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FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

The domaines of Burgundy bear little resemblance, on the whole, to the châteaux of Bordeaux, which preside over sweeping acres of vines that stretch into the distance. Even the untutored visitor can distinguish these orderly Bordelaise kingdoms from one another—a difficult feat in Burgundy, where the order imposed over many centuries was scattered by the winds of revolution and the Napoleonic Code, which dictated that each of a landowner’s children should inherit equal portions of property. As a result, where the great Burgundian manors still stand amid vines, the vineyards themselves are, in fact, divided into vinous ghettos crowded by numerous proprietors, some of whom own only a few meager rows. Burgundy’s domaines—far from being coherent estates—are patchworks of small plots located throughout a region. The Grand Cru Clos des Cortons Faiveley, which comprises 7.44 acres in the Côte de Beaune, is therefore quite grand by local standards, despite the annual yield of only about 1,200 bottles. The wine is generally of great vibrancy and depth, and the latest release is no exception. Still, the Domaine Faiveley Corton Clos des Cortons Faiveley 2003 represents something of an anomaly, since the vintage was characterized by record-breaking heat that brought out jamlike intensity in the fruit—unusual for this usually more subdued, structured wine. Though somewhat atypical, the wine is nevertheless a sensual balance of richly dark, luscious black-cherry fruit, dried meat, leather, and tobacco. ($167) wilsondaniels.com

More than two schools of thought exist among malt whisky aficionados, but all serious consumers of this esteemed distillate fall either into the camp that accepts blends as a practical and pleasing matter of course, or into the one that regards blended Scotch malt whisky with a horror otherwise reserved for the viewing of genetic experiments gone awry. However, the Glenrothes, one of the premier producers of single-malt, vintage-dated whiskies, recently has introduced a new bottling that may satisfy both creeds. The Glenrothes Select Reserve, which combines casks of different vintages into a delightfully drinkable malt, is burnished amber in color, with a fragrant, sweet nose of vanilla, lemon, and spice. Cherry, mango, and dried apple greet the palate and merge with a nuttiness that, in turn, gives way to bay leaf, white pepper, and menthol. Delicious to sip. ($45) theglenrothes.com

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