daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Aug. 17, 2005: BODEGAS ALEJANDRO FERNANDEZ La Mancha El Vínculo Crianza 2002 (89 points, $25)

This dark-colored wine is brimming with dark flavors--earth, mineral, plum, coffee--that mingle effortlessly in a racy texture. The fine tannins and smoky oak are well-integrated, and the wine dances to a long, smoky finish. Drink now through 2010. —Thomas Matthews

Aug. 16, 2005: CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Chardonnay Columbia Valley Canoe Ridge Estate 2003 (89 points, $20)

Bright and tangy, with a peppery edge to citrus and apple flavors, wrapped in a light veil of creamy texture as the finish lingers. Drink now. 5,500 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Aug. 15, 2005: CHÂTEAU BELLES EAUX Coteaux du Languedoc Fûts de Chêne 2003 (89 points, $17)

Effusive red from the south of France, with rich and lively crushed red fruit aromas and intense red plum, mocha, blueberry and spice flavors. A concentrated finish of mocha, cream and Swiss chocolate flavors. Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Carignane. Dr —Kim Marcus

Aug. 13, 2005: RIDGE Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Lytton Springs 2003 (90 points, $30)

Excellent structure, with tight, mineral-edged tannins and a core of zesty wild berry and black cherry flavors that are firm and concentrated. It's almost Bordeaux-like in its balance and restraint. Drink now through 2009. 10,000 cases made. —James Laube

Aug. 12, 2005: DOMAINE LE COLOMBIER Vacqueyras Cuvée G. 2003 (89 points, $22)

Lots of suave spice and vanilla notes on the nose, backed by supple blackberry and black cherry fruit flavors. Shows tar and mineral notes on the dark finish, but stays long and stylish. A very intriguing wine. Drink now through 2007. 600 cases made. —James Molesworth

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