daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Oct. 19, 2004: J. LASSALLE Brut Champagne NV NV (90 points, $30)

An extremely distinctive Champagne. An intense red berry note pervades, with shades of citrus and ginger adding complexity. It's dry and vividly structured, with a lean, intense finish. Not typical, but very tasty. Drink now. From France. —Bruce Sanderson

Oct. 18, 2004: VILLA BRANCA Chianti Classico Riserva 2001 (90 points, $22)

Solid, tasty red, with Indian spices, red and dark berries and mineral aromas and flavors. Medium-bodied, with fine tannins and a spicy finish. Drink now. 2,200 cases made. From Italy. —James Suckling

Oct. 16, 2004: FAMILIA RUTINI Chardonnay Tupungato Felipe Rutini 2002 (89 points, $16)

This offers bold aromas of pineapple, cherimoya and toast, followed by notes of hazelnut, honey, pear and fig. Despite all its plump, tropical notes, it has fine, minerally acidity driving its finish. Delicious. Drink now through 2005. 1,000 cases importe —James Molesworth

Oct. 15, 2004: SEBASTIANI Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County 2001 (89 points, $17)

An excellent value. Ripe, opulent, rich and fleshy, with creamy vanilla-scented oak, cookie dough, black currant and blackberry flavors that are well-focused, balanced and showing fine-grained tannins on the finish. Drink now through 2007. 47,500 cases ma —James Laube

Oct. 14, 2004: ARTESA Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Reserve 2002 (90 points, $20)

A markedly rich, creamy and complex Sauvignon, with concentrated citrus, lemon, herb and tangerine flavors that pick up a tasty hint of sage and lemongrass on the finish. Lively acidity keeps the flavor clean and vibrant. Drink now through 2007. 3,534 cas —James Laube

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