daily wine picks


$15 to $30

Dec. 30, 1999: TERREDORA Fiano di Avellino 1998 (90 points, $20)

Fiano isn't a common grape, but from Avellino in Italy's Campania region, it can offer excellent value. The '98 from Terredora is a very youthful, lively white with honey, citrus and mineral character. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit and a long, long fini —James Suckling

Dec. 29, 1999: CAKEBREAD Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 1998 (88 points, $16)

Need a break from Chardonnay? Try this very good California Sauvignon Blanc, made by Bruce Cakebread. Rich and spicy, with ripe fig, citrus, melon, herb and celery notes, turning complex. Drink now through 2002. 17,000 cases made.

Dec. 27, 1999: EDNA VALLEY Chardonnay Edna Valley Paragon (87 points, $19)

This very good California Chardonnay comes from the partnership between the Chalone wine group and the Paragon Vineyard Co. Tight and flinty, with medium-weight citrus and pear notes, its fruit shines through without too much oak. Drink now through 2003. —James Laube

Dec. 25, 1999: STEELE Pinot Noir Carneros (88 points, $19)

Jed Steele, formerly the winemaker for Jess Jackson's Kendall-Jackson wines, has carved an even bigger name for himself in the wine world with his eponymous winery. Producing a wide range of varietals at moderate prices, Steele's wines offer an almost foo

Dec. 23, 1999: RIDGE Petite Sirah California York Creek 1996 (88 points, $20)

From one of California's most famous Zinfandel producers comes this Petite Sirah (which has no relation to Syrah or Shiraz). Firm, with chunky plum, wild berry, spice, earth and anise flavors wrapped in gritty tannins. Best from 2001 through 2007. 2,200 c —James Laube

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