daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Dec. 13, 2004: TORRE DEI BEATI Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Vigneto Cocciapazza 2001 (88 points, $26)

Round and velvety, with tobacco, earthy and decadent fruit character. Full-bodied, medium finish. A bit funky but I like this. Drink now. 1,400 cases made. From Abruzzi, Italy. —James Suckling

Dec. 11, 2004: ANTINORI Chardonnay Umbria Castello della Sala 2003 (88 points, $15)

Very elegant Chardonnay, with apple, pie crust and light honey aromas, with a pretty floral mineral underlay. Medium-bodied, with a well-balanced, lightly spicy palate and finish. Drink now. 16,600 cases made. From Umbria, Italy.

Dec. 10, 2004: VIÑA CARMEN Petite Sirah Maipo Valley Reserve 2002 (88 points, $17)

Dark currant fruit, spice and bacon aromas and flavors run through this big, chewy red, with tar, pepper and bittersweet chocolate notes on the finish. If you like 'em hearty… Drink now through 2005. 1,300 cases made. From Chile. —James Molesworth

Dec. 09, 2004: AURELIO SETTIMO Barolo 2000 (90 points, $28)

A silky and refined red with blackberry and tobacco character, medium body and a clean finish. Beauty. Good value. Best after 2006. 570 cases made. From Italy. —James Suckling

Dec. 08, 2004: CHATEAU SOUVERAIN Syrah Alexander Valley 2002 (89 points, $20)

Serves up a lively array of zesty wild berry, blueberry, cranberry and plummy notes that are rich and concentrated, tightly focused, long and detailed, ending with rich, concentrated tannins. Drink now through 2009. 3,300 cases made. From California. —James Laube

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