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daily wine picks


More than $30

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

Jan. 07, 2004: LEITZ Riesling Spätlese Rheingau Rüdesheimer Berg Roseneck 2003 (94 points, $40)

Incredibly rich and intense, this tastes more like an auslese gold cap, with concentrated apricot, honey and spice notes. Lovely vibrancy, with terrific balance and harmony. Drink now through 2025. 300 cases made. From Germany. —Bruce Sanderson

Dec. 31, 2003: PALOMA Merlot Spring Mountain District 2001 (95 points, $45)

This magnificent Merlot is our 2003 Wine of the Year. It's about as good as it gets from California, with gorgeous fruit that's ripe, rich and distinctive, with a bounty of complex flavors, ranging from enticing black cherry, currant, blackberry and spice —James Laube

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