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Esporao Esporão 1995 Reguengos (Portugal) Vinho Tinto (Gift, about $15)
Our pal Dave Conway was in town with his big red pickup truck the other day, and he brought along an excellent Portuguese red that he couldn't wait to show off. Inky dark garnet in color, its huge cherry-berry fruit aroma starts to fill the room as soon as we pull the cork and even before the wine is poured. Ripe fruit and oaky vanillins follow the nose in a massive but approachable "fruit-bomb" flavor well structured by ample acidity. Terms like "elegance" might not apply, but "fun" and "easy to drink" certainly do. U.S. importer: Aidil Wines & Liquors, Olde World Imports Inc., Rahway, N.J. (Dec. 2, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: We uncorked it before dinner as an aperitif, but it's a wine made to go with hearty red meat. I'd love to try it again with prime rib.

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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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