FrontRunners: From The Robb Cellar

    BARNETT VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON RATTLESNAKE HILL ESTATE 2002
    Despite its somewhat menacing name (particularly for ophidiophobes), Rattlesnake Hill appears to be anything but a nest of percussive vipers. The undulating rows of grapevines that follow the curves of the rock-strewn slope, which is situated more than 2,000 feet up the side of Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain, do, however, recall a serpent’s graceful coil. Long an important wine-producing district, Spring Mountain was officially established as an American Viticultural Area in 1991, eight years after Fiona and Hal Barnett purchased their 40 acres of forest. The San Francisco couple intended to produce wine for their own consumption, but the result of their first vintage, 1989, encouraged them to pursue a more ambitious vision. Since that time, their production has grown from 100 to 5,500 cases, to which the Rattlesnake Hill vineyard contributed a modest 450 cases in 2002. This single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, however, is neither modest nor small, taking full advantage of the site’s altitude, which, being above the marine layer, allows the fruit to hang longer, intensifying flavors. The result is a dense, velvet-textured red with a powerful nose: Roasted espresso, clove, holiday spice, and pungent tobacco-tar scents prepare the palate for luscious black cherry, cassis, and bittersweet chocolate. ($100) www.barnettvineyards.com

    HINE GRANDE CHAMPAGNE COGNAC 1981 EARLY LANDED
    Like Thomas Hine himself, the best cognacs his company has produced have always been transplants. Born in Dorset, England, the young Hine crossed the channel to France in 1791 and eventually married the daughter of a cognac merchant in Jarnac. When it was discovered in the 19th century that certain cognacs exported to British imbibers in Bristol aged differently than those that remained in their Gallic cellars (due to the higher humidity), producers like Hine incorporated this cross-channel transfer into their aging regimen—a tradition that continues today with Hine’s “early landed” cognacs. Bristol had a particularly wet year in 1981, and many enthusiasts credit these conditions with the wonderful balance and subtlety that characterize this vintage of Hine’s Grande Champagne Cognac. Floral scents of almond blossom mingle with honeycomb and dried fruit on its nose, while the spirit’s taste profile blends candied citrus with apricot and a nutty nibble of cashews on the finish. ($399) www.hinecognac.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…
    FREE PREVIEW: The Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 is among Robb Report’s 2015 Best of the Best...
    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–...
    The global program will feature top models from Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, and Lamborghini…
    Cadillac hopes to take on its Germans competitors with its first modern full-size flagship…