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FrontRunners: From The Robb Cellar

CAMUS COGNAC PIONNEAU 1969
The year 1969 was no common year. In the span of 12 months, Richard Nixon succeeded Lyndon Johnson as president of the United States; Yasser Arafat became head of the PLO; the Woodstock Festival took place; Apollo 11 successfully completed the first manned moon landing; and hundreds of thousands of Americans took part in October demonstrations protesting the Vietnam War. That same year, Camus Cognac acquired Pionneau & Co., a producer of fine Cognacs since 1828, and the then-new ownership’s first vintage is yet another example of 1969’s enduring legacy. Of the 4,848 bottles in the cellar, 300 have arrived in the United States, hand-labeled by international brand ambassador Philippe Camus. The aromas are powerful yet elegant, redolent of apricot, nutmeg, and sandalwood, while the palate yields candied fruit and currant laced with anise and pungent wet leather. ($1,200) www.camus.fr

TENUTE SILVIO NARDI BRUELLO DI MONTALCINO 2000
The stereotype of entrepreneurial success usually has the European man of the soil setting off toward the distant horizon of the New World, where he amasses incalculable wealth. Such was not the case with Francesco Nardi, however, who traveled to America only to return to Italy with an idea for a new plow design. The company he founded—Nardi Agricultural Machines—served, 50 years later, as the financial springboard for Tenute Silvio Nardi, established in 1950 by Francesco’s son. This estate has become a standard-bearer among Brunello producers, best known for its Manachiara Brunello. Yet the winery’s Brunello di Montalcino is equally satisfying, offering a dense nose of dark plum, golden cherry, and rose. On the palate, it exhibits black cherry, chewy tannins, and a luscious texture, and finishes with traces of cassis and sweet sandalwood. ($56) www.tenutenardi.com

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