daily wine picks

Less than $15

Feb. 18, 2001: MCDOWELL Syrah Mendocino (87 points, $12)

Starts with leather and herbal notes, then slides into ripe black cherry and blueberry flavors, underscored by firm tannins. Drink now through 2005. 14,500 cases made. —James Laube

Feb. 16, 2001: GALLO OF SONOMA Chardonnay Sonoma County (87 points, $11)

This winery continues to crank out solid, well-priced wines. This '99 Chardonnay serves up lots of lively, refreshingly clean and pure apple, pear, melon and spice notes, with no oak intrusions. Drink now through 2002. Plenty to go around. 500,000 cases m —James Laube

Feb. 13, 2001: BANROCK STATION Chardonnay South Eastern Australia 2000 (85 points, $7)

Here's another easy-to-find and easy-on-the-wallet Chardonnay from Australia. Light and citrusy, more like a Sauvignon Blanc than a Chardonnay, but crisply balanced and fragrant. Drink now. 200,000 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Feb. 11, 2001: DE BORTOLI Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Merlot Victoria Windy Peak (87 points, $12)

This Aussie three-grape blend is smooth and supple, with nicely focused black cherry, spice and herb notes mingling on the round finish. Generous in flavor and approachable now. Drink now through 2004. 20,000 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Feb. 08, 2001: TORTOISE CREEK Syrah-Mourvèdre Vin de Pays d\'Oc Les Amoureux 1999 (86 points, $7)

From the Pays d'Oc region in the south of France comes this solid little blend of two grapes. It's a lively, peppery, medium-bodied red, with plum and berry flavors that linger appealingly on the finish. Drink now. —Kim Marcus

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