daily wine picks

More than $30

Sep. 11, 2000: ST. FRANCIS Merlot Sonoma Valley Reserve (92 points, $40)

St. Francis winemaker Tom Mackey is known for using a heavy dose of smoky American oak -- yet the St. Francis wines have the fruit to back it up. The St. Francis Merlot is one of the top California Merlots. The '97 Reserve is superripe, rich and oaky, in —James Laube

Sep. 09, 2000: DALLA VALLE Maya Napa Valley (98 points, $120)

1997 has all the hallmarks of being a classic vintage for California Cabernet Sauvignon. Perennially one of the top Cabernet-based wines from California, the '97 Maya from Dalla Valle nears perfection. Dark, rich and absolutely delicious, boasting a tight —James Laube

Sep. 04, 2000: ROBERT MONDAVI Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve (93 points, $120)

From a winery that needs no introduction. The '97 Reserve Cab is packed with currant, black cherry, plum, cedar and spice nuances, finishing long and complete. This Mondavi reserve is a dark, immense, deeply concentrated and sharply focused red. Best from —James Laube

Aug. 31, 2000: PRIDE Merlot Napa-Sonoma Counties 1998 (93 points, $38)

From a winery that is really on a roll recently comes this impressive Merlot. Espresso-style, deeply concentrated, boasting a core of rich currant, coffee, black cherry and anise. Firms up on the finish, where a touch of bay leaf adds complexity to the fl —James Laube

Aug. 30, 2000: DUCKHORN Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (91 points, $45)

From a winery synonymous with Merlot comes an outstanding Cabernet. This is one of the last wines made by winemaker Tom Rinaldi before he left to join the Chalone group. Delicious. Dark, rich and polished, with deep flavors of earthy currant, black cherry —James Laube

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