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Foreau Foreau 1997 Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Demi Sec ($20.99)
Clear pale gold, with delicately earthy scents of truffles and mushrooms surrounding ripe honeyed apples. Tart, almost tangy honey-apple flavors with a soft sweetness shyly peeking out from behind a curtain of steely acidity. Apples, honey and lemons linger in a long finish. All the parts are there, but it seems a little disjointed, perhaps in need of cellar time. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Cincinnati. (Feb. 20, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Pondering the conventional wisdom that German Rieslings with their slight sweetness go unusually well with fiery Asian fare that stymies drier wines, I took the risk of pairing this one with a Mexican-style roast-beef torta with a good slather of spicy green tomatillo salsa. Good decision! Unlike dry wines that seem to exacerbate the "burn" of chile peppers, the light sweetness of the Vouvray mellows the spicy fire, while the earthy fruit flavors play a mariachi tune with the beef.

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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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