daily wine picks

More than $30

Jan. 10, 2000: MER SOLEIL Chardonnay Central Coast 1997 (93 points, $40)

This outstanding California Chardonnay is opulent, rich and creamy, with a core of nectarine, fig, citrus, pineapple and spice supported by firm, lively acidity and finishing long and full. Delicious. Drink now through 2005. 9,000 cases made. —James Laube

Jan. 04, 2000: MONTEVETRANO Colli di Salerno 1997 (95 points, $60)

From southern Italy, made from a Bordeaux-style blend, comes one of the region's greatest reds ever. Intense aromas of blackberries, mint, grilled meat and raisins. Full-bodied, with masses of mouthpuckering tannins but a long, fruity finish. Best from 20 —James Suckling

Jan. 03, 2000: PENFOLDS Cabernet Sauvignon South Australia Bin 707 1996 (93 points, $77)

One of Penfolds' high-end wines, and worth hunting down. This Australian Cabernet is ripe and rich, with style and tremendous length. Redolent of blackberry, bay leaf and pepper, this supple, generous mouthful packs a ton of fruit into a big frame. Best f —Harvey Steiman

Nov. 25, 1999: A. CLAPE Cornas (92 points, $42)

Here's a Northern Rhône red that'll keep you warm and go with the turkey. Terroir-driven in its polish and concentration, this clean, oak-aged Syrah is made in a modern, smooth way. The wood covers the fruit for now, but this is a ripe red. A mineral com

Nov. 13, 1999: TARDIEU-LAURENT Côte-Rôtie 1997 (94 points, $70)

A heartbreaker. Combining finesse and power, this beautiful Syrah shows delectable earth, game, blackberry, smoke and baconlike aromas and flavors. Sweet fruit suggests old vines or low yields, and the wood is kept cleverly in check. Floral notes emerge o

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