How they'd spend $300

Times Staff Writer

In light of the incredible wines available today, we asked our panel of four sommeliers what they would buy if given $300 each to put together a cache of terrific bargains. They came up with four unique collections, each coming within $10 of their target budget. All are available on the retail market, although a couple may require sleuthing out. The wines can be found, variously, at Wine Exchange in Orange, Woodland Hills Wine Co., Wine House in West L.A., Beverage Warehouse in Marina del Rey, Mel and Rose Wine and Spirits in West Hollywood, Costco and other area wine stores. All prices listed are approximate and may vary from store to store.

Here are the sommeliers' selections:

Bonnie Graves (Spago Beverly Hills) 2000 Château Beau Séjour-Bécot Saint-Emilion, $55

Soft, round Merlot-based Bordeaux

Bruno Paillard Première Cuvée Champagne (non-vintage) $28

Clean, creamy, bracing bubbly from fine small producer

1999 Chateau Ste. Michelle Reserve Syrah, $22

Big, elegant red from Washington state

1999 Ravenswood Zinfandel "Monte Rosso," $23

Classic, jammy Zin from Sonoma

1996 Marchesi di Barolo Barolo "Cannubi," $28

Unusually affordable, old-style Barolo

1997 Acinum Amarone Classico, $29

Big, intense companion to roasted meats

1995 Château Rieussec Sauternes, $37

Rich dessert wine, redolent of apricots, honey

1997 Marcel Deiss Riesling "Engelgarten," $23

Alsace white with mineral, white peach, floral qualities

1999 Grant Burge Holy Trinity Shiraz, $24

Gorgeous Rhône-style blend from Australia

1999 Petaluma Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay, $25

Elegant, complex, Burgundy-style Aussie

Patti Röckenwagner (Röckenwagner)

German wines:

2001 Dr. Loosen Riesling (Mosel), $10

Bright, lively, with juicy fruit; a good aperitif

2001 Robert Weil Riesling Halbtrocken (Rheingau), $18

Delicious half-dry wine from top estate

2001 Moenchof Riesling Spätlese "Uerziger Wuerzgarten" (Mosel), $20

Spicy, minerally, with hint of candied pears

2002 Franz Künstler Riesling Spätlese "Hochheimer Kirchenstück" (Rheingau), $28

Concentrated and highly-extracted with lots of fruit

2001 Pfeffingen Scheurebe Auslese "Ungsteiner Herrenberg" (Pfalz), $24 (half bottle)

Sweet, spicy wine with honey and mango aromas

Austrian wines:

2001 Domaene Wachau Riesling Federspiel (Wachau), $10

Excellent entry-level dry Riesling

2001 Domaene Wachau Riesling Smaragd (Wachau), $25

Big, dry, with excellent structure

2001 Bruendlmayer Riesling "Langenloiser" (Kamptal), $17

Good value from a high-end producer

2001 Hirsch Grüner Veltliner "Kammner Heiligenstein" (Kamptal), $12

Elegant, fresh, a little peppery

2001 Jamek Grüner Veltliner "Ried Achleite" (Wachau), $20

Distinctive minerality; versatile food wine

2001 Nigel Grüner Veltliner Smaragd "Alte Reben" (Kremstal), $25

Lush stone-fruit elements; creamy texture

2001 Alzinger Grüner Veltliner Smaragd "Weingarten" (Wachau), $29

Elegant; layers of spice, rhubarb, lime

2000 Bruendlmayer Sekt, $29

Creamy, delicate sparkling wine from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir

2001 Kracher Beerenauslese Cuvée, $27 (half bottle)

Rich, affordable offering from the godfather of Austrian dessert wines

Christophe Rolland (Bastide)

Mumm de Cramant Champagne (non-vintage), $32 (two bottles)

Light, traditionally made Champagne

1999 Domaine Emilian Gillet Macon Quintaine, $25 (two bottles)

Ripe, simple version of great white Burgundy

1997 Domaine Ostertag Muenchberg Riesling, $39

Dry, minerally, citrusy white from Alsace

1995 Montus Madiran, $19 (two bottles)

Dense, tannic, full-bodied red

1999 Louis Jadot Château de Jacques Moulin-à-Vent, $20

Dark, Burgundy-like Beaujolais

2000 Château Lafleur de Bouard Lalande-de-Pomerol, $33

Deep, soft, smoky Merlot blend from Bordeaux

2000 Nicolas Joly Savennières "Becherelles," $33

Dry, ripe, fruity Loire Valley white

1998 Château La Rame Sainte-Croix-du-Mont, $23

Sweet Semillion-Sauvignon Blanc blend

David Rosoff (Opaline)

2002 Moenchof "Estate" Riesling, $12 (four bottles)

Off-dry, with tremendous acidity and minerality

2001 François Chidaine Montlouis "Clos du Breuil," $12 (four bottles)

Complex, dry Chenin Blanc

2002 Château de Revelette Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rose, $12 (four bottles)

Strawberry and orange rind flavors; dry, food-friendly

2001 Domaine Lafond Côtes-du-Rhône "Roc-Epine," $10 (four bottles)

Loads of Syrah pepper and Grenache red fruit

1999 Prager Riesling Smaragd "Achtleiten," $40

Clean, powerful, brilliant dry Austrian white

2000 Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny, $38

Sensual, light, beautiful red Burgundy

1997 Marcarini Barolo "La Serra," $45

Dry, ripe, earthy Nebbiolo

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