daily wine picks

More than $30

Dec. 25, 2000: GIRARD Napa Valley (92 points, $40)

Girard winery was purchased by Leslie Rudd back in '96, and now Girard wines are a secondary label for Rudd Estate. Winemaker David Ramey is in charge. An intense and vibrant Bordeaux-style blend, offering a pretty array of black cherry, plum, sage, miner —James Laube

Dec. 23, 2000: BABCOCK Syrah Santa Barbara County Black Label Cuvée 1997 (93 points, $40)

Perhaps better known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Babcock has recently added Syrah to its lineup. This '97 is concentrated and very intense, outstanding for its layers of rich, opulent cassis, black cherry, game and perfumed spice. Has wonderful len —James Laube

Dec. 22, 2000: DOMENICO CLERICO Barolo Ciabot Mentin Ginestra (94 points, $62)

Nebbiolo lovers are faced with an embarrassment of riches right now, as Piedmont is enjoying back-to-back vintages of very high quality. Beautiful and powerful. Extremely attractive aromas of licorice, plum and cherry waft from the glass, while this full- —James Suckling

Dec. 21, 2000: ELIO ALTARE Barolo Vigneto Arborina 1996 (96 points, $67)

There's a lot to chase after from Piedmont these days -- here's another classic Barolo. The'96 Vigneto Arborina from Altare is a superpowerful wine, marked by amazing fruit concentration. It's full-bodied, with a wonderful core of very ripe blackberry cha —James Suckling

Dec. 20, 2000: MICHELE CHIARLO Barolo Cannubi (94 points, $76)

An extremely focused Barolo, with raspberry, wet earth and toasted oak, this wine is full in body, with velvety tannins and a long aftertaste echoing mineral and fruit. Best after 2005. 800 cases made. —James Suckling

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