daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Mar. 28, 2005: GIRARD Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2003 (88 points, $20)

Well-balanced, with a mix of ripe apple, spice and hazelnut flavors, but also a touch of cedary oak that's not quite integrated into the wine. Still, it finishes with a complex and well-focused aftertaste. Drink now through 2008. 2,456 cases made. —James Laube

Mar. 26, 2005: CHÂTEAU GRAND CORBIN-DESPAGNE St.-Emilion 2002 (88 points, $15)

Good wine with plum, vanilla and milk chocolate flavors. Medium-bodied, with soft, silky tannins and a long finish. Delicious already. I like this as much as the 2000. Best from 2005 through 2010. 5,665 cases made. —James Suckling

Mar. 25, 2005: GLAETZER Wallace Barossa Valley 2002 (89 points, $20)

Dark, with aromatics that weave Cabernet peppermint and Grenache raspberry through the core of cherry and licorice from Shiraz. Finishes tart, with remarkable grace. Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache. Drink now through 2010. 2,500 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Mar. 24, 2005: CHÂTEAU FOMBRAUGE St.-Emilion 2002 (88 points, $20)

Loads of blackberries, black licorice and berries here. Full-bodied, with loads of smoky oak. Slightly hollow midpalate. Pumped up but I like it. Best after 2006. 11,500 cases made. —James Suckling

Mar. 23, 2005: MUMM NAPA Brut Napa Valley Twenty-Five Years Reserve NV NV (88 points, $25)

Firm and concentrated, with a rich, lively beam of citrus, pear and spicy ginger scents that are well-focused and persistent. The finish gives a cleansing sensation. Drink now through 2008. 8,000 cases made.

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