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So why is the 2012 Ladera Cabernet—made from almost entirely from Howell Mountain fruit, from an incredible vintage—sitting pretty at $34.99? I honestly can't tell you. Maybe it's because no one knows how good the Ladera holdings in Howell Mountain are. Or maybe it's the pride that winemaker Jade Barrett takes in making a serious wine for a reasonable price. Or maybe it's because Ladera is an overlooked gem in a sea of Napa alternatives. For whatever the reason, I'm not going to complain. We tasted the 2012 vintage at our staff training yesterday and I was just floored by the quality of this wine. Dark, fleshy fruit cloaked in fine tannins, bits of earth, and in total balance, with enough gusto to go the long haul in your cellar. It's a whole lotta wine for $34.99, and it's made primarily from Howell Mountain grapes, harvested during a great vintage. 

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Thursday
Oct132005

Happy Happy Wines from the Land of Freud

Yes, it is upon us, the holiday season. This is the season when we find ourselves spending our time and money on everyone else but ourselves. Two months of being pulled in every direction possible. With that in mind I’ll keep it short and sweet, shooting it to you straight, three wines that make me smile. From the Rust region, here is… 2004 Heidi Schrock Muscat ($21.99) This spicy little beauty will just make you tingle inside. Made up of 40% gelber muskateller, 20% ottonel muskateller, 40% sauvignon blanc and a whole lot of love, this is a must have. Fragrances of a newly flowered spring meadow race around the rim of the glass. I swear I saw a couple of fairies from the land of Aromatica, it’s a fairly new country, that came flying out of the bottle when it was uncorked. When I finally decided to find out what the rest of this wine had to offer I took a sip. A feeling of brilliant purity zipped across my palate backed up by a freshness of pears that are interlaced with mint and crystal clear water from the high mountains. From the Kamptal region I give you… 2004 Schloss Gobelsburg Grüner Veltliner “Gobelsburger” ($13.99) A lighter, polished style of Grüner, with an unexpected, hidden core of fruit that will, truly, make you smile. A truly classic Grüner, aromas of a peppery earthiness linked with a racy acidity that will tantalize your palate, leaving you with the realization that you just got one heck of a wine for, only fourteen bucks. And last but not least, from the region of Mittelburgenland, here is… 2003 Paul Lehrner Claus ($16.99) A vibrant, juicy red blended from 85% zweigelt and 15% blaufränkisch. Here is a wine you don’t have to put away and forget about for years and years. Drink it today, or tomorrow if that is better for you! This is really a warm, delicious wine packing quite a bit of life. A bit of smokiness, a hint of fresh herbs and just enough acidity to make everything balance out, it’s a quaffer!!! —Eric Story

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