Vina Alarba Viña Alarba 1998 Old Vines Grenache Calatayud (Spain) ($5.99)
Dark ruby, with a light, fresh aroma of black cherries and a delicately herbaceous "stemmy" quality that develops with time in the glass. Crisp red-fruit flavors and fresh-fruit acidity with a whiff of fragrant black pepper. A light but well-balanced wine, pleasant for quaffing or washing down simple food. U.S. importer: Jorge Ordoñz, represented locally by Vintner Select, Cincinnati. (April 16, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Satisfactory match with a pan-grilled T-bone, if a bit light to be a perfect marriage.

Thomas Mitchell Thomas Mitchell 1998 South Eastern Australia Marsanne ($8.99)
Clear straw color, with luscious fresh melon and mango aromas. Crisp and juicy white fruit flavors follow the nose, with a pleasant hint of bitter almond in the finish. An stylish use of this white Rhone varietal from Australia, and a particularly good value. U.S. importer: Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., NYC. (April 14, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Couldn't ask for a better match with grilled shad with lemon butter.

Chateau Mas Neuf 1997 Costieres de Nîmes ($7.99)
Slightly hazy dark ruby color, with appetizing red-fruit, black-pepper and subtle herbal aromas. Full-bodied and bright, fresh fruit and crisp acidity on the palate. A good, rustic table red, fine with food. U.S. importer: Kysela Pere et Fils, Winchester, Va. (May 11, 2000)

FOOD MATCH: Light enough not to overpower a simple veal chop.

Clock These wines were featured in The 30 Second Wine Advisor, my free weekly E-mail bulletin of quick wine tips, advice and tasting notes. Click here to join the E-mail list!

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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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