daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Nov. 23, 2005: HEIDSIECK MONOPOLE Brut Champagne Blue Top NV NV (89 points, $30)

Honey, baking bread, citrus and hazelnut mingle in the creamy texture, all balanced by bright acidity. Good harmony and a moderate aftertaste of honey on whole wheat toast. Drink now through 2007. 200,000 cases made. —Bruce Sanderson

Nov. 22, 2005: ANDRÉ & MIREILLE TISSOT Arbois Sélection 2002 (89 points, $23)

Enticing, with walnut, candied lemon peel, apricot, blanched almond, graham and buttered brioche aromas and flavors. Long, stony finish is backed by a tingling orange zest hint. Chardonnay and Savagnin. Drink now through 2006. 1,500 cases made. —James Molesworth

Nov. 21, 2005: QUINTA DO VALE MEÃO Douro Meandro 2002 (89 points, $20)

Sinewy, with well-structured flavors of dark plum, French roast, mineral and tobacco leaf. If you are tired of the oaky, jammy style and are looking for a distinctive flavor profile, this is your wine. Drink now through 2007. 6,916 cases made. —Kim Marcus

Nov. 19, 2005: BODEGAS HNOS. PÉREZ PASCUAS Ribera del Duero Viña Pedrosa 2003 (89 points, $22)

Floral and berry notes accent the core of black cherry fruit and give this red a distinctive elegance, backed by lively acidity, firm but fine tannins and smoky oak. It's balanced and graceful. Drink now through 2009. 10,800 cases made. —Thomas Matthews

Nov. 18, 2005: DOMAINE DE MONTAHUC Muscat de St.-Jean-de-Minervois 2002 (89 points, $17/500ml)

Beautiful expression of a dessert-style Muscat, with peach, mineral and marzipan flavors. Fresh, balanced, and crisp; this needs a good crème brûlée. Drink now. 4,000 cases made. —Kim Marcus

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