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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

Of Spätburgunder and SF

Before we get real serious about Spätburgunder and why you should be drinking more of it, you need to get out your calendars and block off Saturday January 21 for our Third (not exactly annual) Terry Theise German and Austrian Tour Tasting. This year we will be holding the event in San Francisco at a very hip yet undisclosed space. It will cost some amount of money, and you will get some amount of food. How’s that for exclusive? Come rub elbows, taste and chat with some of the hottest growers from the coldest regions, learn why drinking Riesling will make you better looking, how a steady diet of Grüner Veltliner has been proven to make you happier and more content, how Blaufränkish has been known to cause sudden outbursts of extreme joy… in other words don’t miss it. We will be pouring a ton of 2004s and some others: whites, reds, sparkling and down-right weird. The final list of producers is not yet firm, but I can say now that they will be many and most of them tall. Stay tuned for more info, or send me an email (jeffvierra@klwines.com) to be put on a notification list. There will be a bottle of wine for the person who travels the furthest to attend this spectacular event. Now on to your new passion… German Pinot Noir aka Spätburgunder in the homeland. First, I must say that if you are the type who likes pinot more in the style of syrah, big and dark with super-ripe flavors and lots of new oak, please do not buy these wines. You will hate them and me for suggesting them to you. If finesse and subtlety appeal to you, then we are on the right track. German Pinot Noir is, as you can imagine, more of a novelty in this country, not because it is no good but because it is in such short supply and what we get here is usually the lowest quality wine made by large blenders (any one remember the monkey bottle?) The market is so strong in Germany for great Spätburgunder that some of the wines routinely fetch over 100 Euros. and are much coveted by collectors. We have two great wines in stock now to introduce you to this important cool-climate style of Pinot. 2004 Weingut Binz Nackenheimer Spätburgunder ($12.99), grown on the red slopes of Nackenheim, is a bright zesty style of pinot, balanced with reasonable alcohol level, full of spice, wild cherry and hints of earth. Yes I said $12.99!! The 2003 Bercher Jechtinger Eichert Spätburgunder Spätlese Trocken ($28.99) is from just east of Alsace in the warmest growing region of Germany, the Kaiserstuhl. Here is where you find some of the most sought-after reds in the country and where most of the great Pinot comes from, like this supple beauty. Rich and lush with great power and depth, this wine will convince even the most skeptical among you. Live in the Light! —Jeff Vierra

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