daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Dec. 15, 2004: MCDOWELL Syrah McDowell Valley Reserve 2002 (88 points, $25)

Lots of ripe, up-front floral and lavender aromas, with spice, wild berry, cedar and black cherry fruit, offering intensity and richness, with firm tannins and a touch of tar and spice. Drink now through 2009. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 1,000 ca —James Laube

Dec. 14, 2004: ODFJELL Carignan Maule Valley Orzada 2002 (88 points, $18)

Tasty dark currant, tobacco, plum sauce and mineral notes run through this fleshy, solid offering. Nice tobacco and fruit-filled finish. Drink now through 2005. 1,350 cases made. From Chile. —James Molesworth

Dec. 13, 2004: TORRE DEI BEATI Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Vigneto Cocciapazza 2001 (88 points, $26)

Round and velvety, with tobacco, earthy and decadent fruit character. Full-bodied, medium finish. A bit funky but I like this. Drink now. 1,400 cases made. From Abruzzi, Italy. —James Suckling

Dec. 11, 2004: ANTINORI Chardonnay Umbria Castello della Sala 2003 (88 points, $15)

Very elegant Chardonnay, with apple, pie crust and light honey aromas, with a pretty floral mineral underlay. Medium-bodied, with a well-balanced, lightly spicy palate and finish. Drink now. 16,600 cases made. From Umbria, Italy.

Dec. 10, 2004: VIÑA CARMEN Petite Sirah Maipo Valley Reserve 2002 (88 points, $17)

Dark currant fruit, spice and bacon aromas and flavors run through this big, chewy red, with tar, pepper and bittersweet chocolate notes on the finish. If you like 'em hearty… Drink now through 2005. 1,300 cases made. From Chile. —James Molesworth

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