Best of the Best 2008: International White Wines

The estate that would become Villa Russiz was Italy’s most forward-looking when it was built in 1869 by French count Théodore de La Tour. De La Tour invested his Italian dream estate in the rolling Collio hills with the latest in French technology, built a vaulted underground cellar, and introduced French grape varieties. Sauvignon Blanc, […]

Best of the Best 2008: International Red Wines

By the time I returned from two weeks in Argentina in March of this year, I had become firmly convinced that this country on the east side of the Andes is currently the best place on the planet for winegrowing. I had tasted nearly 150 releases, and more than half of them received scores of 90 […]

Feature: Holiday Essentials

Spirits are called spirits precisely because they capture essences, and in doing so they enable us to gain a greater appreciation—and enjoyment—of the sources from which they derive. Brandy is the essence of grapes, and it expresses that fruit better than wine does. Whiskey is the distillation of grain or corn, cereals that have been […]

Best of the Best 2007: Liqueurs, Cordials & Aperitifs

The Pagès Distillery has been making the heady, verbena-flavored Pagès Verveine du Velay Verte (, $47) since 1859 in the sizable town of Le Puy-en-Velay, in France’s Auvergne region. The recipe—devised in the 19th century by a local apothecary and kept secret by the company—is said to contain more than 30 ingredients derived from plants […]

Best of the Best 2007: Dessert Wines

In 1989, British wine writer Hugh Johnson and friends formed the Royal Tokaji Wine Company to revive and restore to glory the Hungarian wine once revered by Louis XIV, Catherine the Great, and other European monarchs. Royal Tokaji 1999 Essencia (, $536) is the rarest and most exquisite of their company’s many excellent wines. It […]

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