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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

San Francisco Focus

Philip Togni Vineyards first planted their vines on Spring Mountain in 1981. The vineyard is run by Philip, his wife Birgitta and their daughter Lisa. Both Philip and Lisa have spent time in Bordeaux and Togni wines are California wines that Bordeaux lovers must have. California born with European sensibility. You read about Bryant, Screaming Eagle and Harlan, but Togni is a wine that belongs alongside the top wines of California. I’ve had several vintages of this wine and the 1990 and 1994 sit on the top of my list. K&L has many older vintages of the estate along with the current releases below. If you give these wines a try, it will put a smile on your face. 2003 Philip Togni Cabernet Sauvignon ($84.99) One of the better 2003 cabs that I’ve tried, this wine will need at least five years to really show its best. 92-94 points from Robert Parker. 2001 Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon ($54.99) The second label of the estate, this wine was just released and is drinking very well now with another ten years of cellaring possible. 90 points Stephan Tanzer. 2002 Tanbark Hill Cabernet Sauvignon ($47.99) There wasn’t a Philip Togni in the 2002 vintage. Everything went into the second label, and this wine shows it. 92 points fom Wine Spectator. See you in the City… —Mike Jordan

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