Viña Montes is one of Chile's most consistent producers -- both for value priced offerings and high-end bottlings. Ripe berry and currant fruit, with smoke and mineral notes and a firm, focused finish. Should flesh out a bit short-term. Drink now through —James Molesworth
The Douro region of Portugal is famous for producing Port, but it also provides some interesting dry red wines as well. This wine from Ramos-Pinto is rich and concentrated, with plum, leather and spice flavors. Inky and full-bodied, with intense coffee an —Kim Marcus
This blend from one of California's best-known wineries is lively and intense, with black cherry, plum and currant nuances, highlighted by round tannin and caramel oak tones. Drink now through 2005. 205,000 cases made. Best Buy.
For a complete wrap
This second label to Jed Steele's Steele Wines consistently cranks out the tasty, value-priced offerings. What a deal in Syrah. This is intense and focused, with beefy black cherry, plum and dried berry flavors. Herb, spice, mocha and lead pencil nuances —James Laube
From this Kendall-Jackson owned Chilean property comes this solid Merlot value. Made in a clean, modern style, with juicy berry fruit, fleshy texture and sweet smoke notes running through the finish. Drink now through 2002. 20,800 cases made. Best Buy. —James Molesworth
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