daily wine picks


More than $30

Nov. 03, 2004: VRANKEN Brut Champagne Demoiselle Tête de Cuvée 1996 (92 points, $90)

Gorgeous. Candied citrus, toast, coffee and hazelnut aromas and flavors unfold gracefully on the velvety texture, getting support from the firm yet well-integrated acidity. It finishes dry, with a mouthwatering intensity. Drink now through 2012. 1,000 ca —Bruce Sanderson

Nov. 02, 2004: PAGO DEL AMA Syrah Viño de la Tierra de Castilla 2001 (92 points, $75)

This bold red shows an inky color and powerful aromas of game and black pepper, which lead to a thick, rich palate and flavors of blackberry, licorice, espresso, mineral and spice. More intense than polished, it has a savage beauty. Drink now through 2012 —Thomas Matthews

Nov. 01, 2004: J. & F. LURTON Chacayes Mendoza 2002 (92 points, $75)

Packed with dark fruit -- blackberry, currant, plum and fig -- held in check by a wall of dark, bittersweet cocoa and toast for now. But the finish shows flesh and concentration and the fruit follows the toast every step of the way, so let this blossom in —James Molesworth

Oct. 29, 2004: BRANCAIA Maremma Toscana Ilatraia 2002 (92 points, $56)

Very pretty blackberry, cherry and vanilla aromas and flavors. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and a long finish. Beauty. Cabernet, Sangiovese and Petit Verdot. Very serious indeed. New wine entirely from the Brancaia estate in Maremma. Best after 2005. 1, —James Suckling

Oct. 28, 2004: DOMAINE TEMPIER Bandol Cuvée Spéciale La Migoua 2001 (94 points, $42)

Alluring for its spicy character, with rich flavors of dark raspberry, dark cherry and chocolate. A robust, full-bodied red that's filled with meat and mineral notes, which extend with mocha and cream on the finish. Luscious, with fine-grained tannins tha —Kim Marcus

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