daily wine picks

Less than $15

Oct. 30, 2001: BODEGAS PIQUERAS Almansa Castillo de Almansa Reserva 1995 (85 points, $10)

The Spanish red still has stuffing despite its age. Plum, chocolate and light game flavors show depth in this round red. Has enough grip and freshness for food. Made from a bend of Cencibel (Tempranillo) and Monastrell (Mourvèdre). Drink now through 2003 —Thomas Matthews

Oct. 29, 2001: VIÑA MONTES Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley Reserve 1999 (86 points, $10)

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

Oct. 27, 2001: RAMOS-PINTO Douro Duas Quintas 1998 (88 points, $11)

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

Oct. 26, 2001: KENDALL-JACKSON Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz California Collage 2000 (86 points, $9)

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

Oct. 25, 2001: SHOOTING STAR Syrah Lake County 1999 (87 points, $12)

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

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