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daily wine picks


More than $30

Nov. 04, 2004: ACHÁVAL-FERRER Quimera Mendoza 2002 (91 points, $40)

Lush yet racy, this is filled with boysenberry and raspberry compote flavors, followed by a live-wire minerally tang. Hints of violets and lavender chime in on the finish, where the dark fruit also continues its charge. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Merl —James Molesworth

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

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