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Hardy's non-vintage "Whiskers Blake" Australian Tawny Port ($14.99)
Whiskers BlakeClear dark amber with an orange glint. Plums, apricots, caramel and a whiff of orange peel on the nose and palate; sticky-sweet but with fresh, lemon-squirt acidity to provide structure and keep the sugar from cloying. Purists would note that this is not from Portugal and thus not a true Port. Those purists would miss the delights of a really excellent and affordable dessert wine. U.S. importer: International Cellars, Chantilly, Va. (Nov. 2, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Served alone for after-dinner sipping.

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Gould Campbell 1983 Vintage Porto ($22.99/375 ml)
Gould CampbellClear ruby with a slight amber glow. Blueberries and earthy notes, hints of peppery spice. Black plums and spicy flavors, sweet and strong; good fruit remains in this 17-year-old, and it still shows substantial tannic astringency, suggesting that more cellar time won't do it any harm. U.S. importer: Ex-Cellars, American Canyon, Calif. (Oct. 29, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Served after dinner with a chunk of Stilton cheese for an enjoyable "analysis" of the traditional British match. It works well: The creamy quality of the cheese tames the wine's tannins, and its earthy, tangy flavors mesh with the wine's earthiness, leaving its plummy fruit to stand out.

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All my wine-tasting reports are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I accept no free samples from wineries or distributors, purchasing all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores.

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