daily wine picks


More than $30

Jan. 28, 2004: MARCASSIN Chardonnay Sonoma Coast Marcassin Vineyard 2002 (97 points, $80)

Ultra rich and creamy, with layers of ripe, opulent fig, apricot, lemon, anise, mineral and hazelnut, all tightly wound in a focused style, finishing with a long, rich, luxurious aftertaste that reveals time and again a wonderful depth of complexity. Drin —James Laube

Jan. 24, 2004: MARCASSIN Chardonnay Alexander Valley Upper Barn 1999 (97 points, $80)

An amazingly flavorful Chardonnay, this packs in loads of rich, multifaceted layers of flavor, built around a core of lemon meringue, honeysuckle, hazelnut, fig, smoke and apricot, turning fat and fleshy, with a super rich, long and tantalizing aftertaste —James Laube

Jan. 20, 2004: VIÑA MONTES Alpha M Santa Cruz 2001 (94 points, $72)

This Chilean Cabernet blend is cut like a fine suit. The black currant, black cherry and blackberry fruit drapes the palate, while an impressive array of espresso, mineral, sanguine, fig and black tea notes are stitched seamlessly together. Long, detailed —James Molesworth

Jan. 19, 2004: LEWIS Chardonnay Napa Valley 2002 (93 points, $37)

Ultra-rich and smooth-textured, with a pretty display of ripe pear and apple flavors, accented by floral aromas and a concentrated aftertaste that keeps revealing extra flavor nuances of hazelnut, nutmeg and graham cracker. Drink now through 2007. 900 cas —James Laube

Jan. 14, 2004: PLANETA Syrah Sicilia 2001 (93 points, $44)

Modern and exciting. One of the best Syrahs I have had from Italy. A lovely wine, with grapey, raspberry and chocolate character with a hint of meat. Full-bodied, with a lovely soft and silky texture and a long, sweet fruit and chocolate aftertaste. Super —James Suckling

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