Le Cheval Fou: An American Hermitage

    The 2005 vintage presents a unique case in the recent history of winemaking: With few exceptions, it was a great vintage worldwide. Australia, South America, Spain, Germany, Austria, California, and France all enjoyed outstanding harvests in this Golden Year of the Grape. Entrepreneurs John Schwartz, a partner in Amuse Bouche Winery with Heidi Barrett, and Danielle Price, executive director of wine at Wynn Las Vegas, can judge firsthand the striking quality of the latter two regions, having produced the vibrant and complex 2005 Coup de Foudre (a blend of Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon with a modicum of Santa Barbara Syrah), as well as the 2005 Le Cheval Fou—the inaugural vintage of a pure Syrah from Hermitage on which they collaborated.

    Named for the legendary Parisian cabaret Crazy Horse (where French ushers are costumed as Royal Canadian Mounted Police, while the female performers are costumed barely, if at all), this tantalizing wine is an authentic Hermitage, produced in cooperation with legendary winemaker Michel Chapoutier. Hermitage, at just over 300 acres, is not only one of the smallest appellations in the region, but would arguably also qualify as a Premier Cru, if the Rhône had an official system of classification. While its roots, quite literally, are French, Le Cheval Fou ($125 per bottle, $750 per six-pack) exhibits an American exuberance: Its Gallic minerality and beefy tannins support a flavorful framework of dark berry, cedarwood, smoked meat, cinnamon, and other earthy spices. (www.LeChevalFouWine.com)

     ?Brett Anderson

    From Around the Web...
    Riedel Vinum Extreme Rosé Provence Glass, $69 for a set of two
    An exquisite new way to enjoy rosé, just in time for summer…
    These blends of rare old malt and grain whiskies elevate the art of blending to new heights…
    Glenmorangie Bacalta
    This limited edition from the legendary distillery is destined to become a collector’s item…
    Photo by Damion I. Hamilton
    Cuban cigar legend Montecristo turns 80 with a big party at Harvest Inn by Charlie Palmer in Napa...
    The 2006 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs is “an all-Chardonnay cuvée, in the style our ancestors created,” says  Taittinger
    A classically trained artist, Vitalie Taittinger is furthering her family’s traditions in Champagne…
    5 Superb American Whiskeys
    These top non-bourbon made-in-America spirits showcase the freedom of whiskey distilling in the U.S...
    Puebla ($85)
    Mezcal is gaining in popularity and entering the premium market…
     Hochstadter’s Family Reserve Straight Rye Whiskey ($200)
    This premium rye whiskey is an homage to pre-Prohibition spirits…
    Nikka Coffey Malt Japanese Whisky ($75)
    This Japanese whisky uses Scottish barley in its malting…
    Legacy Collection from the Macallan in Lalique sold for $993,000
    The Macallan and Lalique Legacy Collection sets a world record for a single whisky lot at auction…