daily wine picks


Less than $15

Sep. 01, 2000: VIÑA SAN ESTEBAN Merlot Rapel Valley Reserva 1997 (85 points, $9)

1997 was a good vintage in South America, and here's a good example. It's firm for a Chilean Merlot, with a chewy texture and ripe currant and cassis flavors that pick up a little smoky, coffee note on the lively, juicy finish. Solid wine, sound value. Dr —James Molesworth

Aug. 29, 2000: CHÂTEAU DE ST.-COSME Côtes du Rhône (90 points, $13)

A rich, thick, dark, well-made Rhône red, this displays some distinct oak accents, with spice, mocha and freshly ground coffee, but also plenty of concentrated black fruit and red berry flavors. Supple tannins on the balanced finish. Drink now through 20 —Per-Henrik Mansson

Aug. 26, 2000: BARON HERZOG Chenin Blanc Clarksburg 1999 (86 points, $6)

Here's a kosher wine from California that comes in time for the holidays. Focused, offering intense flavors of passion fruit and citrus, finishing with a kiss of sweetness. What a deal at this price. Drink now through 2001. 15,000 cases made. —James Laube

Aug. 24, 2000: COVEY RUN Riesling Washington (84 points, $7)

Ripe and generous, a jazzy mouthful of peach, apple and resiny pine aromas and flavors that linger on the round finish. Drink now. 28,000 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Aug. 21, 2000: GIESEN Riesling Canterbury 1999 (90 points, $11)

Bright, lively and distinctive, with mineral and lime notes adding intriguing accents to the peach and apple flavors on a dry frame. Has style, depth and a finish long enough to invite cellaring. From New Zealand. Drink now through 2009. 4,500 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

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