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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

April In France-Let the Hype Begin!

As you read this month’s newsletter, Ralph, Chip, Steve and I will be in Bordeaux, tasting the newest “vintage of the Century,” the much-heralded 2005 Bordeaux wines, already said to be better than 2003 and 2000, more of a combination of 1982, 1986 and 1996 ... great Cabernet year, etc, etc. We will beg for a few cases and we will be happy with what we get. It looks to be a sellers’ market, and you know that means high prices. Our report should be out by the end of April. Now’s the time to put your name on the waiting list for any wines you may want. There will be severe allocations for some of these wines. Meanwhile, the absolutely delicious 2003 Bordeaux wines are arriving daily. We have 6000 cases coming from Bordeaux, so please be patient while waiting for these to arrive. Our Pichon-Lalande dinner at Cetrella on March 2 was superb: great crowd (sellout), fabulous wines and delicious food. These are the best bargain dinners in the U.S.A. —Clyde Beffa Jr

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