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daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Dec. 15, 2005: EMMANUEL DARNAUD Crozes-Hermitage Les Trois Chènes 2003 (89 points, $25)

Dark and racy, with lots of blueberry, violet, tar and iron notes. Long, smoky finish is a touch firm, but plenty of fruit for sure. Drink now through 2010. 1,100 cases made. —James Molesworth

Dec. 14, 2005: MATETIC Syrah San Antonio EQ 2003 (90 points, $25)

Heady, with lots of black cherry, blackberry, bramble, tobacco and grilled beef aromas and flavors. Lots of toast, but very juicy, with thick layers of fruit pumping through the finish. Love its character. Drink now through 2006. 360 cases imported. —James Molesworth

Dec. 13, 2005: VIÑA COBOS Malbec Mendoza El Felino 2004 (89 points, $25)

Lush and ripe, with lots of blackberry and boysenberry fruit gliding along suave mocha and spice notes. Creamy finish. Drink now through 2007. 7,380 cases made. —James Molesworth

Dec. 12, 2005: WILLAKENZIE Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2003 (90 points, $23)

Crisp in texture, a bit raw around the edges but it's bursting with spicy blackberry and cherry flavors, hinting at an herbal note as the finish sails on. Drink now through 2012. 5,745 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Dec. 10, 2005: ERATH Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Estate Selection 2002 (91 points, $30)

Lithe, polished and distinctive for the roasted plum nuance to the blueberry and currant flavors, picking up delicate hints of pepper and spice as the finish sails on and on. Tannins are well-submerged. Best from 2006 through 2014. 1,040 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

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