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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
Mar212006

All About The Focus

Let us concentrate on a winery that concentrates on red wine, and red wine only. Yes, we will need some concentration from you also! In the Mittelburgenland region of Austria you will find the village of Horitschon and within this village you will find Rotweingut Iby (Red winery Iby). Yes, this wine house grows and produces only red wines of the highest quality possible. There is no outside sourcing of fruit and the vineyard and cellar practices are extremely rigorous. At Iby the goal is a simple one: to produce wines that rich, full and harmonious. Since the beginning of the 20th century Iby has been naturally cultivating vines on there 20 hectares of vineyards. They make multiple passes during the growing season in order to thin and concentrate the yields that will eventually be harvested completely by hand. Depending on the varietal, some will be aged in oak some will not. The following two are un-oaked wines that are great examples. 2000 Iby Blaufränkisch Hochäcker ($14.99) A clean, full bodied wine with ripe tannin and a soft, juicy acidity. The dark ruby color will lead you into a world of fully ripened cherries and dark berries and then linger on your palate teasing you palate into wanting more. I'm sure Jim Barr would be willing to give this nine doggies!!! 2003 Iby Zweigelt Classic ($11.99) If you are wanting something that has a bit more weight and concentration, this could be right up your alley. Some even say this could be the Austrian equivalent to a spicy Cotes du Rhone. A perfect springtime BBQ wine, I think Jim would give this one eight kitty faces!!! —Eric Story

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