daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Nov. 24, 2003: BODEGAS AS LAXAS Albariño Rias Baixas 2002 (88 points, $17)

From Spain comes this version of the Albariño grape. It's rich and deep, structured and austere, offering melon, smoke, mineral and honey flavors and a long, smoky finish. Better with food than as an aperitif. Drink now through 2005. 15,000 cases made. —Thomas Matthews

Nov. 20, 2003: NEIL ELLIS Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch 2001 (90 points, $20)

There's plenty of raspberry, chocolate and toast notes in this South African Cabernet, with hints of mocha and spice emerging on the finish. Has an herbal edge, but it stretches out nicely while maintaining its drive. Drink now through 2007. 4,000 cases m —James Molesworth

Nov. 18, 2003: KANONKOP Pinotage Simonsberg-Stellenbosch 2001 (91 points, $28)

From South Africa comes this impressive red, with meat and bacony smoke intertwined with rich black cherry, cassis and currant fruit. Long and lush, with dark chocolate notes on the finish. A powerful red with character. The standard-bearer for this grape —James Molesworth

Nov. 14, 2003: ROSENBLUM Zinfandel San Francisco Bay Carla's Vineyards 2001 (92 points, $23)

Dark and chocolaty, with zesty wild berry and blackberry fruit and lots of spice and espresso scents. The long, rich, concentrated aftertaste showcases the exotic fruit flavors. Drink now through 2008. 2,100 cases made. Smart Buys. —James Laube

Nov. 13, 2003: CIMS DE PORRERA Priorat Solanes 2001 (90 points, $25)

A luscious, velvety texture carries plum, toast, spice and licorice flavors in this generous red. Tannins are big, ripe and round, the finish sweet and spicy. Drink now through 2012. 4,700 cases made. Smart Buys. —Thomas Matthews

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