Noval non-vintage "LB" Porto ($16.99)
Very dark garnet color with reddish-purple glints. It's rather simple in aroma, vinous black fruit; but the first taste takes it to the next level, with dark chocolate and fragrant black pepper - pleasantly reminiscent of pepper-dusted Christmas cookies - backed by subtle dried-cherry fruit. Sweet but not cloying, fresh-fruit sugars are well balanced by a snappy acidic "grip." It's lighter in the mouth than Vintage Port, but smooth and warming; if it's not as complex as the high-price item, it's ready for drinking now, certainly more approachable and easy to enjoy than an immature sample of the "real thing," at a fraction of the price ... and it doesn't need decanting. US Importer: William Grant & Sons, NYC. (Nov 26, 2003)

FOOD MATCH: Sipped by itself as an after-dinner drink. Traditional accompaniments include nuts, Cheddar or blue (especially Stilton) cheese.

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