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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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Thursday
Feb162006

It Can’t be March Already!

Another year flying by faster than a Shelby Mustang 500GT! Buyers leaving for all parts of the wine world. Chanty, Elisabeth and I have been back for over a month from Aussie Land. We did find some excellent wines on this trip from the very good 2004 and outstanding 2005 vintages. They should start arriving soon. Speaking of the 2005 vintage, it promises to be very good to great in quite a few wine regions. For sure the wines from the Barossa and McLaren Vale areas of Australia will be superb. Also great reports from Bordeaux and California. The Futures campaign for 2005 Bordeaux promises to be very hectic and fast moving. Other regions are forecasting excellent vintages, and our buyers will tell you what they find on their trips. Let’s all slow down a bit and enjoy this year! —Clyde Beffa Jr

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