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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
Jun272007

Castiglion de Bosco

Outstanding Brunello that just arrived at our warehouse...

2001 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99)

91 points Wine Spectator: "Beautiful blackberry, cherry and lightly toasted oak on the nose. Full and silky, with berry and cherry flavors and fine tannins. Balanced. Best after 2008." (04/06) K&L's notes - 4 Four Stars! Plum and spice, sweetness and fresh leather waft delicately out of the glass. Its complexity seems restrained, yet is really more pacific as you might see in the placid face of the Dalai Lama, so full of character but no need to brag. In the mouth the wine is thick, concentrated and powerful, yet overwhelmingly supple, not loud just big, strong and confident. The wine with this sort of description could have nothing but excellent balance and this leads to a wonderfully complex, long finish. The wine reminds me of an elegant, sophisticated, country Lady, whose power is subtle but far reaching. Age 3-5 years and then drink over the next 15+ years. 2,916 cases produced. (Greg St.Clair, K&L Italian buyer)

1999 Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino Campo del Drago ($63.95)

92 points Wine Spectator: "Plenty of crushed blackberries with hints of minerals. Very clean. Full-bodied, with layers of fine tannins and a long caressing finish. A beauty. Very well done for this estate. One to watch in the future. Best from 2005 through 2010." (Web only, 2004)

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