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daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Sep. 16, 2003: VIÑA MONTES Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Alpha Apalta Vineyard 2001 (90 points, $20)

This Chilean winery, led by veteran winemaker Aurelio Montes, is a very solid performer. Lovely fruit here -- cassis, red currant and blackberry -- with supple texture. Yet there's serious grip, with mineral, cocoa and toast notes as well, all framed by f —James Molesworth

Sep. 09, 2003: MARC COLIN Chassagne-Montrachet Les Vide-Bourses 2001 (93 points, $30)

One of Burgundy's best white wine producers released another set of outstanding wines in the '01 vintage. Tough and firm at first, it took hours of contact with air before this shy and hard-as-nails white opened up and showed the deep ripe fruit, lemon pi —Per-Henrik Mansson

Sep. 06, 2003: ALTOS DE MEDRANO Malbec Mendoza Viña Hormigas Reserva 2001 (91 points, $24)

Italians Alberto Antonini and Attilio Pagli form the winemaking team at this Argentinean winery. They produce two Malbecs, and this is their high-end cuvée. It's serious juice, with deep, vivid purple color, loads of plum, boysenberry and blackberry frui —James Molesworth

Sep. 02, 2003: NIEPOORT Tawny Port 10 year old NV NV (95 points, $30)

This Port house has been on a roll lately with its vintage bottlings, and now its tawny Port rates classic as well. Amazing aromas of orange and lemon peel, with hints of toffee, caramel and honey. Full-bodied and luscious, with lots of sweet fruit and a —James Suckling

Aug. 23, 2003: QUINTA DO CRASTO Douro Reserva 2000 (92 points, $27)

This unctuous Portuguese red has an alluring aroma of smoke and spice and lovely dark plum, boysenberry and dark cherry flavors that are firmed up by crisp acidity and notes of cigar box, mineral and spice, which intensify on the long finish. Drink now th —Kim Marcus

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