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Quinta dos Murcas Quinta dos Murças 1988 Late Bottled Vintage Porto ($13.99)
Inky dark ruby in color, almost opaque. Fresh blackberry and "stone fruit," plums and prunes on the nose and palate. Warm and strong, a bit harsh at first but mellows and adds an aromatic note of menthol as it opens up in the glass, showing rich sweetness and tart, tannic acidity. Seems to lack the depth of the vintage style, but the price is right. U.S. importer: World Shippers & Importers Co., Philadelphia. (Dec. 25, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: A delight with a traditional British accompaniment, blue-veined Stilton cheese.

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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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