daily wine picks


$15 to $30

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

Dec. 22, 1999: CHITTERING Sémillon-Sauvignon Blanc Western Australia 1997 (88 points, $15)

Made from a blend of two grapes, this Aussie white is generous with its fig, apple and herb flavors, managing to combine ripe richness with the twang of Sauvignon flavors for an intriguing wine. Drink now through 2005. 8,000 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Dec. 21, 1999: JUSTIN Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles Reserve 1997 (91 points, $25)

Justin and Debby Baldwin founded their winery in 1982 and released their first wine with the 1987 vintage. Their consistently bold, flavored wines have won them many fans, and their '97 Reserve Cab is delicious. Serves up lots of complex, seductive flavor

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