daily wine picks


Less than $15

Jul. 10, 2003: GALLO OF SONOMA Merlot Sonoma County Reserve 2001 (86 points, $11)

Should be easy to find some of this well-priced Merlot. Dark plum, fresh herb, floral and watermelon candy flavors have modest structure and lingering toasty accents in this appealing red. Drink now through 2006. 116,000 cases made. Best Values.

Jul. 02, 2003: SAUVION & FILS Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Carte d'Or 2002 (88 points, $9)

Round, and plumper than most Muscadets (the '02 vintage in the Loire looks to be quite ripe), with lemon curd and beeswax flavors lying over citrus and chalk notes. Fine, lively finish keeps it honest. Very tasty. Drink now. 73,000 cases made. Best Value —James Molesworth

Jul. 01, 2003: CHÉREAU-CARRÉ Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Château de Chasseloir 2002 (90 points, $9)

This Loire white offers a rare explosiveness for the Melon grape, with concentrated lemon peel, grapefruit, honeysuckle, mineral and brine notes. The racy acidity carries it effortlessly, while a second wave of fruit emerges on the finish. Hard for Muscad —James Molesworth

Jun. 27, 2003: VILLA MARIA Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Private Bin 2002 (89 points, $13)

Bursting with tropical fruit and lime flavors, here's a joyful New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc that packages its passion fruit, guava and citrus character in a smooth, impeccably balanced frame. Drink now. 70,000 cases imported. Best Values. —Harvey Steiman

Jun. 21, 2003: STONE CELLARS Chardonnay California 2001 (85 points, $8)

If you want California Chardonnay but don't want to pay lofty prices, try this version. It offers pretty, ripe pear, cantaloupe and honeydew melon flavors and a juicy edge of lime. Drink now. 200,000 cases made. Best Values. —James Laube

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