2011 Domaine Fontanel Rivesaltes Ambre, Vin Doux Naturel, France (750ml)

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A well-done Rivesaltes Ambre is one of the great under appreciated treasures of French wines. It often gets overlooked because not enough people outside of France know much about Vins Doux Naturels. Yet, in the hands of Domaine Fontanel, it can be quite a unique and pleasurable experience, especially when it has some age on it like this luscious 2003.

A blend of mostly Grenache Blanc with smaller amounts of Grenache Gris and Muscat from 60 year-old vines, this beauty offers a beguiling nose with scents of nuts (both raw and roasted) and marinated fruits along with a slightly oxidative note. The fuller bodied palate is mouth coating with a wonderfully rich and expansive texture, incredible concentration and a "panoply of burnished, nutty flavours, elegantly married with oak" as importer Hiram Simon exclaims! It is also very versatile and can be enjoyed as a traditional dessert wine as well as an aperitif to get the evening going.

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