daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Mar. 03, 2004: CHÂTEAU D'AGASSAC Haut-Médoc 2001 (89 points, $19)

This is very pretty, with plum and currant character on the nose and palate. Medium-bodied, with velvety tannins and a sweet fruit finish. Delicious. Best after 2008. 13,750 cases made. Smart Buys. From France. —James Suckling

Feb. 27, 2004: VIÑA CARMEN Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley Reserve 2002 (88 points, $15)

Quite rich, yet stays fresh, with zesty lemon curd, orange blossom and straw flavors and a bouncy finish. Delicious. Drink now. 7,800 cases made. From Chile. —James Molesworth

Feb. 24, 2004: VIÑA SANTA RITA Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley Medalla Real Special Reserve 2000 (88 points, $18)

Traditional in style, with lots of dried currant, tar, loam and coffee notes, this still has plenty of guts, with firm but ripe tannins holding sway over the finish. A bit brutish, but should come alive with a hearty cassoulet. Drink now through 2005. 23, —James Molesworth

Feb. 21, 2004: CONCHA Y TORO Carmenère Cachapoal Valley Terrunyo 2001 (91 points, $29)

Lovely purity here, with vivid raspberry and boysenberry fruit that is voluptuous yet elegant. Creamy texture picks up some muscle as it moves along, and sweet toast, tobacco and dark chocolate notes chime in as well. Long finish. Shows how lovely this gr —James Molesworth

Feb. 14, 2004: JUSTIN Syrah Paso Robles 2001 (90 points, $23)

Ripe and balanced, with inviting depth and supple texture to black cherry, game, mineral and toasty oak tones. Spice, roasted herb and round tannins shape a concentrated finish. Drink now through 2008. 3,900 cases made. Smart Buys. From California. —James Laube

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