daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Mar. 18, 2000: GALLO OF SONOMA Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Barrelli Creek Vineyard 1996 (88 points, $26)

Dark, ripe and rich, with supple blackberry, anise, cedar, tar and wild berry flavors. Tannins are smooth and integrated. Drink now through 2007. Should be easy to find some of 7,067 cases made. —James Laube

Mar. 17, 2000: CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Chardonnay Columbia Valley Reserve 1997 (92 points, $29)

This Washington offering is supple in texture, generous and beautifully proportioned to emphasize its honey and spice-scented pear and sweet orange flavors that echo persistently on the long, long finish. Yummy. Drink now through 2004. 4,500 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Mar. 15, 2000: PINE RIDGE Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford (89 points, $26)

From Napa's reputable Rutherford appellation comes this ripe and elegant Cabernet, displaying spicy black cherry, currant, plum, anise and tar character, turning supple and polished. Drink now through 2008. 15,000 cases made. —James Laube

Mar. 14, 2000: FREIE WEINGÄRTNER WACHAU Riesling Smaragd Trocken Wachau Dürnsteiner Kellerberg 1998 (92 points, $27)

Otherworldly. It's hard to believe these aromas and flavors of licorice, tobacco and Indian spices come from Riesling, yet it's exotic, concentrated, dense and built like a skyscraper. Seemingly impenetrable today, wait until it all comes together; best f —Bruce Sanderson

Mar. 07, 2000: EBERLE Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 1997 (89 points, $25)

This California Cabernet delivers plummy, smoky fruit flavors that are ripe and lush. It reveals complex anise, sage, mineral and leather notes before finishing in a long, rich aftertaste. A very good wine from an appellation that's making strides. Best f —James Laube

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