daily wine picks

More than $30

Apr. 07, 2000: ETUDE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley (92 points, $50)

Winemaker Tony Soter has fashioned another outstanding Cabernet. The '96 Etude is a tight, crisp California Cabernet that strings together a tasty ensemble of spicy, cedary currant, dried cherry and anise, finishing with a seamless band of tannins. Needs —James Laube

Apr. 04, 2000: BERINGER Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Private Reserve (92 points, $75)

From a classic vintage comes this outstanding California Cabernet. This wine is tight, with a firm band of cedar and spice wrapped around a core of ripe plum, blackberry and black cherry. It fans out to reveal hints of olive and smoke, firming on the fini —James Laube

Mar. 24, 2000: DUCKHORN Merlot Napa Valley (88 points, $36)

Duckhorn has been synonymous with Merlot from California for two decades now. Its 97' Napa Merlot shows a strong cedary oak and earthy flavor at this stage, but also enough polished currant, anise and spice notes that firm up on the finish. Drink now thro —James Laube

Mar. 16, 2000: DEHLINGER Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 1997 (91 points, $35)

This California Pinot is smooth, ripe and spicy, with bright and sharply focused black cherry, vanilla, cedar and spice flavors that fan out nicely, turning delicate and elegant, with a long, lively aftertaste. Drink now through 2008. Tasted twice, with c —James Laube

Mar. 11, 2000: KEN WRIGHT Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Shea Vineyard 1998 (93 points, $35)

Oregon Pinot Noir specialist Ken Wright's current release has a purity of flavor and a graceful balance that are totally disarming. A seductive wine, its pretty raspberry, black cherry and floral aromas and flavors linger enticingly on the open-textured f —Harvey Steiman

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