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Oct. 13, 2001: TORTOISE CREEK Merlot-Cabernet Vin de Pays d'Oc Les Amoureux 2000 (85 points, $8)

France's vast southern Pays d'Oc region can sometimes turn up terrific values. This Merlot-Cabernet blend is fresh-tasting, with nicely defined flavors of red plum, berry and ripe cherry, which linger with peppery notes on the finish. Drink now. 15,000 ca —Kim Marcus

Oct. 12, 2001: RAVAILLE FRÈRES Coteaux du Languedoc Ermitage du Pic St.-Loup 1999 (93 points, $13)

The Coteaux du Languedoc appellation -- and in particular the wines from the Pic St.-Loup part of the Coteaux -- offer some of the Languedoc's top reds. This is an elegant and high-powered red that caresses with lovely flavors of cherry, plum and spice. I —Kim Marcus

Oct. 10, 2001: INDIGO HILLS Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast 1997 (87 points, $13)

This brand line from the Gallo of Sonoma winery tends to offer solid value. This Cabernet from the excellent '97 vintage has violet, underbrush and blackberry flavors that firm up on the finish. Not fleshy, but there's good focus to the flavors. Drink now

Oct. 09, 2001: MONTERRA Merlot Monterey 1998 (85 points, $10)

Here's a good buy in California Merlot, despite the tricky '98 vintage. The black cherry, dried currant, fresh herb and sweet, toasty oak flavors have pleasant depth and soft tannin. And there's plenty to go around. Drink now through 2004. 35,000 cases ma

Oct. 06, 2001: GEORGES DUBOEUF Moulin-à-Vent Domaine de la Tour du Bief 2000 (90 points, $14)

2000 is a super vintage for Beaujolais, and this year's crus from Georges Duboeuf are apt examples of this. Plush, fleshy blackberry and kirsch flavors in this Beaujolais cru, with bittersweet chocolate and smoke notes coming in on the swe

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