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Argyle 1996 Willamette Valley Brut ($20.99)
ArgylePale gold, with a very persistent stream of pinpoint bubbles, this Oregon-made sparkler shows light appley scents, a bit shy in the aroma department. It makes up for it on the palate, though: Crisp and creamy, fresh and clean green-apple fruit, bond-dry and cleansing. Although it's 20 percent Pinot Noir, it's the Chardonnay that shows up in this blend. About as good as American sparkling wine gets for $20, although if you can find Champagne Pol Roger Brut for $4 more, as I can in this market, it's a no-brainer of a choice. (Dec. 28, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Served as a dinner wine, it works surprisingly well with Persian-style lamb shanks marinated and braised in yogurt and onions.

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