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Penfolds Penfolds 1996 Old Vine Barossa Valley Grenache Mourvèdre Shiraz ($17.99)
Very dark garnet, with buttery oak aromas surrounding black, plummy fruit and spice. Big, juicy and ripe flavor, mixed fruit and sweet oak, structured by fresh-fruit acidity. Quite oaky now, but with ample fruit and structure to suggest that the flavors will become more integrated with time. U.S. importer: Southcorp Wines North America, Monterey, Calif. (March 16, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: A natural match with filetto al Barolo, Marcella Hazan's filet mignons pan-grilled with red wine.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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