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1999 Albert Belle Hermitage
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92 Points | Stephen Tanzer's IWC - January/February 2002

($70; bottled in September) Full ruby, no darker than the Louis Belle. Vibrant aromas of black cherry, mocha and menthol, sweetened and lifted by oak. Very ripe but classic Hermitage flavors of kirsch, cassis, licorice and baking chocolate. Very long and ripe on the back end, with strong but thoroughly suave tannins. Considerably fresher than the Louis Belle '99. Belle considers this his best Hermitage since '95, but here the tannins are sweeter and finer than those of the earlier year.

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About the Rhone Valley

Along with Bordeaux and Burgundy, Rhone Valley wines are some of the world's greatest red wines. But keep in mind that the Rhone Valley is really two distinct regions. The Northern Rhone produces powerful, aromatically complex ...
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While the grape is currently grown throughout the world, the most elegant Syrahs still come from the Northern Rhone valley, particularly the appellations of Côte Rôtie, Cornas, and Hermitage. Here, steep, terraced vineyards help produce full-bodied, intense, tannic wines loaded with white pepper and red fruit. In the vineyard, Syrah is largely cooperative- vines are productive, but not overly vigorous. Skins are thick, helping the grape...
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