daily wine picks

$15 to $30

Mar. 14, 2000: FREIE WEINGÄRTNER WACHAU Riesling Smaragd Trocken Wachau Dürnsteiner Kellerberg 1998 (92 points, $27)

Otherworldly. It's hard to believe these aromas and flavors of licorice, tobacco and Indian spices come from Riesling, yet it's exotic, concentrated, dense and built like a skyscraper. Seemingly impenetrable today, wait until it all comes together; best f —Bruce Sanderson

Mar. 07, 2000: EBERLE Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles 1997 (89 points, $25)

This California Cabernet delivers plummy, smoky fruit flavors that are ripe and lush. It reveals complex anise, sage, mineral and leather notes before finishing in a long, rich aftertaste. A very good wine from an appellation that's making strides. Best f —James Laube

Feb. 28, 2000: FOPPIANO Petite Sirah Sonoma County (88 points, $18)

Though it has no relation to the similar-sounding Syrah grape, Petite Sirah does offer a similar-spice and black, fruit flavor profile. This release from Foppiano is a ripe and intense red from this underappreciated varietal, offering rich plum, pepper, w —James Laube

Feb. 25, 2000: ANTINORI Umbria Cervaro della Sala (90 points, $28)

From Tuscany—s neighboring region of Umbria comes this Chardonnay and Grechetto blend. Big and ripe, with mango, pineapple and toasted oak galore. Full-bodied, with lots of fruit character and a long tropical fruit aftertaste. Very creamy in texture. Ex —James Suckling

Feb. 21, 2000: MARIETTA Syrah California 1997 (91 points, $16)

Slowly but surely, California is producing excellent wines from Rhone varietals such as Syrah. What a find this release from Marietta is. Tight and firm, with a rich, focused core of plum, black cherry, earth, anise and wild berry. Long, intricate afterta —James Laube

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