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Wine of the Week

1998 Cave de Chante-Perdrix St. Joseph, Rhone Valley

April 25, 2001|S. IRENE VIRBILA

The wines of St. Joseph are as different from those of its neighbor Cornas on the western bank of the Rhone River as they could possibly be. They're both made from Syrah, but where Cornas is inky and often impenetrable with tannin, Saint-Joseph is sunlight and grace. The 1998 vintage from Cave de Chante-Perdrix is a gorgeous squirt of Syrah juice with smoky, understated fruit. You can almost smell the heat of the vineyard and taste the small, wild red berries that grow on the hillsides.

This is a wine that needs food--grilled chops, magret (duck breast) or pork sausage. Picture a daube de boeuf with black olives, crusty bread and a ripe Banon cheese.

About $15. Available at Wine Country in Signal Hill, (562) 597-8303; Mission Wines in Pasadena, (626) 403-9463; Larchmont Village Wine & Cheese in Los Angeles, (323) 856-8699; Woodland Hills Wine Company in Woodland Hills, (800) 678-9463; Wine House in West L.A., (800) 626-9463;, and Beverage Warehouse in Los Angeles, (310) 306-2822. If you can't find this wine, have your local retailer call the importer, Beaune Imports, (510) 841-9815.

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