daily wine picks


More than $30

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

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

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