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Today's Wine Tasting Note

© Copyright 1999 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

Danielle Rosenblum Cellars non-vintage Daniellé California Port With Natural Chocolate Flavors ($16.99/500 ml)
A California "Port" flavored with chocolate? The idea seemed so bizarre that I passed this bottle by several times on a recent wine-shopping trip, shaking my head and marveling, "What'll they think of next?" But the idea had a strange appeal that kept me coming back through the dessert-wine aisle, and I suspected that it would be even more intriguing to my wife, a world-class chocolate-lover. Seeing that it came from Rosenblum, a California producer whose works I generally respect, I succumbed to curiosity and added it to my shopping basket.

Hazy dark ruby in color, it breathes a delicious scent of milk chocolate and ripe red raspberries. My wife, from whom I'd carefully concealed knowledge of the secret ingredient, was puzzled but stayed on the right track. "Vanilla? There's definitely vanilla in it. And taffy? It reminds me of candy." Not bad, said I. Soft and rich on the palate, it offers chocolate and sweet berry fruit flavors, almost literally like a candy bar in a bottle. It lacks the acidic structure and tannins that give Port its classic complexity and "grip," and quite frankly will pose no competitive threat to the traditional Oporto houses. But it's still a warming and mighty pleasant after-dinner drink. (March 27, 1999)

FOOD MATCH: Served alone as an after-dinner treat.

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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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