daily wine picks


$15 to $30

May. 18, 2005: LANDMARK Syrah Sonoma Valley Steel Plow El Farolito Vineyard 2002 (90 points, $22)

Dark, immense and deeply concentrated, with a complex, penetrating range of white pepper, beef carpaccio, plum and wild berry, supported by a firm, dry layer of tannins that make decanting a necessity. Best from 2007 through 2013. 880 cases made. —James Laube

May. 17, 2005: FRÉDÉRIC ESMONIN Gevrey-Chambertin Clos Prieur 2002 (91 points, $27)

Tight now, with vibrant acidity and firm tannins wrapped around a core of pure cherry. Balanced and elegant, with freshness and a long finish. Best from 2007 through 2020. 150 cases imported. —Bruce Sanderson

May. 16, 2005: BENNETT LANE Maximus Napa Valley 2002 (90 points, $28)

Ripe, intense and concentrated, with loamy earth, ripe currant and wild berry. Shows hints of cedar, anise and sage and chewy tannins. Finishes with a bit of heat, but that's a minor point given all the flavor. Much to admire, including the price. Caberne —James Laube

May. 14, 2005: DE TRAFFORD Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2003 (90 points, $25)

Bright and bracing, with honeycomb, white peach, chamomile and mineral notes that race through the finish. Bony, but with lots of fruit. What Chenin does best. Drink now through 2006. 112 cases imported. —James Molesworth

May. 13, 2005: WOLF BLASS Chardonnay Adelaide Hills Gold Label 2004 (89 points, $21)

Aims for delicacy and harmony instead of power, achieving a seductive balance of creamy pear and apple flavors with a deft touch of oak as the finish lingers. Drink now through 2007. 3,000 cases imported. —Harvey Steiman

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