Achaia Clauss "Imperial" Mavrodaphne of Patras ($8.79)
Clear cherry red with an amber glow, the wine's rather light color is at odds with its fortified (15 percent) alcoholic strength. Simple but fresh red-fruit aromas add nutlike and herbal scents reminiscent of straw and hay. Sweet and soft flavors carry over a touch of that haylike herbaceous quality on the palate. It's no Vintage Port, but its rustic and herbal flavors add interest to an unusual red dessert wine of good value. US Importer: Stellar Importing Co., Astoria, N.Y. (Feb 6, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: Best served after dinner as dessert, but like the somewhat similar French Banyuls, it makes an unusually interesting match with dark, not-too-sweet chocolate.



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