daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Aug. 27, 2005: AMANI Chardonnay Stellenbosch 2003 (88 points, $16)

Plump and juicy, with lots of apple, fig, toast and spice notes. Lush, fruit-filled finish. A crowd pleaser. Drink now. 2,000 cases made. —James Molesworth

Aug. 26, 2005: BERNARDUS Chardonnay Monterey County 2003 (88 points, $20)

Rich, in an understated style, with a mix of ripe pear, fig and apricot flavors shaded by light toasty oak that gives it a slight butterscotch edge, gaining complexity on the finish. Drink now. 25,000 cases made. —James Laube

Aug. 25, 2005: DOMAINE RICHAUD Côtes du Rhône-Villages Cairanne 2003 (89 points, $22)

This wine offers a big, ripe core of blackberry and boysenberry fruit flavors, with ripe tannins and suave mocha and mineral notes. Round, fleshy finish echoes with fruit. Drink now through 2006. —James Molesworth

Aug. 24, 2005: W.H. SMITH WINES Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2004 (89 points, $24)

Ripe and zesty, with a tasty range of wild berry and blackberry fruit that's well-defined. Turns elegant and supple on the palate, with enough tannin to merit short-term cellaring. Drink now through 2008. 1,467 cases made. —James Laube

Aug. 23, 2005: JEAN-MAURICE RAFFAULT Chinon Clos d'Isoré 2003 (89 points, $18)

Not as opulent as most '03 reds, as mineral, chalk and olive notes lead the way for black cherry and briar flavors. Nice, firm, tobacco-tinged finish. Drink now through 2006. 1,200 cases made. —James Molesworth

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