daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Nov. 08, 2004: MINER Chardonnay Napa Valley 2002 (90 points, $25)

This wine grows on you, gaining richness and depth of flavor at midpalate and on the finish, with spicy nutmeg, ginger, honeysuckle and pear flavors that slowly win you over. Very complex yet light on its feet. Drink now. 3,000 cases made. From California —James Laube

Nov. 06, 2004: BUITENVERWACHTING Chardonnay Constantia 2003 (90 points, $19)

Chiseled Chardonnay, with the pear, mango and peach flavors inlaid with mineral and floral notes that define the lengthy finish. Should age nicely too. Drink now through 2006. 3,500 cases made. From South Africa. —James Molesworth

Nov. 05, 2004: HAMILTON RUSSELL Chardonnay Walker Bay 2003 (91 points, $25)

With lovely pear tartine, floral, matchstick and grilled nut aromas and flavors, this is lushly layered and ripe with enough minerality underneath to keep the extra mango and dried pineapple notes driving through the lengthy finish. Drink now through 2006 —James Molesworth

Nov. 04, 2004: SEGHESIO Zinfandel Sonoma County Old Vine 2002 (91 points, $30)

Firm, tight and concentrated, with a rich beam of complex raspberry, blackberry, wild berry and floral scents that give it a wide range of flavors, yet it has a great backbone of acidity and tannins, and the flavors push through on the finish. Drink now t —James Laube

Nov. 03, 2004: RIDGE Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains Estate Vineyard 2002 (91 points, $30)

A rich, full-bodied, mouthfilling style, with intense, concentrated layers of spice, hazelnut, pear and fig, holding a tight focus and finishing with a long, persistent aftertaste that picks up a trace of cedar on the finish. Drink now through 2007. 1,000 —James Laube

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