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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

Moulin de la Gardette

Ecoutez s’il vous plait! The 2003s from Moulin de la Gardette have arrived! These Gigondas beauties from Jean-Baptiste Meunier have been on our list of favorites here at K&L for the last several vintages now, and boy are we stoked about the recent arrival of these Rhones from the very sunny and warm 2003 vintage. Meunier’s small domaine encompasses approximately 17.5 acres from clay and limestone soils located on both the terraced vineyards as well as the lower plateaus of Gigondas. The average vine age here is around 60 years, and from very low yields, Meunier crafts a range of powerful yet fine grenache-based reds. Are you curious about all of the hoopla over these wines? Then read on! The 2003 Moulin de la Gardette Gigondas “Tradition” ($18.99) is a lovely southern Rhone with super bright cherry notes, along with hints of sassafras, lavender and cocoa power. This southern Rhone posess very nice balance, with juicy fruit and medium-fine tannins that make the finish on this wine elegant rather than coarse and chewy. Crack open a bottle of the Tradition and enjoy with grilled chicken and fig sausages or a homemade wild mushroom pizza! Think of the 2003 Moulin de la Gardette Gigondas “Cuvee Ventabren” ($27.99) as the “Tradition’s” big brother, which hails from the estates oldest vines, some of them being nearly 100 years in age! Notes of Provencal garrigue and black olive come to mind, along with lush black cherry and boysenberry fruits. The “Ventabren” is a step up as far as depth, focus and age-worthiness are concerned. Best from 2008, or decant for a couple hours and enjoy with heartier fare like a grilled rib-eye steak slathered in black olive butter! Enjoy! —Mulan Chan

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