FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

  • The Editors

Burgundy’s byzantine labeling conventions have their origins in Napoleonic law, which prohibited primogeniture, requiring instead that siblings inherit equally. Thus, single vineyards were divided and sold over time, so much so that many famous properties now have a number of producers operating within their perimeters. Only a handful of producers boast monopoles (vineyards owned by a single estate), and fewer still own more than one of these sites. Domaine Faiveley, founded in 1825, is one of the few. The domaine owns outright the grand cru appellation that bears its name, Clos des Cortons Faiveley, as well as the premier cru vineyard Clos des Myglands, in the Mercurey region of the Côte Chalonnaise. The Faiveley Mercurey Premier Cru Clos des Myglands 2005 shows this region at its best: Dark red in color, the wine gives off a warm bouquet of anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove, while on the palate its lush texture reveals ripe cherry and soft, velvety tannins. ($40) www??.wilsondaniels.com

Though only 25 years old, Sicilian wine producer Donnafugata is steeped in local history. Giacomo Rallo is a fourth-generation vintner whose family’s winemaking tradition dates back more than 150 years. The label’s name, too, has historical significance, alluding to the town where Maria Carolina and her consort, Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, take refuge from the troops of Murat in Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa’s historical novel The Leopard, which traces the changes in Sicily during the Risorgimento. The choice is apt given Donnafugata’s focus on indigenous Sicilian varietals, including Zibibbo, which is used to make the dessert wine Passito. The Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria 2005 has an unctuous texture, from which unfold flavors of orange peel, dried apricots, peaches, and wild honey. The lingering finish culminates in a sweet citrus essence of orange liqueur. ($40) www?.foliowine.com

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