daily wine picks

More than $30

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

Feb. 15, 2001: BODEGAS VEGA SICILIA Ribera del Duero Valbuena 5.° (94 points, $85)

From Spain's venerable Vega Sicilia comes another outstanding release. This powerful red is like a finely tuned race car: energy under tight control. The fruit is vibrant, with blackberry and currant flavors, the tannins are muscular but well-integrated a —Thomas Matthews

Feb. 09, 2001: LEWIS Syrah Napa Valley (93 points, $45)

This is one of the top Syrahs being made in California today. Dark, rich and chocolaty, with a deep core of currant, plum and blackberry. An immense, plush, boldly flavored wine, with exotic oak shadings. Drink now through 2010. 400 cases made. —James Laube

Feb. 05, 2001: SPRING MOUNTAIN Reserve Napa Valley (95 points, $90)

Founded in 1968, this winery was bought by a group of investors headed up by Jacob Safra in 1990. Since then, quality has been on the upswing. The '97 Reserve is a big, rich, dense and distinctive wine that works some earthy, leathery flavors into the cur —James Laube

Jan. 18, 2001: CHÂTEAU LAFLEUR Pomerol (96 points, $200)

Albeit expensive and hard to find, this is a small-production Pomerol that rates classic in the '98 vintage. The '98 Lafleur is a superb red, with fascinating aromas of berry, chocolate, smoke and dried herb. Full-bodied, with incredibly well-integrated t —James Suckling

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