WINE BOX

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The Independent Culture
****Maglieri McLaren Vale Shiraz 1995

****Cosme Palacio Y Hermanos Rioja Tinto 1995

Though completely different in style, this pair has one thing in common: they're two of the Red Wines of the Year in the Wine Magazine International Wine Challenge (IWC). Both are fantastically good, exhibiting all the best characteristics of their type with none of the shortcomings. The Rioja has well-knitted, concentrated berry flavours. The Shiraz is a big wine in every sense: huge nose, broad swathe of blackcurrant fruit, finish longer than your arm. For the Rioja go to Oddbins (IWC Wine Merchant of the Year) or Waitrose (IWC Supermarket of the Year), and fork out pounds 5.99. You can find the Shiraz at Tesco or Unwins for pounds 7.49; it's slightly more from other sources. These two gems easily get my top rating of four stars, and though they're certainly drinking well now, they're both worth laying down.

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