WINE BOX

THE WEEK'S BEST BUYS
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The Independent Culture
*Chateau Pech de Jammes 1989, Cahors, Sainsbury's, pounds 5.95

**Valentin Bianchi, Elsa's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 1993, Mendoza, Oddbins, pounds 8.99

A disparate pair this week, one from France and other from Argentina. The Cahors is a nice inky specimen - well softened and smoothed out by ample bottle age. Deep, pungent fruit; good winter drinking; note the US health warning on the back label. The Valentin Bianchi is in an entirely different league: an incredibly elegant wine with loads of smooth and supple Cabernet blackcurrant fruit and soft tannins. Some might find that its alcohol content (14 per cent) unbalances the picture a little, but for drinking now or in a few years, this really is stupendous stuff.

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