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Our friend Eric came down from Indianapolis for a business meeting, and things went well, so we decided to wrap up the day with a bit of celebration. A simple steak dinner cooked at home and a trio of interesting wines filled the bill:

Veuve Cliquot Champagne Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin 1993 Vintage Reserve ($55.99)
Pale straw, with a lasting fountain of pinpoint bubbles. Appetizing "apple jelly on buttered toast" aromas lead into a full, rich Champagne with a creamy mouthfeel, subtle and delicate. Fine wine and certainly capable of several years' aging. U.S. importer: Clicquot Inc., NYC. (June 14, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Aperitif.

Edmunds St. John Edmunds St. John 1996 Les Côtes Sauvages "Fin de Siècle" California Red Table Wine ($20.99)
Inky dark ruby color, with delicious red-fruit aromas, perfumed and earthy. Citrus and spice in a full-bodied, tart and warmly alcoholic flavor. Like most of Edmunds St. John's wines, it shows a complexity and earthiness that seems more akin to Europe than California and makes this line a personal favorite. My wife, a red-wine fanatic, says "one glass invites another." (June 14, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Fine with grilled strip steaks.

Quinta de la Rosa Quinta de la Rosa non-vintage Finest Reserve Porto ($16.99)
This may be a "mere" Ruby Port at an everyday price, but it's one of the best of its genre that I've uncorked in a long time. Very dark ruby in color, it blows off a vinous hint of alcohol to reveal dark chocolate and ripe berry fruit. Warm, sweet and rich flavors build on a crisp but not overly tart acidic structure that holds it into a long fresh-berry finish. Very good value! U.S. importer: Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., NYC. (June 14, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: After-dinner sipping.

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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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