daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Jan. 29, 2000: BRANCOTT Chardonnay Gisborne Reserve 1998 (90 points, $16)

This New Zealand Chardonnay is bright, jazzy and lively, with citrus-scented pear, guava and apple flavors that practically jump out on the finish. The texture remains silky and refined throughout. Drink now through 2003. 5,000 cases made. —Harvey Steiman

Jan. 27, 2000: PENFOLDS Shiraz South Australia Kalimna Bin 28 1996 (90 points, $25)

This Australian Shiraz is a beguiling combination of rich, almost decadent flavors on an upright frame that has a nicely buried backbone of acidity and tannin. Nothing is obtrusive, everything is in graceful balance, leaving an ultimate impression of both —Harvey Steiman

Jan. 26, 2000: PLUNKETT Shiraz Victoria Blackwood Ridge 1998 (87 points, $15)

A light style of Aussie Shiraz that centers its plum, berry and black pepper flavors on a supple, open-textured frame. Immediately appealing. Drink now through 2004. 3,000 cases made.

Jan. 25, 2000: ROSEMOUNT Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre McLaren Vale GSM 1997 (94 points, $22)

This Aussie red blend is rich and distinctive, a bit lighter than most Shiraz, but dripping with flavors, corraling a wild range of meaty blackberry, red cherry, black cherry and pepper flavors into a smooth wine of enormous character and depth. Appealing —Harvey Steiman

Jan. 19, 2000: MASTROBERARDINO Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio White<br> 1998 (89 points, $19)

This southern Italian white is a deadringer for Riesling, with honey, mineral and piecrust aromas and flavors. Extremely well made. Medium-bodied, with lots of fruit and a flavorful finish. Drink now. 16,000 cases made. —James Suckling

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