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Saumur Champigny Château de Targé 1996 Saumur Champigny ($13.99)
This fine dry red bears the tag "Champigny" to denote its elevated status (and its 100 percent Cabernet Franc composition) above the regular Saumur of the Loire. Dark garnet in color, it shows ripe blueberries and a subtle, not unpleasant "green bean" character in the aroma. Bright and juicy fruit flavors follow the nose, clean and tart and lasting. At a fair midrange price, it could make a believer out of those who think they don't like Loire reds. U.S. importer: World Shippers and Importers Co., Philadelphia (Sept. 13, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: A perfect partner with an aromatic, Arabian style of chicken and rice scented with cinnamon, allspice and almonds.

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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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