daily wine picks

Less than $15

Nov. 09, 2001: FATTORIA DI BASCIANO Chianti Rufina 1999 (87 points, $11)

Here's an interesting, medium-bodied red, with earthy and smoky plum and berry character upfront, followed by a mineral, almost salty aftertaste. Firm backbone. Needs good, hearty Tuscan food. Good value. Best after 2002. 10,000 cases made. Best Buy. —James Suckling

Nov. 07, 2001: BODEGAS MARTINEZ BUJANDA Rioja Conde de Valdemar Crianzana 1998 (86 points, $10)

Toasty oak notes add interest to the plum and tobacco flavors in this chunky Rioja. Ripe tannins give it the structure to match with food. Drink now through 2004. 75,000 cases made. Best Buy.

For a complete look at Spain, be sure to check out our a —Thomas Matthews

Nov. 01, 2001: BODEGAS ESCORIHUELA Malbec Mendoza Don Miguel Gascón 2000 (88 points, $10)

This winery, owned by Argentina's Nicolás Catena, has made a name for itself with its consistently excellent values. This latest Malbec release, from winemaker Estella Perinetti, is sweet, fleshy and succulent, with blackberry, blueberry and bramble note —James Molesworth

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

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