daily wine picks

Less than $15

Dec. 14, 2004: VIÑA SILA Rueda Naia 2003 (87 points, $12)

Lovely balance and lively personality in this exuberant white. It shows lemon curd, honey and passion fruit flavors with a rich texture and crisp acidity. Drink now. 10,000 cases made. From Spain. —Thomas Matthews

Dec. 13, 2004: ODFJELL Merlot Maipo Valley Armador 2003 (86 points, $12)

Nice ripe red and dark berry fruit, with herb, briar and cocoa hints as well. Good juicy finish. Drink now. 3,365 cases made. From Chile. —James Molesworth

Dec. 11, 2004: FARNESE Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Casale Vecchio 2003 (86 points, $13)

Grapey and rich with vanilla, berry and cherry character. Medium body. Good fruity finish. Drink now. 20,000 cases made. From Abruzzi, Italy. —James Suckling

Dec. 10, 2004: QMS GROUP Syrah Lake County Writer's Block 2002 (86 points, $14)

Ripe, with cola, mocha, espresso and spice flavors that deliver fine richness. Round tannins and smoky cedary oak tones linger on the finish. Drink now through 2007. 1,200 cases made. From California. —James Laube

Dec. 09, 2004: MARQUÉS DE IRÚN Verdejo Rueda 2003 (86 points, $9)

Crisp and firm, almost muscular, this big, straightforward white shows flavors of pear, grapefruit and almond. Good typicity. Drink now through 2006. 12,000 cases made. From Spain. —Thomas Matthews

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