daily wine picks


More than $30

Feb. 23, 2001: ROMANO DAL FORNO Amarone della Valpolicella 1995 (94 points, $240)

Opulent, with toffee, spice, berry, chocolate and Christmas pudding character. Full-bodied, with big, velvety tannins and a long, raisiny, sweet fruit aftertaste. Gorgeous Amarone. Like Port. Best after 2006. 700 cases made. —James Suckling

Feb. 22, 2001: BODEGAS ISMAEL ARROYO Ribera del Duero Val Sotillo Gran Reserva 1994 (96 points, $75)

You could get your money's worth just enjoying thiswine's aromas, but the flavors are just as expressive and alluring. Thiscomplex, harmonious Tempranillo is dense without heaviness, showing mineral,game, plum, cedar and licorice flavors, balanced and lon —Thomas Matthews

Feb. 19, 2001: VIADER Napa Valley (95 points, $65)

Bucking the trend of this difficult vintage, Viader has released a classic '98. Extraordinarily rich, deep, complex and concentrated, yet remarkably elegant and graceful, with layers of exotic spice, black cherry, currant, coffee, tobacco and cedar notes —James Laube

Feb. 15, 2001: BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5.° (94 points, $85)

From Spain's venerable Vega Sicilia comes another outstanding release. This powerful red is like a finely tuned race car: energy under tight control. The fruit is vibrant, with blackberry and currant flavors, the tannins are muscular but well-integrated a —Thomas Matthews

Feb. 09, 2001: LEWIS Syrah Napa Valley (93 points, $45)

This is one of the top Syrahs being made in California today. Dark, rich and chocolaty, with a deep core of currant, plum and blackberry. An immense, plush, boldly flavored wine, with exotic oak shadings. Drink now through 2010. 400 cases made. —James Laube

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