FrontRunners: From The Robb Cellar

    After co-founding and growing a publicly traded company of more than 7,000 employees, entrepreneur Donn Chappellet took stock of his life, sold his stock in his company, and moved in the late 1960s to Napa Valley, which in those days was only beginning to revive the once-thriving wine industry that had withered in the wake of Prohibition. Determined to play a part in this renaissance, Chappellet searched for an appropriate piece of land. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he believed that hillside vineyards would produce more favorable results than those on the valley floor. With the first vintage, 1969, his instincts proved correct: Pritchard Hill, a wild and sprawling expanse of oak trees and chaparral, yielded elegant wines that combined intense fruit and classic structure. The Chappellet family’s Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has since achieved a cult following, and their portfolio of other wines—from the delicious Chardonnay to the silky Merlot—all attest to an abiding commitment to capturing the unique flavor of place, as well as to winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus’ exceptional talents. One of the tastiest testimonies to this legacy is the Chappellet Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard Cabernet Franc 2003, a St.-Emilion-style Bordeaux blend containing 77 percent Cabernet Franc from vines planted in 1989. Composed in an earthier key than its celebrated sibling from the same vineyard, this elegant red entwines black cherry and berry fruit, roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, Lapsang Souchong tea, and the wild, slightly curry-scented fragrance of the chaparral that surrounds the vineyard. This wine’s only shortcoming is its rarity: A mere 500 cases were made, and these sell out quickly. ($60) www.chappellet.com

    Amuse Bouche, the Pomerol-style blend created in 2002 by Screaming Eagle winemaker Heidi Barrett and her business partner, John Schwartz, presents a refreshing twist for collectors on several levels. Taking their cue from Mouton-Rothschild, which commissions an original work of art for its label in each vintage, Barrett and Schwartz decided to extend the concept one step further, offering buyers of the wine a limited-edition lithograph with each six-bottle case. The first vintage featured an original work by artist Guy Buffet, as does the Amuse Bouche 2003, whose label, which depicts an army of tray-bearing waiters emerging from a lip-shaped kitchen doorway, is a visual play on the wine’s name. The wine itself, a stunning Merlot- and Cabernet Franc–based masterpiece, is silky yet powerful, with intense black cherry and playful blackberry flavors coated in an earthy, luscious blanket of dark chocolate and rich coffee. The acids are exhilarating, the finish long and precise. ($1,200 for a six-bottle case and lithograph) www.amusebouchewine.com

    Photo by Drew Phillips
    FREE PREVIEW: The Aston Martin Rapide S is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best selections…
    FREE PREVIEW: The BMW i8​ is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best selections…
    Photo by Ferrari spa/Carrer
    FREE PREVIEW: The Ferrari California T is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best selections…
    Castello di Casole’s new travel package includes drive time in the country and on track…
    With fluid, aerodynamic lines these six magnificent motorcars represent the three decades in which...
    FREE PREVIEW: The Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best...
    Drive a Ferrari California T with Mr. C's Beverly Hills Driving Italia! package
    The packages give guests access to a Fiat 500 1957 Edition or a Ferrari California T during their...
    Photo by Oli Tennent
    The aerodynamic sports car looks to impress both on the track and during everyday driving…
    The one-off 550 Italia prototype mates a Fiat 500 body with a Ferrari 458 Italia engine…
    Limited to 50 examples, the supercar features design details found on McLaren’s 1995 Le Mans–...