daily wine picks

Less than $15

Mar. 14, 2001: CALINA Merlot Maule Valley 1999 (85 points, $8)

Nice, bright raspberry and black cherry flavors stay juicy on the smoky finish in this Chilean Merlot. Medium-weight and fresh. Drink now. 15,400 cases made. —James Molesworth

Mar. 10, 2001: MERIDIAN Sauvignon Blanc California 1999 (85 points, $8)

This inexpensive California Sauvignon Blanc is soft and complex, with spicy anise, citrus and creamy pear notes lingering on the finish. Hard to beat at this price, and should be easy to find. Drink now. 30,000 cases made. —James Laube

Mar. 08, 2001: EOLA HILLS Chardonnay Oregon 1998 (87 points, $10)

Known for Pinot Noir, Oregon is also doing well with Burgundy's 'other' varietal -- Chardonnay. Ripe and complex, with hazelnut and tobacco overtones to the citrusy peach notes, finishing with a nice touch of spice as the flavors resonate nicely. Drink no —Harvey Steiman

Feb. 28, 2001: DRY CREEK Fumé Blanc Sonoma County (87 points, $12)

Here an inexpensive California Sauvignon Blanc. Tangy, with bright fig, melon and citrus flavors framed by bracing acidity through the finish. Drink now. 26,000 cases made. —James Laube

Feb. 26, 2001: BODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS SANTIAGO GRAFFIGNA Barbera Tulum Valley Selección Especial 1995 (85 points, $8)

Very dark profile for a Barbera, with roasted coffee bean and plum aromas followed by blackberry flavors. Ambitious and interesting, though lacking a little definition. Drink now. 45,000 cases made. —James Molesworth

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