FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

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    Cliff Lede 2008 Lonely Wizard and Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum Photo by Cordero Studios/www.corderostudios.com

    Rare wines and art sit at the top of Cliff Lede’s list of personal passions, but rock music follows closely. Though soft-spoken, the Canadian businessman and owner of Cliff Lede Vineyards has a wild side that finds expression in the system by which he and his team identify the unique blocks, or crus, that make up their vineyards in Napa Valley’s Stags Leap District. Rather than the typical alphanumeric designations, these patches of vines bear the names of classic rock tunes: "Born to Run" lies opposite "Whole Lotta Love," while "London Calling" abuts "Walk on the Wild Side." From these "Rock Blocks" comes a series of red blends named for the plots that contribute fruit. The latest release, Cliff Lede 2008 Lonely Wizard, combines Cabernet Sauvignon from "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band" with Malbec from "Pinball Wizard" to produce its dark and sensuous flavor profile. "Just as some songs come to their authors in a flash, this wine came together almost effortlessly," says winemaker Kale Anderson. "It just rocked." ($90) www.cliffledevineyards.com

    While rock and roll also plays a part in the story of Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum, reggae sets the tone for this smooth tropical spirit. Island Records founder Chris Blackwell—who introduced the world to Bob Marley, U2, and many other musical acts—has produced the rum in Jamaica since 2008, but only this past summer did it become available in the States. Blackwell, a Jamaica native who traces his roots to 17th-century rum exporters, is also the owner of the island’s GoldenEye Resort. Set on the former estate of James Bond author Ian Fleming, this low-key luxury retreat is an ideal setting for sipping Blackwell Rum, whose notes of coconut, honey, and vanilla pair perfectly with Marley melodies and Caribbean sunsets. The mellow spirit is as good straight as it is mixed into the resort’s GoldenEye cocktail—a tropical concoction of Blackwell Rum, simple syrup, and lime, orange, and pineapple juices that should be shaken, not stirred. ($30) www.blackwellrum.com

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