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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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Friday
Apr142006

Bearden’s Bargain Bordeaux

2003 Bordeaux and a few late release 2002s are arriving here at K&L daily, and now is a great time to stock up on some of these bargains. 2002 de Sales, Pomerol ($24.99) The stars of the 2002 Bordeaux vintage are disappearing from our shelves, so this phenomenal bargain has arrived just in time. This is approachable, affordable Pomerol with sweet cherry flavors and berry aromas on a long elegant frame with very fine tannin. We just love it when an underachiever steps up to make a great wine that sells for a song. Good Pomerol usually costs three times as much! 2003 de Pez, St-Estèphe ($27.99) This amazing wine has been a standout at two events already this year: at a large dinner at the University Club in San Francisco, and at my Bordeaux tasting at the store here in the city. Tons of upfront ripe fruit mesh beautifully with earthy aromas and a rich, sweet palate impression. The ripe aspects of the vintage blend well with the brute strength style of this property resulting in the most delicious wine they have made in years. Not to be missed! 2003 Serilhan, St-Estèphe ($19.99) This 40-year-old property has made considerable improvements in the last decades, and you can taste them and more in this fleshy yet forceful bargain. Wine Spectator gave it 89 points and this review: “Aromas of currant, berry and light spice follow through to a full-bodied palate. Thick, jammy texture and a medium finish.” This will age nicely for eight years or so, but we think it is drinking well right now. 2003 Perron, Lalande de Pomerol ($19.99) This tiny estate makes wonderful, ripe and lush wine from 80% merlot and 10% each cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Soils here are sandy and gravelly, ideal for making soft Right Bank Bordeaux. This sweet, round value has very fine tannin and is perfect for tonight or whenever you need a great glass of wine that won’t break the bank. —Steve

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