daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Sep. 29, 2003: HAMILTON RUSSELL Chardonnay Walker Bay 2002 (91 points, $25)

Owner Anthony Hamilton Russell oversees the production of one of South Africa's best Chardonnays (if not the best) in the cool-climate region of Walker Bay. The '02 version is loaded with toast, smoke and grilled nut aromas that are captivating, wi —James Molesworth

Sep. 27, 2003: ROSEMOUNT Shiraz Mudgee Hill of Gold 2001 (90 points, $17)

Brighter, livelier and juicier than most Australian Shiraz, a vibrant wine with crisp blackberry, plum and vaguely leafy-herbal flavors that persist beautifully on the harmonious finish. Drink now through 2010. 23,000 cases made. Smart Buys. —Harvey Steiman

Sep. 25, 2003: GREG NORMAN ESTATES Cabernet-Merlot Limestone Coast 2001 (89 points, $17)

The pro golfer Greg Norman is running a pretty fine wine operation these days. This latest release is firm in texture, generous with its peppery blackberry and lime flavors, echoing a minty note as the flavors linger. Drink now through 2006. 110,000 cases —Harvey Steiman

Sep. 22, 2003: GLEN CARLOU Grand Classique Paarl 2000 (89 points, $16)

Winemaker David Finlayson produces this dark, brooding red from a South African winery that first made its name with Chardonnay. Dark chocolate and espresso notes hold sway over black currant and cassis fruit, while a thick, muscular texture, and a long c —James Molesworth

Sep. 18, 2003: VIÑA CARMEN Merlot Rapel Valley Reserve 2001 (88 points, $15)

Though it shares the same owner as the traditional Viña Santa Rita winery, Viña Carmen produces wines in a ripe, modern style, made by the winemaking team of Maria del Pilar González and Matias Lecaros. This Merlot is a juicy version, loaded with red a —James Molesworth

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