daily wine picks


More than $30

Jan. 14, 2000: KONGSGAARD Chardonnay Napa Valley (96 points, $50)

John Kongsgaard spent a decade at California's Newton winery before starting his own winery in 1996. He has also helped make the wines at Livingston, Luna and Arietta. His '97 Napa Chardonnay is delicious. Packs in lots of rich, supple, complex flavors, w —James Laube

Jan. 11, 2000: CALERA Pinot Noir Mount Harlan Mills Vineyard 1996 (90 points, $55)

Calera's Josh Jensen has been producing Pinot Noir from the thin, limestone-laced soils of his Mount Harlan vineyards since 1975. Ripe and elegant, with bright, juicy black cherry, anise, sage and tea notes. Firms up on the finish, where the tannins add b —James Laube

Jan. 10, 2000: MER SOLEIL Chardonnay Central Coast 1997 (93 points, $40)

This outstanding California Chardonnay is opulent, rich and creamy, with a core of nectarine, fig, citrus, pineapple and spice supported by firm, lively acidity and finishing long and full. Delicious. Drink now through 2005. 9,000 cases made. —James Laube

Jan. 04, 2000: MONTEVETRANO Colli di Salerno 1997 (95 points, $60)

From southern Italy, made from a Bordeaux-style blend, comes one of the region's greatest reds ever. Intense aromas of blackberries, mint, grilled meat and raisins. Full-bodied, with masses of mouthpuckering tannins but a long, fruity finish. Best from 20 —James Suckling

Jan. 03, 2000: PENFOLDS Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia Bin 707 1996 (93 points, $77)

One of Penfolds' high-end wines, and worth hunting down. This Australian Cabernet is ripe and rich, with style and tremendous length. Redolent of blackberry, bay leaf and pepper, this supple, generous mouthful packs a ton of fruit into a big frame. Best f —Harvey Steiman

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