daily wine picks


More than $30

May. 23, 2002: PLANETA Chardonnay Sicilia 2000 (94 points, $34)

From Sicily comes this full-throttle Chardonnay, with all the Burgundy treatment (read, juicy Meursault) you could hope for. Loads of apple, vanilla and pineapple character. Full-bodied, with loads of fruit and a long, butterscotch and ripe fruit aftertas —James Suckling

May. 21, 2002: VIADER Napa Valley 1999 (94 points, $75)

After a fine performance in the tough '98 vintage, Viader has turned out another outstanding wine from the more even '99 vintage. Very rich and distinctive, with spicy currant, leather, tobacco, cedar and mocha aromas, and complex, concentrated, earth, cu —James Laube

May. 18, 2002: FRANCISCAN OAKVILLE ESTATE Chardonnay Napa Valley Cuvée Sauvage 1999 (91 points, $35)

The Cuvée Sauvage is the top white wine from this California winery, which was purchased by the giant Canandaigua Wines back in 1999. The '99 is rich, elegant and stylish, with pretty hazelnut, toasty marshmallow, pear, fig and citrus flavors that are ni —James Laube

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

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