daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Mar. 05, 2004: CHÂTEAU HAUT-BAGES-LIBÉRAL Pauillac 2001 (91 points, $20)

Black cherries with fresh basil on the nose open to a full-bodied palate, with velvety tannins and a medium finish. A solid wine with a good core of fruit and tannins. Best after 2008. 10,000 cases made. Smart Buys. From France. —James Suckling

Mar. 05, 2004: TENUTA LE VELETTE Umbria Calanco 2000 (89 points, $18)

Extremely pretty, with currant and blackberry character and hints of toasty oak. Medium- to full-bodied, with fine tannins and a long finish. Best after 2006. 1,300 cases made. —James Suckling

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

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