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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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Monday
Nov142005

White Christmas Gems

Our Burgundy buyer, Keith Wollenberg, has recently scored big time with two wine gems. First, he nailed the beautiful 2004 Domaine Renaud Mâcon Solutré ($10.99), which has a pronounced nose of minerality and pippin apples with hints of dried rose petals. Along with its lush, viscous mouthfeel, you will be treated to a wine that is well defined and structured leading to a long, clean, crisp finish. One of my favorite house whites the last five years has been the none vintage Plaisir des Princes Chardonnay ($6.99). It is a declassified Mâcon from a single vintage (not declared on the label). This version is the best to date and one of my favorite wines in the store. It has this lovely minerality of a vineyard designated Mâcon: viscosity, depth, and of course personality. This is Mâcon in spades, and as Keith says, “If is walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck but sells for peanuts, who cares what they call it?” Mulan discovered a sparkling wine from Southern France that will rival anything twice its price. The non-vintage Jean-Louis Denois “Tradition” ($14.99) is a southern French sparkler that will knock your socks off. A lovely nose of fresh lemon zest, with a touch of nuttiness and yeastiness, leads to a palate impression that is dry, clean, yet mouthwatering and crisp. This is remarkable stuff that will rival the real thing that sells for much, much more. Those of you who are still grieving the sold-out 2004 Kirkham Peak Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand will be elated to know that our newly arrived 2004 Griffin Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc ($10.99) is the same wine. This wine is loaded with ripe grapefruit to lime peel qualities, both on the nose and across its clean, crisp, mouthwatering set of flavors. On the finish there is a hint of white peach to go along with an excellent acid structure. According to Eby, this is the perfect wine to go with cracked crab. If you have any questions please email us at jimbarr@klwines.com. Have a wonderful holiday season! —Jim, Anderson, and Eby

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