The Speyside district in the Scottish Highlands abounds with distilleries. It's home to more than half of Scotland's producers. Residents include The Macallan, The Glenlivet, The Balvenie and Glenfiddich.
Compared with these names, The Glenrothes has a lower profile, but the 131-year-old distiller makes some excellent Scotch.
The Glenrothes Vintage 1998 is one of them, an exceptional single malt that comes across with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and a hint of tropical fruit. Very smooth whiskey, with complexity and elegance, leading to a spicy finish. You'll easily identify The Glenrothes by its rotund bottle. About $55.
Also look for The Glenrothes Alba Reserve single malt Scotch whisky, which is getting wider distribution. The Alba Reserve matured in American oak barrels previously used for bourbon. They impart suggestions of vanilla and coconut. The result is a bright, lush drink, slightly floral and distinctive. About $60.
Long Island's Wine of the Week
Merlot has had some image problems since the movie "Sideways," which extolled pinot noir - often at merlot's expense. But it's a grand grape. The 2007 Paumanok Tuthills Lane Vineyard Merlot ($60) underscores that. Generous with dark plum and cherry, the Aquebogue production is a beauty. Expect it to mature for at least five more years before pairing with filet mignon, roast beef or roast duck.