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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

Not Your Average Joes!

After many months of anticipation I am excited to announce the arrival of the 2004 St. Josephs from Pierre Coursodon. The Coursodons are one of the most revered domaines in the appellation, and for very good reason. The wines are beautiful expressions of syrah and marsanne, with just the right amount of fruit, power and acidity. 2004 St. Joseph Blanc Pierre Coursodon ($25.99) This classic St. Joseph blanc represents all that is fresh, vibrant and inviting about the Rhone valley. Fresh cut flowers, white nectarine and orange blossom honey make this marsanne a brilliant way to start your Provencal meal, or pair with brandade or poached fish. Best from 2006-2008. 2004 St. Joseph Blanc Pierre Coursodon “Le Paradis Saint-Pierre” ($32.99) I am not normally fond of overt oak influence, especially in whites. After trying a bottle of 1998 Le Paradis last year, I’ve been humbled. Buttered apricots with a hint of roasted nuts and a rich waxy lanolin texture. All of this richesse over a solid framework of acidity and brightness. What an over achiever! Best between 2009-2013. 2004 St. Joseph Pierre Coursodon ($25.99) This classic cuvee is forward, fresh and charming, with notes of violets, blackcurrant, rosehips and a whiff of tobacco on the finish. Almost pinot-esque in character, this elegant syrah will absolutely sing with grilled Ahi tuna steaks topped with a dollop of tapenade. Best from 2006-2009. 2004 St. Joseph Pierre Coursodon “l’Olivaie” ($32.99) This prestige cuvee hails from 80+ year old vines. The 2004 vintage exhibits supple-textured ripe fruit, with whiffs of mineral, wet earth and smoke. This more powerful syrah will benefit from a couple years cellar time. However if you cannot wait, then decant for several hours and enjoy with heartier fare. Best from 2008-2013. —Mulan Chan

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