Stimson Lane (which owns Washington's Chateau Ste. Michelle) purchased this venerable California winery, known for its Chardonnays, in 1986. This value-priced offering is soft and fleshy, with supple fig, apricot, anise and smoky oak flavors. Well-priced, —James Laube
This Chilean Merlot is polished, with currant, black cherry, smoke and mineral notes and a focused finish. With a touch more development, it'll be a solid drink, at a bargain price. Drink now through 2003. Best Buy.
For a complete look at the past —James Molesworth
Looking for a solid red that's affordable too? This Syrah is firm, offering beef, spice, black cherry, currant and chocolate flavors, while tannins, toasty oak and herbal notes linger on the finish. Drink now through 2005. 10,000 cases made. Best Buy.
Bright and juicy, vivid with citrus, nectarine and creamy aromas and flavors, finishing smooth and polished, this Australian Chardonnay appeals to both palate and pocketbook. Drink now through 2005. 40,000 cases made. Best Buy. —Harvey Steiman
Light, dry and fruity white at a try-me price, refreshing for its citrusy apple and herb flavors, which echo gently on the soft finish. Drink now. 50,000 cases made. Best Buy. —Harvey Steiman
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