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FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

Combining spirits of various ages requires as much care and dexterity of the blender as, say, weaving together disparate melodies does of the master musician. It is with such adroitness that Juan Dobel has crafted his Reserva del Maestro Dobel Diamond Tequila. A blend of reposado, añejo, and extra añejo—aged in new European oak casks for 15 months, two years, and three years, respectively—the maestro’s tequila exhibits a rich yet delicate complexity befitting its diamond moniker. Hand-selected 10- to 12-year-old agave from Jalisco, Mexico, and the distiller’s proprietary filtration system lend the spirit purity of color and taste. Mild hints of honey and syrup on the nose precede a body of citrus with a warm, oak-laced finish. ($75) www.maestrodobel.com

Although the four estates of Marchesi di Grésy have a history in the Alba region of Piedmont that stretches back many generations, their reputation for producing fine wines was made relatively recently, under the auspices of Alberto di Grésy. After earning his PhD in business administration, di Grésy took an interest in his family’s estate, Villa Giulia, in Monte Aribaldo. The grapes harvested from this ancient property’s vineyards had traditionally been sold to other producers; however, in 1973, di Grésy began to bottle his own wines. While these original vineyards continue to make Chardonnay and Dolcetto, the family’s premier releases now come from the Martinenga estate, Piedmont’s only monopole, which di Grésy acquired after inaugurating his business. From this property come three superb Barbarescos: Martinenga, Camp Gros, and Gaiun, the latter of which is produced only in the best years from the portion of the Nebbiolo vineyard nearest Asili. The 2004 vintage was such a year, and the Marchesi di Grésy 2004 Barbaresco Martinenga Gaiun reflects that excellent growing season. This ruby-colored wine’s flavors are a saturated and rich rotation of ripe cherry, wild berry, allspice, and a gamy touch of dried meat. ($85) www.dallaterra.com

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