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FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar May 2013

Winemaking for William Ballentine Jr. has always been a family concern. He began his career tending vines owned by his father, who established Ballentine Vineyards at the foot of Napa’s Howell Mountain. The knowledge and experience he gained there—and through his work with other growers throughout the valley—now informs the wines of William Cole Vineyards, which Ballentine and his wife, Jane, established on a historic parcel in St. Helena, Calif. Here he continues to make and—in the case of his latest release—blend history. For 10 years he set aside barrels from the 2000 to 2009 vintages, kept them in his cellar to reference for future releases, and eventually decided to blend them. The result, William Cole Vineyards Ten Cabernet Sauvignon, is like no other wine from the region. Its aromas of black cherry, dried fig, licorice, and vanilla bean prepare the palate for a vibrant core of blueberry, red-currant, and butterscotch flavors enrobed in beautifully layered tannins. The limited-edition release is only being offered to the winery’s allocation list, but 50 cases, sold in either three- or six-bottle wooden boxes, have been set aside exclusively for Robb Report readers on a first-come-first-served basis. Contact Patrick Memmott at patrick@williamcolevineyards.com. ($350 per bottle) www.williamcolevineyards.com

Created by David Grapshi of Sazerac, Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace, and the tequila master distiller Miguel Cedeño Cruz, the Expresiones del Corazón collection brings tequila to the forefront of the craft-spirits movement. This innovative trio has taken an experimental approach to producing premium tequila, using a blanco line with optimally balanced sweet and dry flavor components as the base for four more specialized bottlings. Made from hand-selected blue agave plants from the Los Altos region of Jalisco, each eminently collectable expression is matured in the best barrels from the Buffalo Trace library, including George T. Stagg, Sazerac Rye, Buffalo Trace, and Old Rip Van Winkle. The Tequila Corazón de Agave Expresiones Añejo Old Rip Van Winkle is especially graceful, imbued with flavors of toffee, praline, and vanilla. ($80) www.expresionesdelcorazon.com

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