I purchased this wine over the weekend to compare with one of my current favorite Cotes du Rhone wines, "Parallele 45". It was cheap (at about $8 per bottle), and it's a name I've bought before. Only later did I notice that the vintage was 1999 and not 1998 (which was a fantastic year in the southern Rhone valley, by all accounts). I've never had a red wine so young (and it's something that should probably be avoided--get reds that are at least two years old). But hey, I paid eight bucks, so whatever came out of the bottle was no big deal.

Well, in short, this is a bad wine. Young reds are often undrinkable until they've gained a few years, but this is not one of those--it will never get any better than it is now; and therefore my wife and I finished most of the bottle last night. It has kind of a stinging aroma that I tried to place; if I had to guess, I would say that there was a hint of black pepper, but not as pleasant. It is quite a dry wine, and has a relatively high alcohol content (which I suspect was created to mask the wine's shortcomings). The taste is nothing to write home about--even the grape-iness of the wine is obscured to a degree--but the more you drink the less objectionable it gets, which I guess is something.

In short, head out and buy yourselves some 1998 Cotes du Rhone wine and enjoy. Stay the hell away from this 1999 crap.

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