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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

San Francisco Focus

Woodenhead Winery? If you have read my article before, you might remember me mentioning them in the past. In March, they released their long-awaited zinfandels. I’m a big supporter of this winery and great wines are just part of the reason. Owners Nikolai and Zina are wine lovers and have a great passion for making the best wine possible. They are also very nice people who always have a smile for everyone. They continue to have “day jobs” and can be found at the winery most weekends. If you’re planning a trip to Sonoma, give them a call (707) 887-2703 and maybe you can drop by. We currently have the following wines in stock: The 2003 Zinfandel, Martinelli Road Old Vine, Russian River Valley ($36.99) is a big, bright and attractive with a little chocolate and soft tannin, which adds great structure. That structure sets this wine apart from other wines from this vineyard. It's like biting into a big slice of berry pie. 182 cases made. The 2003 Woodenhead Sonoma Zinfandel ($26.99) shows dark raspberry and cherry in the mouth with hints of clove and vanilla. 333 cases made. The 2003 Woodenhead Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($44.99) is a super smooth, plush and powerful pinot. This wine shows great balance and is one of the best Anderson wines you could ever try. 310 cases made. See you in the City… —Mike Jordan

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