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Val Verde Val Verde Winery non-vintage Don Luis Texas Tawny Port (Gift, price unknown)
I generally try to avoid reporting on wines that most people can't find, but this lovable oddball - a gift from an online friend - deserves its 15 minutes of fame. The idea of a Texas Port may inspire chuckles, but this one is actually a strong, sweet and warming winter sipper. It's a hazy dark ruby color with a brick hue. Raisins, plums and prunes in the aroma, full and ripe. Sweet and warming flavors are consistent with the nose, mouth-filling fruit structured by lemon-squirt acidity. A bit different in style from a traditional Tawny, but quite a pleasant after-dinner wine for a cold winter's night. (Jan. 20, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Served alone for after-dinner sipping; would certainly do well with a cheese tray or cracked walnuts and pecans.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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