daily wine picks

Less than $15

Jun. 23, 2000: FARALLON Merlot North Coast 1997 (85 points, $10)

Merlot you crave? This one's not only delicious, it's reasonably priced. The chocolate, dill and black cherry flavors are ripe-tasting, and the intensity and soft tannins combine nicely with vanilla notes on the finish. Drink now through 2004. 22,750 case —James Laube

Jun. 20, 2000: GALLO OF SONOMA Chardonnay Sonoma County (86 points, $11)

This young California white provides good drinking at a budget-minding price, offering vibrant lemon and pineapple flavors of intense focus, enhanced with smoky oak notes. Drink now. 100,000 cases made. —James Laube

Jun. 19, 2000: COLUMBIA CREST Chardonnay Columbia Valley Estate Series 1998 (90 points, $12)

A complex, creamy Washington white, rich, long and generous, dripping with pear, honey, nutmeg and clove, the flavors lingering enticingly. Delicious already; drink now through 2003. 30,000 cases made. —James Laube

Jun. 16, 2000: COLUMBIA CREST Chardonnay Columbia Valley (87 points, $9)

From Washington comes this easy-to-find and easy-to-afford Chardonnay. It's bright in flavor, supple in texture and brimming with pineapple, cream and spice notes that harmonize nicely through the generous finish. Drink now through 2003. 735,000 cases mad —James Laube

Jun. 13, 2000: HOGUE Chardonnay Columbia Valley (85 points, $10)

What a deal on this lean, lively and wallet-friendly Washington Chardonnay. Its nice pear flavors have a minerally edge, and the finish shows a lovely touch of creaminess. Drink now. 80,000 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

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