daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Aug. 06, 2005: PERRIN & FILS Vacqueyras Les Christins 2003 (91 points, $19)

A gorgeous nose of dark fruit confiture and spice cake flavors is followed by a powerful palate of dark fruit, smoke, tar and minerals. Richly layered and densely structured, but with an elegant side as well. Best from 2006 through 2009. 300 cases importe —James Molesworth

Aug. 05, 2005: CHÂTEAU BELLES EAUX Coteaux du Languedoc Sainte Hélène 2003 (90 points, $30)

Boisterous, with rich, luscious flavors of cherry, hot spice and marzipan. This has an exotic cast, with an extended finish filled with chocolate mousse and orange peel. A baby. Best from 2006 through 2010. 500 cases imported. —Kim Marcus

Aug. 04, 2005: SANFORD Pinot Noir Santa Rita Hills 2003 (91 points, $27)

Tightly wound, with a pretty scent of fresh earth woven in with blueberry and blackberry fruit that's rich, dense and concentrated, ending with firm tannins and a dash of lead pencil. Drink now through 2009. 10,000 cases made. —James Laube

Aug. 03, 2005: PERRIN & FILS Côtes du Rhône-Villages Vinsobres Les Cornuds 2003 (91 points, $23)

Deliciously ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit races along fine tannins and fresh acidity, while floral, mineral and tar notes play in the background. Structured, balanced and focused. Drink now through 2007. 900 cases imported. —James Molesworth

Aug. 02, 2005: MÄHLER-BESSE Toro Oro Reserva 1994 (91 points, $18)

This traditional red shows an intriguing mix of spice, raisin, cigar and mineral flavors over a thick, firm texture. Hints of earth and mushroom betray its age, but it still has power and focus. An impressive throwback. Drink now through 2009. 1,500 cases —Thomas Matthews

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