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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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« San Francisco Focus | Main | Spotlight on Holiday Zinfandels!! »
Monday
Nov142005

Four Yummy Cabs

This month winter, holiday parties and gift giving begin. What better time to tell you about four different cabs…. One is destined to fit in that special someone’s stocking! 2002 Benziger Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.99) MMMMM, Lots of sweet blackberry fruit mingled with toasty oak on the nose promises something special here, and doesn’t disappoint. Round, smooth, medium-weight, this tasty treat is bound to grace many holiday parties this year. In the California style of cult-y wines, just a bit more reserved. If you are a fan of the “big gun” Cali Cabs, try this economy version of the same. I’m sure Santa will make sure you are on the “good” side of the list if you pour this for him. 2003 Caymus Napa Cabernet ($64.99) Here’s a big deal Cali Cab that you must know by now. Juicy, plump, round, ripe, black cherry, cassis, red currants, vanillin oak, and ready to drink! Classic Caymus, without the wait. This warm-vintage Caymus is ready to go, so drink up while you’re waiting for your ageing wines to come around! 2002 Roth Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($34.99) All estate fruit, blended with a little merlot plus a touch of cabernet franc. The Roth shows solid and structured notes of black fruits, coffee and a little tobacco on the nose leading into a wonderfully refined palate of black cherry, cassis syrup, elusive spicy notes and fine velvety tannins. This is a serious wine-lovers Cab. Not overly flashy or new wave, this is a beautifully harmonic wine with style and grace. A perfect wine for a dinner party. 2001 Mount Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($29.99) I love this wine! And it is showing the best it ever has right now. An extraordinary rich and complex nose tinged with rose petal, cola, cassis and a bit of mint leads into a serious mouthful of very exciting, intensely fruited cabernet laced with anise, cinnamon, truffles, mocha… This wine simply evolves and evolves revealing layer after layer and getting better and better. Not to stop there, the finish goes on revealing subtle notes of vanillin oak, coffee and a sweet lingery black cherry. Have a wonderful and safe holiday season! —Shaun Green

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