daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Jun. 20, 2002: BODEGAS ESMERALDA Chardonnay Mendoza Catena Agrelo Vineyards 2000 (90 points, $17)

Nicolás Catena and his winemaker José Galante keep cranking out delicious Argentinean wines in large quantities at moderate prices. This Chardonnay is delicious stuff. Juicy, with fig, pineapple and pear flavors, fat texture, and a long, bright finish t —James Molesworth

May. 24, 2002: JACKSON Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough 2001 (90 points, $15)

New Zealand has built a reputation for itself based on their Sauvignon Blancs, and this is a prime example. A particularly generous Sauvignon Blanc that jumps with ripe pear, citrus and passion fruit aromas and flavors, remarkable for its intensity and fr —Harvey Steiman

May. 09, 2002: FAIRVIEW Coastal Region Primo Pinotage 2000 (91 points, $24)

This Pinotage (a grape made from a cross of Pinot Noir and Cinsault) is as impressive as I've seen from the Coastal Region of South Africa. Lots of fruit, blackberry and raspberry, with opulent smoke, coffee and chocolate notes coming in on the finish. B —James Molesworth

May. 01, 2002: CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Merlot Columbia Valley Canoe Ridge Estate Vineyard 1999 (91 points, $23)

There's plenty of this outstanding Washington Merlot to go around. Rich, round and generous with its ripe blackberry, cherry and sweet spice flavors, which echo beautifully on the velvety finish. Drink now through 2006. 10,000 cases made. Spectator Selec —Harvey Steiman

Apr. 27, 2002: CHÂTEAU STE.-EULALIE Minervois La Liviniére La Cantilène 1999 (89 points, $16)

Medium-bodied and well-balanced, with flavors of dark plum, cassis and dark cherry, and notes of coffee, as well. Good, medium-grained tannins are framed by meaty notes on the finish. Needs time. Best from 2003 through 2006. 2,500 cases made.

—Kim Marcus

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