daily wine picks


Less than $15

Dec. 04, 2002: FREIXENET Brut Cava Cordon Negro NV NV (85 points, $9)

This ubiquitous Spanish brand provides good value. A hint of pencil shavings highlights this dry-style cava. With its firm structure and cleansing finish, it would work either as an aperitif or with light foods. This Spanish producer is a trustworthy name —Bruce Sanderson

Dec. 02, 2002: VINUM Petite Sirah Clarksburg Pets Wilson Vineyards 2001 (90 points, $13)

Dense and dark, with layers of cassis, ripe plum, blueberry, black cherry extract and meaty, wet clay flavors. Plenty of well-integrated toasty oak and round tannin provide structure through the intense, hot and lush finish. Drink now through 2007. 3,100 —James Laube

Nov. 30, 2002: CONCHA Y TORO Merlot Peumo Marqués de Casa Concha 2000 (89 points, $14)

Winemaker Marcelo Papa handles Concha's Marques de Casa Concha line, and the last two vintages (1999 and 2000) have been standouts. The '00 Merlot offers lovely cassis and plum fruit, with hints of vanilla bean and herbs, and a fleshy yet elegant, smoky f —James Molesworth

Nov. 26, 2002: COMTE DE MALESTROIT Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Château La Noë 2001 (85 points, $9)

Hard not to like this nice, bracing Muscadet, showing citrus, brine and mineral notes, and a crisp, lively finish. Drink now. Try as an aperitif, or with seafood. 7,500 cases made. Best Value. —James Molesworth

Nov. 21, 2002: DOMAINE BRUSSET Côtes du Rhône-Villages Cairanne Côteaux des Travers 2001 (89 points, $14)

Here's a refined and subtle Rhône offering that is also well-priced. With its silky tannins, lovely full-bodied richness on the palate, this is well worth hunting for, giving joy with its fresh blackberry aromas and spice, toasted oak and chocolate notes —Per-Henrik Mansson

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