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Two Sultry Wines for a Rainy Weekend

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I'm not sure why these two wines, which have almost nothing whatsoever in common, seemed particularly appropriate for this rainy Friday (not that we can complain here in NYC; my hometown of Houston is about to be submerged). Maybe it's the creeping sense that Autumn is arriving, and a warm, luscious wine is starting to feel appropriate. Anyway:

1999 Château Musar Blanc ($35, buy it here) The great Lebanese producer (yes, great, that's right) Château Musar is primarily known for its red, which is indeed terrific, but I've always loved Musar's top white as well. A blend of the Lebanese grapes Obaideh and Merwah (Semillon), in 1999 it shows fig, pear and nectarine flavors and has a dense, unctuous, beeswaxy texture. It's deep gold in hue but by no means losing its life; rather, it feels as though it's just come to its peak. (There is, by the way, a terrific article by Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) on Château Musar on Musar's site here, which ran in GQ in '04.)

2004 Macauley Vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($72, buy it here) I somehow lost track of this bottle in the vast ocean of wine that lives in our tasting room, which annoyed me for quite a while; then, of course, as soon as I stopped thinking about it, it reappeared. Go figure. Regardless, I'm glad it did: This is truly sexy Napa Cabernet, with a touch of roasted red currant and lot of black cherry on the nose, then more of that sweet black cherry and some cassis in the mouth, along with a grace note of oak and lush, velvety tannins. It comes from the To Kalon and Star vineyards, was made by Kirk Venge, and given the prices of Napa Cab these days, it's actually quite a good deal for the money. The other good thing is that even though I've been slow out of the gate tasting this wine, there still seems to be some left in the market (also at the winery's website, though today for some reason their shopping cart function is fritzed out).

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Congratulations to Nicholas Elmi, winner of Top Chef: New Orleans, the 11th season of Bravo's Emmy-Award winning, hit reality series.

Run with chefs and wine experts in the Celebrity Chef 5K and dance all night at Gail Simmons’ Last Bite Dessert Party during the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, June 20-22.