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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

Turkey, Family and Good Times!

2004 Marques de Riscal Rueda Verdejo ($6.99) This awesome Verdejo reminds me of a NZ Sauvignon Blanc—dry, crisp with great body and charm. It’s a perfect pick for cocktail party snacks! 2000 Mont Marçal Brut Reserva Cava ($11.99) Is there a better way to begin a fiesta than with a glass of bubbly? The Mont Marcal is one of the best Cavas around. Rich and creamy with a crisp finish, this wine from the Penedes is sure to please even the fussiest palate! 2004 Valminor Albariño, Rias Baixas ($11.99) 2004 is an truly great vintage for white wines in Spain. The Valminor Albarño is one of the most charming wines of the vintage. From the seductive aromas of white peach and citrus blossoms to the long crisp finish, this wine is perfect with any seafood or with a plate of fruit and cheese! 2002 Vina Alarba Old Vines Pago San Miguel ($14.99) 90 points Robert Parker: “...a blend of 85% old vine Grenache and 15% Syrah aged in French oak for six months prior to bottling. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple color, fine elegance, serious concentration, sweet black cherry and currant scents intermixed with resiny, forest floor characteristics, and medium body. Drink it over the next 2-3 years. This is a ridiculously priced bargain!” Try with braised beef short ribs! 2000 Finca Villacreces Reserva, Ribera de Duero ($28.99) 91 points Robert Parker: “One of the best kept secrets of Ribera del Duero, Finca Villacreces produces a sexy red from 75% Tempranillo and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Aged 14 months in new and one-year old French casks, this 2,000-case cuvee exhibits a deep ruby/purple color along with a bouquet of smoky hickory wood, barbecue spices, vanilla, black currants, cherries, melted asphalt, and licorice. The complex aromatics are followed by a delicious, fruit-driven, opulent, medium to full-bodied offering with no hard edges. Drink it over the next 5-7 years.” (04/04) Buen Cata y Buen Provecho! —Anne Pickett

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