes du Rhône Reserve 2002
I am not entirely sure what the "reserve" signifies in this wine, but at £4.99 it presents a seriously nice deal for lovers or hearty, spicy reds. The back label says it is a selection of the "best terroirs" of Côtes du Rhône, and it is a classic blend of Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault and Mourvèdre, the syrah component spending time in new oak barrels. The plummy, baked fruit pie and vanilla nose has all sorts of nuances; prune, nutmeg and parma violet. On the palate it is savoury and deep-chested, with a rounded, powerfully red fruited character, showing lots of plum and hedgerow berries, supported by chocolaty, thick tannins and a sinewy core of acidity. The spicy warmth of the oak fills out on the finish too, in a lingering, flavourful wine. Excellent at the price, and benefits from an hour's decanting. Tesco £4.99