FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

New premium distilled spirits seem to crop up as ubiquitously as some of the grains and herbs from which they are made. While most of these spirits have catchy names and arrive in bottles endowed with vaselike curves and stained-glass hues, very few actually fulfill the promises made by their packaging. However, the reverse is true of Oxley gin, which comes in a plain bottle with a tin base, but dazzles the palate with profuse and complex—yet amazingly delicate—flavors. Its freshness derives from cold distillation at sub-zero temperatures, and its signature ingredient, the herb meadowsweet, imbues it with a honeyed, floral sweetness that is devoid of any hard edge. ($50) www.oxleygin.com

Mary Rocca’s circuitous career demonstrates that, contrary to Thomas Wolfe’s observation, you can, in fact, go home again. When, in 1989, she left her dental practice in Rochester, Minn., where her husband, physician Eric Grigsby, specialized in pain management at the Mayo Clinic, and moved with her family to Napa Valley, she was returning to her roots. She had been raised across the county line, in Sonoma, on her parents’ property, where the family grew most of their own produce. Intent on returning to the agricultural values of her childhood, she began to search for vineyard property. In 1999, she purchased a prized parcel in Yountville (now the Grigsby Vineyard), and a year later she bought the Collinetta Vineyard in Coombsville. From these two locations came the fruit for Rocca Family Vineyards 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, which was crafted by then-winemaker Celia Welch. (Rocca’s current winemaker is Paul Colantuoni.) Silky and dense, this dark red is laden with aromas of boysenberry, crème de cassis, and soft vanilla. Its broad palate mingles flavors of dark-berry fruit, sandalwood, and caramel. ($75) www.roccawines.com

Read Next Article >>
Photo by Paul Dimalanta
At the Judgment of Paris in 1976, a bottle of Chardonnay from the Napa Valley’s Chateau Montelena...
As prices for rare Cubans rise, it is getting harder to put a match to the most collectible cigars...
Packshot Factory
Back by popular demand, Supernova is one of the most robust single malts ever produced...
After 22 years of aging, the second installment of the 1992 vintage has reached full maturity…
Now in its 15th year, the wine- and food-filled festival has raised more than $123 million for...
Photo by Cordero Studios
The Arturo Fuente 100th Anniversary Destino Siglo ($416–$520; www.cigar​family.com) is aptly...
Earthy mushrooms, both pungent and delicate, will enhance every sip of these Cabernet Sauvignons,...
HIGHLAND PARK DISTILLERY Highland Park is made today with the same enduring belief and integrity,...
Photo by Cordero Studios
For the longest time, most serious wine drinkers adhered to the notion that California wines did...
A wide assortment of wines, ranging from Vin Santo to Port, offers perfect pairings for pork and...