daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Feb. 28, 2000: FOPPIANO Petite Sirah Sonoma County (88 points, $18)

Though it has no relation to the similar-sounding Syrah grape, Petite Sirah does offer a similar-spice and black, fruit flavor profile. This release from Foppiano is a ripe and intense red from this underappreciated varietal, offering rich plum, pepper, w —James Laube

Feb. 25, 2000: ANTINORI Umbria Cervaro della Sala (90 points, $28)

From Tuscany—s neighboring region of Umbria comes this Chardonnay and Grechetto blend. Big and ripe, with mango, pineapple and toasted oak galore. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit character and a long tropical fruit aftertaste. Very creamy in texture. Ex —James Suckling

Feb. 21, 2000: MARIETTA Syrah California 1997 (91 points, $16)

Slowly but surely, California is producing excellent wines from Rhone varietals such as Syrah. What a find this release from Marietta is. Tight and firm, with a rich, focused core of plum, black cherry, earth, anise and wild berry. Long, intricate afterta —James Laube

Feb. 19, 2000: GALLO OF SONOMA Chardonnay Russian River Valley Laguna Ranch Vineyard 1997 (91 points, $22)

From a winery that—s been cranking out solid values for a few years now comes this outstanding Chardonnay. Tastes more complex and sophisticated than it smells, with a tightly wound core of pear and nectarine and a rich buttery aftertaste that's long an —James Laube

Feb. 12, 2000: CHATEAU STE. MICHELLE Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley Cold Creek Vineyard 1996 (92 points, $25)

From one of Washington state—s most consistent wineries comes this outstanding Cabernet. Rich, ripe and focused, layering its currant, plum and vanilla flavors with hints of pepper and bay leaf that sneak in on the long, supple finish. Fine-grained tann —Harvey Steiman

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