daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Apr. 02, 2002: CHATEAU SOUVERAIN Merlot Alexander Valley 1999 (92 points, $17)

Chateau Souverain has a track record for producing large quantities of solid wine at reasonable prices. Its '99 Merlot is rich and spicy, with exotic chocolate, black cherry, plum, nutmeg and light toasty, mocha-scented oak and coffee grounds. Elegant, c —James Laube

Apr. 01, 2002: HANNA Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 1999 (92 points, $25)

The '99 California Cabernets are starting to come out, and the early returns are good. This bottling from Hanna is deceptively sleek, rich and polished for all its youthful vitality and intensity. Packed with rich currant, cherry, mocha and coffee flavors —James Laube

Mar. 23, 2002: CHÂTEAU SOCIANDO-MALLET Haut-Médoc 1999 (90 points, $23)

Always a solid value, the '99 Sociando-Mallet displays very good concentration for the vintage. Aromatic, with plum, currant and tar character, the wine is medium- to full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a medium finish. Super buy. Best after 2003. 21,66 —James Suckling

Mar. 09, 2002: CHÂTEAU D'ARMAILHAC Pauillac 1999 (90 points, $21)

Here's a superb value in '99 Bordeaux. Gorgeous aromas of blackberries, violets and currants lead to this full-bodied wine with velvety tannins. Lovely finish delivers a juicy berry aftertaste. One of the best buys of the vintage. Best after 2004. 16,000 —James Suckling

Mar. 01, 2002: L'ECOLE NO. 41 Merlot Walla Walla Valley 1999 (91 points, $30)

L'Ecole No. 41 has a solid track record with its Merlot, and the '99 is another beautifully made wine. This is soft and silky, generous with its black cherry and currant flavors, which linger on the polished frame, echoing fruit and spice. Drink now throu —Harvey Steiman

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