daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Sep. 20, 2000: FATTORIA DEL CERRO Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 1997 (90 points, $20)

Like most reds from Italy's Tuscany region, Vino Nobile is made from Sangiovese. The '97 from Fattoria del Cerro is well crafted, with amazing aromas of lavender, ripe fruit and minerals. Full-bodied, with layers of berry and cherry flavors that are well —James Suckling

Sep. 19, 2000: CHÂTEAU DE LASCAUX Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St.-Loup Les Nobles Pierres 1998 (91 points, $16)

A tightly wound, powerful and graceful wine from France's Languedoc region, with mouthcoating flavors of dark plum and black cherry, and concentrated mineral and smoke elements. Tannins punch through on the finish, with a minty note, adding to this wine's —Kim Marcus

Sep. 06, 2000: STEELE Chardonnay Santa Barbara County Bien Nacido Vineyard (88 points, $26)

Bucking the trend of the difficult '98 vintage is this solid Chardonnay from winemaker Jed Steele. Tasty, with ripe pear, guava and tropical fruit flavors that are round and polished, turning complex and elegant, with a fruity aftertaste. Drink now throug —James Laube

Aug. 23, 2000: CLOS DU VAL Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1997 (86 points, $27)

Very firm tannins, with blackberry, chocolate and dry oak notes. Needs some food and time to soften. There's plenty of this recognizable Cabernet to go around. Best from 2002 through 2008. 38,222 cases made. —James Laube

Aug. 22, 2000: CHATEAU ST. JEAN Chardonnay Alexander Valley Belle Terre Vineyard (86 points, $22)

From a winery with a solid track record comes this very good Chardonnay from the difficult '98 vintage. Ripe but light, with apple, pear and melon notes, picking up citrus and herb flavors that linger. Drink now. 3,000 cases made. —James Laube

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