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Fox Wood (France) Old Bush Vine Syrah 1998
Despite the very New World name, this is in fact a Vin de Pays d'Oc from the South of France. It has an intense, inky, purple colour and a smooth, pepper, raspberry and garrigue nose (little scents of herbs and wild flowers). The palate too is smoothly-textured and refined with a charcoally edge to sweet black fruits and a black pepper note. Some vanillin oak is well-judged and strikes a nice balance into a long, pure finish. A tremendously impressive wine made from vines that average 45 years old, this has real concentration and finesse. It stood-up incredibly well alongside Jim Barry's "Armagh" 1995 - an Australian shiraz at over 6 times the price! Highly recommended.
UK stockist: Internet specialist retailer Amivin £5.99, Majestic £5.99