Best of the Best 2011: Domestic White Wines: Vineyard 7 & 8 2008 “8” Chardonnay

    In 1999, epicures Weezie and Launny Steffens succumbed to the disease that strikes so many visitors to Napa Valley: They were bitten by the winemaking bug. The difference between the Steffens and other victims of the viticulture virus is the spectacular property they managed to obtain. Located in the Spring Mountain District, their 40 acres, 16 of which are planted, hover roughly 2,000 feet above the valley floor—and well above the fog line—enjoying moderate temperatures and ample sunlight during the ripening season. This geography shows beautifully in the Vineyard 7 & 8 2008 "8" Chardonnay (www.vineyard7and8.com, $50), an intricately layered tour de force of honey, nougat, baked pear, and vanilla cream.

    The multi-vintage Champagne is a blend of 142 wines from 11 different years…
    Photograph courtesy of hotel Matlali
    Savored rather than shot, these tequila-based beverages give the spirit the respect it deserves…
    Photo by Holly Houk
    Contrary to popular opinion, not all Havanas are stellar stogies. Here is how to make the most of...
    Sommeliers have their own version of the desert-island question: If you could drink from only one...
    These aged tequilas prove that the once derided spirit has come into its own…
    The limited-edition distillation pays tribute to the Norse god Odin…
    The spirit distinguishes itself by employing Japanese ingredients and techniques…
    Photo by Jeff Elkins
    The cigar combines an Ecuadoran wrapper with Honduran and Dominican filler tobaccos…
    Worldwide talents are leaving their marks at a Provençal winery.
    Only 250 cases of the Montecristo Grupo de Maestros Private Batch will be released…