daily wine picks

Less than $15

Dec. 24, 2002: FAMILIA RUTINI Malbec Vistalba Trumpeter 2001 (87 points, $9)

Owned by Nicolás Catena, this Argentinean winery produces solid values. This Malbec is ripe and juicy, with pretty spicecake, coffee and cocoa notes, and a healthy dose of blackberry fruit. Sweet, smoky finish. Very tasty. Drink now through 2004. 8,000 c —James Molesworth

Dec. 21, 2002: BOGLE Chardonnay California 2001 (86 points, $9)

Chardonnay lovers should flock to this well-priced California bottling. Perfumed and fruity aromas of peach and nectarine, with floral notes, it's ripe and juicy, with vibrant fruit flavors. Excellent value. Drink now. 85,000 cases made. Best Values. —James Laube

Dec. 19, 2002: BODEGA NORTON Malbec Mendoza 2000 (87 points, $9)

Donald Hess' Bodega Norton is improving, as this value-priced Malbec shows. Modern in style, with vivid blueberry and black fruits, and a round, spicy finish. Nice succulent flesh to this. Drink now through 2003. 16,000 cases imported. Best Values.

—James Molesworth

Dec. 12, 2002: CLINE Syrah California 2000 (87 points, $10)

Black cherry, beef and roasted herb flavors have solid tannin and fine focus, with generous toasty oak character framing the lingering, tangy finish. A superb value. Drink now through 2006. 36,359 cases made. Best Values.

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Dec. 10, 2002: CONCHA Y TORO Merlot Rapel Valley Xplorador 2001 (85 points, $8)

Concha y Toro has really improved its lineup in the last few years, so don't overlook this solid value. This has a pretty mix of berry fruit, herbs and milk chocolate on a supple frame. Not big, but nicely done. This producer does it time and time again. —James Molesworth

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