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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
May032006

June’s Italian Picks

In February, Greg and I went to Valdobbiadene region (Province of Treviso. Venice is about 30 miles away) to meet up with Silvano and visit his estate, Silvano Follador (No disappointments here). Prosecco grapes (minimum 85%) along with verdiso, perera, and bianchetta (maximum of 15%) are currently allowed in the blend. Silvano is in his early Twenties and doing a fantastic job. With the help of his sister Alberta they make four types of Prosecco ( Sui-Lieviti, Cartizze, Brut and Extra Dry), and right now we have the last two in stock. We LOVE this stuff, and you will love the price. The Silvano Follador Extra Dry ($10.99) is prefect for your summer entertaining! Pear and honeydew melon balanced with great acidity and rich texture, by itself or for making mimosas or Bellini’s. The Silvano Follador Brut ($10.99), though dryer on the palate has a very creamy texture and yeastiness with an incredible length on the finish and a very fine mouse that just dances on the tongue. 2002 Villa Antinori Toscano Rosso ($15.95) Earthy and light strawberry with some cherry undertone. Medium body, with soft acidity and a delicate finish. Sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon, merlot and syrah. This one is very user friendly for cocktail hour. 2004 Ruggeri Corsini Barbera d’Alba ($13.99) From the husband and wife team Nicola Argamante and Loredana Addari, and wow have they have hit another one out of the ballpark! This barbera is medium to full bodied with lots of black cherries, raspberries blended with some minerality and a touch of violet on the finish. Enjoy with your barbequed tri tip or burgers. —Mike Parres

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