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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

San Francisco Focus

I had a small distributor stop by the San Francisco shop in late January to taste us on several wines, and were they fantastic. All of these wines are new to K&L Wine Merchants. Nothing is more fun and satisfying than finding a small production winery with exceptional wines. 2000 Galleron “Aves” Napa Valley Zinfandel ($17.99) Gary Galleron has made wine at places like Whitehall Lane, Grace Family, Hartwell and Vineyard 29. This wine made us all smile. This Zinfandel has six years of aging on it with fantastic fruit and excellent structure. It’s not a wine for you Turley fans, but if you want a hearty red for a nice steak, this is the one. 2002 Martin “Talty Vineyard” Dry Creek Zinfandel ($15.99) Michael Martin, the owner/winemaker, makes four Zinfandels. From the Talty Vineyard, near Martin’s estate, this wine is big and fruity with hints of spice and pepper. The wine finishes long and clean. 2003 Olabisi Knight’s Valley Syrah ($21.99) Olabisi means “joy multiplied.” Ted Osbourne is the owner/winemaker who was last at Storybook Mountain Vineyards and is now the winemaker at the super premium winery Pina Cellars. This one is big and bright with lovely pepper that explodes in the mouth with layers of flavor. It is a wine that is very quiet on the finish. Decant for best drinking. See you in the City… —Mike Jordan

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