FrontRunners: From the Robb Cellar

<< Back to Robb Report, July 2003

    Cardinale Napa-Sonoma Red 1999
    As perhaps the most important Cabernet designation in Napa, Oakville has generated some of the best Bordeaux-style blends outside of France. Only a very few of them, however, can match this label for its silky elegance. While the grapes are sourced from a variety of vineyards located in both the Mayacamas and Vaca mountain ranges, as well as from Peter Michael’s Les Pavots vineyard, this Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blend remains pure of flavor, with a texture that shimmers like fresh-spun silk. Winemaker Chris Carpenter has rendered a sinuous yet smooth vintage that integrates an array of essences—chocolate, currant, coffee, and exotic woods—into a luscious, gratifying whole. ($120) 800.588.0279, www.cardinale.com

    Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cépages Sonoma County 1999
    Since 1973, Chateau St. Jean’s unique niche in California’s ever-burgeoning wine industry has been to carefully cultivate wines that exhibit the distinctive characters of Sonoma’s diverse soils. In the Napa-dominated sphere of Bordeaux varietals, this house has carved out a place of its own with its Cabernet Sauvignon–based blend, Cinq Cépages (“five varieties”). The result is a fat, lusty, and deep wine that flares with fruit—blackberries and chocolate-covered cherries—while smoky spices smolder over a well-oaked base. ($70) 707.833.4134, www.chateaustjean.com

    Etude Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 1999
    Etude, like so many fine wineries, began as a personal experiment: After years of consulting with prestigious vineyards like Dalla Valle and Shafer, winemaker Tony Soter struck out on his own to develop a unique style that reflects wine as a distillation of the natural conditions in which it is grown. And, indeed, the 1999 vintage is as elemental as nature distilled. Powerfully complex and dark, wild and woodsy, this Cabernet offers a smoky nose sweetened with brown sugar, as well as a full-bodied black cherry and licorice palate. ($80) 707.257.5300, www.etudewines.com

    From Around the Web...
    From cookie-filled gift baskets to stunning jewelry, here are 10 gifts for the lady in your life…
    Photo by Andrew Fawcett
    These select bars offer the chance to sample some of the world’s rarest and oldest liquors…
    Photo by Francesco Tonelli
    Vintage bottles of Pimm’s and Campari from 1960 and 1970 are a few of the coveted spirits…
    For $125, the Durand corkscrew is meant to extract fragile corks from aged bottles…
    Photo by Cordero Studios/corderostudios.com
    The author of <i>Napa Valley Then & Now</i> recommends her favorite wines that are...
    Made from Champagne’s only sanctioned white varietal, this will one-up other New Year’s Champagnes…
    The Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, offers Gurkha Cigars’ His Majesty’s Reserve for about $55 a puff…
    No day of the year necessitates a good old-fashioned dose of “hair of the dog” more than January 1…
    Photo by Ralph Dinkel
    Davidoff’s newest humidor is a sculptural dome lined with African okoumé wood…
    Charles Camille Heidsieck recognized that the best way to sell wine was to sell a lifestyle…