daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Sep. 15, 2004: VALENTÍN BIANCHI Cabernet Sauvignon San Rafael Famiglia 2002 (91 points, $18)

The lush cassis and raspberry fruit is surrounded by cocoa, spice and toast notes. The fruit really pumps through the finish, offset by a mineral note that adds further dimension. Elegant, and well put together. Drink now through 2008. 6,000 cases made. S —James Molesworth

Sep. 11, 2004: CIMICKY Shiraz Barossa Valley Trumps 2002 (89 points, $17)

Supple, round and generous, with a gently spicy edge to the toasty blackberry and cherry flavors, all of it persisting onto a long finish. Needs to resolve some of the oak and tannins. Best after 2006. 5,000 cases made. Smart Buys. From Australia. —Harvey Steiman

Aug. 30, 2004: DOMAINE DU CLOSEL Savennières Clos du Papillon 2002 (91 points, $27)

This Loire Valley white (made from Chenin Blanc) has an alluring gold-amber color, with ginger root, green almond, fig and orange blossom flavors. Rich and long, with a juicy, yet bracing finish. Drink now through 2008. 1,500 cases made. —James Molesworth

Aug. 28, 2004: ALLAN SCOTT Chardonnay Marlborough 2002 (90 points, $15)

This New Zealand Chardonnay is polished, striking a wonderful balance between ripe, spicy pear and caramel against a lovely zing of acidity, letting the flavors linger persistently. Drink now through 2008. 20,000 cases made. Smart Buys. —Harvey Steiman

Aug. 26, 2004: WORTHY Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Sophia's Cuvee 2001 (93 points, $27)

A newcomer, this Cabernet is appealing for its exuberant display of ripe, fleshy blackberry and wild berry fruit. It adds a pretty touch of floral and cedar nuances before revealing its depth, richness and concentration on a long, persistent, impressive a —James Laube

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