daily wine picks

Less than $15

Mar. 06, 2000: BODEGAS ESMERALDA Chardonnay Mendoza Alamos Ridge 1998 (86 points, $10)

The best Argentinean Chardonnay in our current report, and quite affordable as well. It's broad-shouldered in frame, with waxy, toasty aromas and a soft, plush texture carrying the ripe apple and hazelnut flavors through the lengthy, stylish finish. Drink —Kim Marcus

Mar. 04, 2000: CONCHA Y TORO Merlot Rapel Valley Casillero del Diablo 1998 (86 points, $10)

A plush, well-sculpted Merlot from a reputable and value-conscious Chilean winery, this features fairly intense flavors of red plum and currant and well-integrated, dark spice notes that linger on the finish. Drink now through 2002. 12,000 cases imported. —Kim Marcus

Feb. 29, 2000: VILLA DEL BORGO Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli 1998 (86 points, $8)

Here—s a solid Pinot Grigio at a nice price, coming from northeast Italy. Lots of apple, cream and almond add character to this lovely, medium-bodied white, along with a caressing texture and a fruity finish. Quite a nice ensemble for such a low price. —James Suckling

Feb. 26, 2000: BORGO MAGREDO Pinot Grigio Grave del Friuli 1998 (87 points, $10)

There—s more to Italy than just Chianti and Barolo. From the Northeast region come many solid white wines, including this well-priced Pinot Grigio. Beautiful freshness of mineral, honey and apple. Medium-bodied, with lively acidity and a long mineral fi —James Suckling

Feb. 24, 2000: FARALLON Chardonnay Central Coast 1998 (88 points, $10)

Here's a very good California Chardonnay at a great price. A mouthful of vanilla and lush tropical flavors that really persist on the finish, turning lemony. Drink now through 2004. 22,000 cases made. —James Laube

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