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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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Tuesday
Dec202005

Maison Champy Arrives!

We’ve been importing wonderful wines from Maison Champy, the oldest negociant in Burgundy, for several vintages. Since many of us have limited budgets after holiday spending, I’ll focus on some bargains. The 2004 Champy Chardonnay Signature ($14.99) is a favorite of many of our staff. It is made from grapes from Puligny, Meursault and Rully, and is a barrel selection of their best barrels. Its toasty and bright, with richness and toasty oak notes. The 2003 Champy St. Romain ($19.99) is from a little village in the hills, protected from the heat of the summer of 2003, and has lovely minerality. The 2003 Champy Pernand Vergelesses ($20.99) is really a little Corton-Charlemagne, and a great buy! The 2003 Champy Bourgogne Pinot Signature ($14.99) is all from the Cote d’Or, and is rich, with bright black cherry fruit and lots of length. The 2003 Champy Pernand-Vergelesses, “Les Fichots,” 1er Cru ($21.99) is from an east-facing vineyard on the back of the hill of Corton, and is flat out stunning, with blackberry spice notes, an elegant character and nice minerality threading through the wine. Don’t miss this one! Á Santé. —Keith Wollenberg

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