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Château Fontenil (France) Fronsac 1998
I know this is a little out of the WOTW price range, but Christmas is often a time when people are happy to spend a little bit more on a special bottle, and often a time when their thoughts turn to a traditional Claret. This is a beauty. It has a dense, plummy, blackcurranty nose that is very deep, with nuances of cedar. It is driven along by dense black fruit that adds a chocolaty richness to the palate, with some plum-skin roughness and plenty of depth. There are ripe tannins and this finishes with class and length. Very good indeed in a powerful style. £12.99 Oddbins. Other contenders include the Poupille Côtes de Castillon 1998 at £13.99 in Majestic, and the Château La Rose Brisson St-Emilion Grand Cru 1999 at £11.99 in Safeway. Though all very young wines, these are drinking well already.