Front Runners August 2015: Cellar Notes

  • Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
    Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com

Poetic Pour

The ancient Romans celebrated wine in their verse as ardently as they did love. “No poems can please for long or live,” wrote Horace, “that are written by water drinkers”—which perhaps explains why Mark Nelson, an admirer of the classics, ventured into viticulture. While building a home on Napa Valley’s Pritchard Hill, he and his wife, Dana Johnson, retained the vineyard manager David Abreu to plant 15 acres with Bordeaux varietals and brought industry veteran Janet Pagano on as a managing partner. Together they transformed the property into Ovid Napa Valley. Though the estate produces a highly allocated Cabernet Sauvignon–based blend, one of its rarest wines, Hexameter, favors Cabernet Franc. The Ovid 2012 Hexameter Napa Valley ($285, ovidvineyards.com) tantalizes with aromas of blood orange, anise, black raspberry, and coffee cream.  

Good Earth

Great wine, an old adage says, grows only in beautiful places. Yet this romantic sentiment did not persuade Alexander Vik, who in 2004 set out to produce a South American wine on a par with the finest from France. The Norwegian businessman preferred to rely on scientific methods to pursue his goal, commissioning exhaustive surveys. Ultimately, he focused on Chile’s Millahue Valley, where in 2006 he and his wife, Carrie, acquired a tract of more than 10,000 acres. Science, however, did not trump beauty entirely: The landscape’s sweeping vistas inspired the native people to name the region the “Place of Gold.” That splendor is reflected in the Vik 2011 Millahue Valley ($140, vik.cl), an incarnadine composition of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah that reveals earthy essences of clay, toasted black walnut, thyme, and tea with rich flavors of black plum, boysenberry, blueberry, and vanilla.  

From Around the Web...
This Italian sparkling red wine has an illustrious history and is staging a comeback...
Universal Whisky Experience
Top distillers will pour legendary whiskies at this year’s event…
Tyrconnell 16 Year Old ($100)
This new single malt arrives just in time to toast St. Patrick’s Day…
Celebrate March 17 with a round of top Irish Whiskeys…
West Cork Distillers 12 Year Old Rum Cask Finish ($66)
The Irish distillery introduces a limited-edition whiskey finished in rum casks…
WhistlePig FarmStock Crop 1
The politico-turned-farmer explains how his love of the land led to a distinctive new dram…
Bollinger’s 2005 Vieilles Vignes Françaises Blanc de Noirs, made from the fruit of pre-phylloxera Pinot Noir vines, was produced in a vintage with exceptionally small yields, enhancing its rarity
This bottling from Bollinger is the Holy Grail for collectors—and almost unknown by everyone else…
As rye eclipses bourbon as the American spirit of choice, here are six to sip…
Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
A sports-car enthusiast shifts gears to make a perfect Panamanian rum to blow your taste buds away…
Compass Box “The Circus” Blended Scotch ($275)
A complex blend of ages, oak, and flavor, this whisky doesn’t clown around…