daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Jul. 25, 2005: BODEGAS SIERRA CANTABRIA Rioja Cuvée Especial 2001 (89 points, $25)

Plush in texture yet focused in flavor, this red shows black cherry and currant flavors that are ripe but lively, backed by toasty oak and accents of minerals and herbs. Drink now through 2010. 2,000 cases imported. —Thomas Matthews

Jul. 23, 2005: SPADINA Nero d'Avola Sicilia Una Rosa 2002 (90 points, $16)

Dark, full-bodied and chewy, with meaty blackberry and mineral character. Medium- to full-bodied, with good, solid tannins and a long finish. Well done. Best after 2005. 1,500 cases made. —James Suckling

Jul. 22, 2005: BODEGA Y VIÑEDOS CASTRO VENTOSA Bierzo El Castro de Valtuille 2002 (90 points, $25)

This lively red maintains a taut balance of firm tannins and crisp acidity, which support fresh, clean flavors of tart cherry, strawberry and herbs. Not huge, but well-proportioned. Drink now through 2009. 1,000 cases imported. —Thomas Matthews

Jul. 21, 2005: FOX CREEK Shiraz-Grenache McLaren Vale 2003 (89 points, $17)

A lively, juicy style, with gorgeous, ripe blueberry, plum, blackberry and peppery spice flavors, finishing with an appealingly lissome texture. A come-hither wine; nicely done. Drink now through 2008. 900 cases imported. —Harvey Steiman

Jul. 20, 2005: WHITEHALL LANE Merlot Napa Valley 2002 (90 points, $26)

An impressive Merlot, with a dark, rich, concentrated core of flavors dominated by earthy currant, blackberry, cedar, anise and pencil lead notes. Tight and focused, this wine has excellent balance and a complex finish. Drink now through 2010. 10,480 case —James Laube

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