daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Aug. 20, 2005: ORIEL Côtes du Rhône Courant 2003 (89 points, $15)

This is Côtes du Rhône? Thick and crammed with dark plum and currant fruit, along with tar, cocoa and mineral notes. A bit of a brute now, but this should blossom in time for fall barbecue fare. Drink now through 2006. Tasted twice, with consistent note —James Molesworth

Aug. 19, 2005: GÉRARD BERTRAND Minervois Terroir Les Matins d'Aurore 2003 (89 points, $15)

Meaty, seductive style, with loads of brambly flavors. Medium- to full-bodied, with a deep well of mocha, cream and peppery spices on the finish. Drink now. 10,000 cases made. —Kim Marcus

Aug. 18, 2005: DOMAINE COURBIS St.-Joseph White 2003 (89 points, $26)

Open-knit, with peach, cantaloupe and floral flavors supported by a fine minerality. Shows nice acidity on the finish. 500 cases made. —James Molesworth

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

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