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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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Wednesday
Mar082006

Day 3 at Alimentaria!

Wow! What a day! So many great wines and lots of information today! The new wines from Arzuaga were spectacular. Everything from their Pago Florentino project to the barrel sample of 2004 Arzuaga (no classification, yet) was terrific. Cillar de Silos is making awesome wine as well. I was hugely impressed with wines from Leda, another Ribera del Duero. I can’t wait to show you one of their top value wines…travel note: Modern Spanish cuisine is stunning. So far Abak and OMM have been the most impressive places…tasting notes and menu to follow…Saludos! -Anne Pickett

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