daily wine picks

More than $30

Mar. 01, 2001: MER SOLEIL Chardonnay Central Coast (93 points, $40)

1998 was a difficult year for California, but some producers excelled nonetheless. The 1998 Mer Soleil Chardonnay is full-blown, opulent, lush and creamy, with juicy fig, tangerine, pear, pineapple and melon flavors that are neatly layered, finishing long —James Laube

Feb. 27, 2001: E. GUIGAL Côte-Rôtie La Landonne (92 points, $150)

Here's an outstanding single vineyard Côte-Rôtie, from a Rhône producer that needs no introduction. Rich, thick and concentrated. Woody, dark-colored, intense style of Syrah. A medium- to full-bodied red with grip in the midpalate, and ripe tannins. Of —Per-Henrik Mansson

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

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