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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
Jan242006

Year 2006-K&L Buyers on the Road Again

It is time for our buyers to start scouring the far corners of the wine world finding great value wines for our stores and our loyal customers. First, Jim Chanteloup, Elisabeth Schriber and myself visited Australia in January. We focused mainly on the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale areas. February sees Jeff Vierra off to the Loire while Greg St. Clair and Mike Parres head to Tuscany. In March, Keith Wollenberg goes to Burgundy, and Anne Pickett travels to Spain. A big contingent (Clyde Beffa Jr, Ralph Sands, Chip Hammack and Steve Bearden) goes to Bordeaux in April to taste the “superb” 2005 vintage and then travels to the Southern Rhône. Late April sees Gary Westby tasting in Champagne. That’s over 150,000 miles, and we are only into April. Many more trips after April! All in the name of finding special wines for our special customers. —Clyde Beffa Jr

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