Wine and Spirits
Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Chardonnay
Santa Cruz, Calif.
Paul Draper's chard deserves as much worship as his reds; the winery's made it since 1949. Monte Bello is a big, round bundle of pears, honeysuckle, figs and pineapple with a mineral edge. The '07 is Santa Cruz at its best.
Antinori Guado al Tasso
A ripe red super Tuscan cab blend from an estate in Maremma toward the sea: Rich blackberries with hints of mint. An exciting alternative to the family's pricier Solaia and Tignanello; buy 2006 or 2007 and wait three years; open with pleasure.
St. James Royal Ambre
In the French Caribbean, rhum agricole is made from pure sugar cane juice, not molasses. This barrel-aged 90-proof bottling is bold and smooth, with a mild kick behind its vanilla and caramel yet not sweet.