daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Dec. 11, 1999: HIEDLER Gruner Veltliner Qualitatswein Trocken Kamptal Maximum 1998 (92 points, $24)

From Austria comes this terrific Grüner Veltliner. This wine is light and airy yet intense and concentrated at the same time, its exotic, complex flavors of apricot, celery, white pepper and grapefruit mingling with the broad profile and firm backbone. D

Dec. 10, 1999: BIGHORN RANCH Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County 1996 (88 points, $26)

Formerly a second label of the Parducci winery, Bighorn Ranch is now owned and operated by William Hill. Its '96 Napa County Cabernet is flavorful and bright, and entices with complex, up-front black cherry, raspberry, wild berry and spice, all on a mediu

Dec. 09, 1999: GEYSER PEAK Chardonnay Russian River Valley 1998 (89 points, $16)

Geyser Peak enjoys one of California's oldest winemaking histories -- dating back to the winery's founding in 1880. Their latest Chardonnay release is tight, crisp and focused, rich and concentrated, meshing ripe pear, fig and citrus with light oak shadin

Dec. 08, 1999: ARGYLE Chardonnay Willamette Valley Nuthouse (90 points, $21)

Focused, distinctive and elegant, this a beautifully formed, round, complex Oregon white, unfolding layers of nutmeg, melon, pear, peach and vanilla flavors that linger enticingly on the finish. Drink now through 2005. 2,300 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Dec. 07, 1999: ST. SUPÉRY Chardonnay Napa Valley 1997 (88 points, $15)

This California Chardonnay proffers a lively mix of bright flavors -- tropical fruit, pear, fig and melon -- and finishes with shades of nutmeg and oak that add dimension. Very nice. Drink now through 2003. 20,798 cases made. —James Laube

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