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El Coto El Coto 1997 Rioja Crianza ($10.99)
Clear dark garnet, with ripe cherry and sweet-oak aromas. Full and juicy fruit flavors are framed by tart acidity and soft tannins. There's not a lot of complexity here, but good structure and balance make it a winning table wine, and the tannins suggest some potential for improvement over time. U.S. importer: Frederick Wildman & Sons Ltd., NYC. (May 27, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Makes a fine match with the sweet-spicy flavors of Chinese-style spareribs.

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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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