A Tempting Apple
Laird's new 12-year-old apple brandy is so smooth and sophisticated that it might be mistaken for scotch, save for its soft apple finish ($50).

The next Napa may be Long Island's North Fork, where new wanna-be winery owners are buying land.

What do you say to a movie and a glass of Montracheton your next trip to Paris? The Cinéma des Cinéastes and the Ecole des Vins de Bourgogne will be offering special classes in English, French and German that will combine watching movies with tasting fine wines.

Vanity Palates
While Michael's in Manhattan is famous for its proprietor-made Malibu Cabernet, a few other New York restaurants have gotten into the private label game. Two recent arrivals: La Caravelle, and Le Colonial.

South American Superstars
Cheap is no longer an accurate adjective when it comes to some wines from Chile. Among the pricey new releases: the $45 Los Vascos Le Dix Cabernet blend and the $55 Alpha M from Aurelio Montes. The most expensive wine from Montes, however, is the $80 Sanctus, the product of a French-Chilean collaboration. It will be out this spring.

Top 10 List
Merlot was America's most loved red until a lot of less-than-great wines were made in its name. These Merlots may rekindle the romance:

1 1997 Blackstone Napa Valley ($18)

2 1997 Casa Lapostolle Cuvée Alexandre ($22)

3 1997 Chateau St. Jean Sonoma County ($22)

4 1997 Pine Ridge Napa Valley Crimson Creek ($25)

5 1997 Stags' Leap Winery ($30)

6 1996 Canoe Ridge Columbia Valley ($19)

7 1996 Markham Napa Valley ($21)

8 1996 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley ($22)

9 1995 Chateau Ste. Michelle Horse Heaven Vineyard ($30)

10 1995 Meerlust ($20)