daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Nov. 03, 2004: RIDGE Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Vineyard 2002 (91 points, $30)

A rich, full-bodied, mouthfilling style, with intense, concentrated layers of spice, hazelnut, pear and fig, holding a tight focus and finishing with a long, persistent aftertaste that picks up a trace of cedar on the finish. Drink now through 2007. 1,000 —James Laube

Nov. 02, 2004: RAATS Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch 2003 (89 points, $21)

Subtle at first, but layers of persimmon, orange blossom, white peach and minerals develop steadily in the glass, while showing length and concentration on the finish. Drink now through 2005. 300 cases made. From South Africa. —James Molesworth

Nov. 01, 2004: DOMINIO DEL PLATA Syrah-Bonarda Mendoza Crios de Susana Balbo 2003 (89 points, $15)

Lovely fruit here--plum and cassis--with sweet vanilla, violet and spice notes that add dimension. Round and creamy throughout, with a long, fruit-filled finish. Drink now through 2005. 4,500 cases made. From Argentina. —James Molesworth

Oct. 29, 2004: CHARLES DE CAZANOVE Brut Champagne Cazanova NV NV (88 points, $28)

A medium-bodied, assertive fizz, this offers pencil shaving, orange and berry notes in a firmly structured profile. Balanced toward the acidity, with good length. Drink now through 2008. 1,200 cases made. From France. —Bruce Sanderson

Oct. 28, 2004: FATTORIA DI FELSINA Chianti Classico Riserva 2001 (88 points, $26)

Plenty of blackberry and cherry character with hints of mineral. Medium- to full-bodied, with fresh fruit and a clean finish. Slightly closed. Best after 2004. 3,300 cases made. From Italy. —James Suckling

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