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Dec. 24, 2003: BALTHASAR RESS Riesling Kabinett Rheingau Hattenheimer Schützenhaus 2002 (89 points, $13)

The '02 German Rieslings provide an impressive follow-up to the amazing '01s. There's intensity and presence in this bottling, despite the light body, with peach, flower, citrus and stone aromas and flavors, backed by firm acidity. Well done. Drink now th —Bruce Sanderson

Dec. 22, 2003: BODEGAS ESCORIHUELA Malbec Mendoza Don Miguel Gascón 2002 (90 points, $11)

Always a solid value, the '02 Gascón Malbec is a winner. Dark cherry, plum and cassis fruit races along here, with plenty of chocolate and loam. Nice, rich, smoky finish shows grip, while the fruit lingers. Shows how strong the '02 vintage is. Drink now —James Suckling

Dec. 13, 2003: BODEGAS MARTINEZ BUJANDA Cabernet La Mancha Finca Antigua 2001 (87 points, $9)

This modern-style Spanish Cabernet Sauvignon is ripe and muscular, but still balanced, offering fresh plum, blackberry, licorice and toast flavors. Not a blockbuster, but complete. Drink now through 2005. 20,000 cases made. Best Values. —Thomas Matthews

Dec. 12, 2003: ST.-URBANS-HOF Riesling QbA Mosel-Saar-Ruwer 2002 (88 points, $11)

As if 2001 wasn't good enough, Germany followed it up with another stellar harvest in 2002. The wines are just being released now, and for a sample, track down this racy QbA that is packed with slate aroma and flavor and a lime accent. Not as concentrated —Bruce Sanderson

Dec. 11, 2003: BODEGAS EGUREN Viño de la Tierra de Castilla Protocolo Red 2001 (87 points, $6)

This value-priced offering from Spain is just the ticket to stock up on for winter. Made from 100 percent Tempranillo, it's a plush red, rich with chocolate and black cherry flavors, thick and almost sweet on the palate, with ripe, well-integrated tannins —Thomas Matthews

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