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daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Apr. 17, 2004: KELLER Chardonnay Sonoma Coast La Cruz Vineyard 2002 (92 points, $28)

Firm and concentrated, this wine exhibits a vibrant core of ripe pear, cream, hazelnut and nutmeg flavors that fold together nicely, holding a tight focus and finishing with a long beam of ripe, juicy, lively fruit. Another excellent offering from this up —James Laube

Apr. 16, 2004: ACACIA Pinot Noir Napa Valley-Carneros 2000 (90 points, $20)

Intense and vibrant, with a firm tannic backbone to the core of earthy blackberry and wild berry fruit. Tightens on the finish, with a hint of clove and cedary oak, at times flexing its muscles yet also offering concentration and depth. Drink now through —James Laube

Apr. 09, 2004: MURPHY-GOODE Fumé Blanc Alexander Valley Reserve 2001 (89 points, $17)

Vibrant and concentrated, with a bright beam of grass, passion fruit, lemon-lime and gooseberry character. Tart citrus and vanilla linger on the refreshing finish. Drink now through 2005. 18,650 cases made. From California.

Apr. 07, 2004: VIÑA MONTES Chardonnay Casablanca Valley Alpha 2002 (90 points, $20)

Classy Chardonnay, with fig, Bosc pear, hazelnut and toast notes that are ripe and rich, yet elegant as well. Fine acidity runs seamlessly beneath it all. Lengthy finish. Drink now through 2005. 15,000 cases made. Smart Buys. From Chile. —James Molesworth

Mar. 24, 2004: THOMAS-LABAILLE Sancerre Les Monts Damnés 2002 (92 points, $20)

A rapier, this racy Sancerre features citrus peel, peach, lemon pound cake, lime and mineral notes on a crunchy, vibrant texture. Tangy and precise on the finish, with a lovely lemon zest edge. Drink now through 2005. Smart Buys. From France. —James Molesworth

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