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Casa Lapostolle (Chile) Merlot 1999
From the Rapel Valley, a top Merlot region, this is the regular cuvée from Casa Lapostolle, whose stunning 'cuvée Alexandre' merlot has seen them zoom straight to the top tier of Chilean wine making. The consultant winemaker is Pomerol superstar Michel Rolland, and his influence is evident in a wine that is dominated by cedary, cigar-box aromas that are typical of claret. Beneath there is cherry and blackcurrant fruit, some hints of chocolate and a bittersweet note. On the palate it has juicy acidity and firm, ripe tannins as well as plenty of sweet but savoury black plum fruit. There's a nice spiciness, good length and a long, balanced finish. Beautifully made.

UK stockist: Thresher, Bottoms Up, Oddbins, ChateauOnline £6.99-£7.49.