daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Dec. 18, 2002: BODEGA CATENA ZAPATA Chardonnay Mendoza Catena Agrelo Vineyards 2001 (90 points, $20)

Nicolás Catena leads the way in Argentina, with a rare combination of both quality and quantity. Lovely purity and balance here, with ripe flavors of fig and pear backed up by floral and toast notes that are harmonious through the finish. Juicy texture k —James Molesworth

Dec. 17, 2002: ST.-URBANS-HOF Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Piesporter Goldtröpfchen 2001 (95 points, $20)

Riesling lovers know to get in line for the '01 German bottlings, such as this one from St.-Urbans-Hof. Ample, rich and offering a range of flavors from violet to cinnamon, nutmeg, citrus and slate that permeate a sturdy, lightweight structure, this is co —Bruce Sanderson

Dec. 16, 2002: JEAN-MARC BROCARD Chablis Montmains 2000 (89 points, $24)

Chablis enjoyed a fine vintage in 2000, from which this offering by Brocard is a excellent example. Good concentration and a rich texture highlight this honey- and lemon-laced white. It's all underscored by a racy structure, which is hidden in the youthfu —Bruce Sanderson

Dec. 03, 2002: PACIFIC ECHO Brut Mendocino County NV NV (89 points, $19)

Here's a fine buy in sparkling wine in time for the holidays, from the company that used to be known as Scharffenberger. Ripe and round, intense and concentrated, with floral, vanilla, spicy apple and toast overtones that linger with mocha notes in a live —James Laube

Nov. 27, 2002: CONDADO DE HAZA Ribera del Duero 2000 (89 points, $20)

This balanced Spanish red from Pesquera's Alejandro Fernandez marries sweet, toasty oak with ripe plum and blackberry flavors in a muscular yet luscious texture. The long finish echoes with black fruit and spices. Best from 2003 through 2010. 60,000 cases —Thomas Matthews

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