daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Oct. 29, 2002: THELEMA Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch 2002 (88 points, $16)

Owner and winemaker Gyles Webb has this estate among the best in South Africa today. Known for a superb Cabernet Sauvignon, Thelema also produces fine Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and the estate recently added Shiraz to its lineup. The '02 Sauv —James Molesworth

Oct. 26, 2002: NEWTON Claret Napa Valley 1999 (90 points, $22)

A supple, elegant style, with a range of herb, currant and green olive that offers complexity, picking up anise, earth and mineral flavors. Pleasantly balanced on the finish. A wine of grace and delicacy. Drink now through 2009. 9,800 cases made. Smart B —James Laube

Oct. 23, 2002: MULDERBOSCH Faithful Hound Stellenbosch 2000 (90 points, $23)

This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc is the best version yet from Mulderbosch. Winemaker Mike Dobrovic has this estate at the forefront of South Africa's burgeoning wine scene. Full-bodied, with ripe currant and blackberry f —James Molesworth

Oct. 18, 2002: CIMS DE PORRERA Priorat Solanes 2000 (90 points, $24)

Priorat continues to emerge as one of Spain's most distinctive wine regions. This offering is thick and rich, with muscular, ripe plum and cassis flavors framed by coffee and chocolate oak notes. It sacrifices refinement for power, but has such lush flavo —Thomas Matthews

Oct. 15, 2002: DE BRUYNE Brut Champagne Cuvée Absolue NV NV (92 points, $27)

Made from equals parts of the three main Champagne grapes (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay), this offering is bold and muscular, with concentrated honey, biscuit and beef bouillon notes weaving through the dense texture. Long and complex, it ends —Bruce Sanderson

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