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Enjoying a fresh and very (very) tasty tomato soup with this Barolo. It speaks to the wonder of a good Italian wine - its mission is to complement and embellish the food at hand.

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Ultimately, if you want the best expression of Chardonnay, you’ve got to go to France.

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Cos d’Estournel 1998. From our cellar. A bit mellow if not soft at the start, but evolving as we drink it. In the end, a deep, rich flavor experience that held up nicely against out Italian dinner, although would have been better a few years ago in all likelihood.

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Alois Lageder Lagrein “Lindenburg,” 2006. Bought from the list for $72 at Ombra, Studio City.  Arlene: Really nicely balanced. Fruity, but strong enough to stand up to the chili oil in my pasta sauce. Tasted consistently good through the bottle. Michelle S.: Smooth, but not as full-bodied as I expect from red wines. It was more enjoyable as a result.

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Chateau Tour Bayard 2008. From our cellar. Tom: Inviting, accessible, plenty of tannins. Importer Kermit Lynch never lets you down. Arlene: Lots of earth. Fruit more evident after it airs out a bit.