daily wine picks

More than $30

May. 16, 2002: TORRES Penedès Gran Coronas Mas La Plana Black Label 1997 (91 points, $47)

Miguel Torres' Mas La Plana has a long history. The '97, though, is the best vintage we've yet tasted. Dense yet expressive, this rich red offers complex flavors of ripe plums, tobacco, minerals, coffee and exotic spices. It's structured and well-balanced —Thomas Matthews

May. 07, 2002: LUNA Merlot Napa Valley 1999 (91 points, $32)

John Kongsgaard, perhaps better known for the Chardonnays he produces under his eponymous label, makes the wines for Luna as well. This Merlot is rich, concentrated yet elegant in style, with waves of ripe flavors, supple coffee, currant, black cherry and —James Laube

May. 04, 2002: DOMAINE DROUHIN Pinot Noir Oregon Laurène 1998 (93 points, $55)

Recent vintages have yielded some serious wines from this developing region. The '98 DDO Laurène is rich and intense, highly focused to project its aromas and flavors without being heavy. Centers on dazzling raspberry, blackberry, vanilla and roasted gam —Harvey Steiman

May. 02, 2002: PENFOLDS Chardonnay South Eastern Australia Yattarna 1998 (94 points, $60)

Penfolds' flagship white may be a tough find, but it's worth the search. Classically proportioned, with gorgeous nectarine, pear, grapefruit, hazelnut and clove flavors wrapped in a satin texture, all lingering effortlessly on the long, long finish. Favor —Harvey Steiman

Apr. 26, 2002: RUDD ESTATE Chardonnay Russian River Valley Bacigalupi Vineyard 1999 (93 points, $50)

Beautiful, vivid fruit, earth and mineral aromas, with rich, deeply flavored, succulent pear, fig, mineral, hazelnut and creamy flavors. The texture is smooth and supple, and the finish goes on and on. Drink now through 2007. 1,041 cases made. —James Laube

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