daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Apr. 08, 2002: PINE RIDGE Chardonnay Napa Valley Carneros Dijon Clones 2000 (91 points, $25)

Here's a bold mouthful of Chardonnay that packs in lots of rich, complex flavors that are concentrated and deep. Smoky toasty oak, pear, fig, sage and anise turn thick and buttery. Drink now through 2006. 15,000 cases made. Spectator Selection. —James Laube

Apr. 02, 2002: CHATEAU SOUVERAIN Merlot Alexander Valley 1999 (92 points, $17)

Chateau Souverain has a track record for producing large quantities of solid wine at reasonable prices. Its '99 Merlot is rich and spicy, with exotic chocolate, black cherry, plum, nutmeg and light toasty, mocha-scented oak and coffee grounds. Elegant, c —James Laube

Apr. 01, 2002: HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 1999 (92 points, $25)

The '99 California Cabernets are starting to come out, and the early returns are good. This bottling from Hanna is deceptively sleek, rich and polished for all its youthful vitality and intensity. Packed with rich currant, cherry, mocha and coffee flavors —James Laube

Mar. 23, 2002: CHÂTEAU SOCIANDO-MALLET Haut-Médoc 1999 (90 points, $23)

Always a solid value, the '99 Sociando-Mallet displays very good concentration for the vintage. Aromatic, with plum, currant and tar character, the wine is medium- to full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a medium finish. Super buy. Best after 2003. 21,66 —James Suckling

Mar. 09, 2002: CHÂTEAU D'ARMAILHAC Pauillac 1999 (90 points, $21)

Here's a superb value in '99 Bordeaux. Gorgeous aromas of blackberries, violets and currants lead to this full-bodied wine with velvety tannins. Lovely finish delivers a juicy berry aftertaste. One of the best buys of the vintage. Best after 2004. 16,000 —James Suckling

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