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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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« Talking Turkey: An Ex-Pat Thanksgiving | Main | Global Zinfandel Day »
Wednesday
Nov172010

Wine Wednesday: Turkey on the Brain

I have a love/hate relationship with Thanksgiving. I love the concept--an entire day devoted to gratitude, friends and family --and I love the food...mostly. You see, for me the problem with Thanksgiving is that there's too much food. Don't get me wrong, I love a big family feast, but the modern Thanksgiving meal often seems a little disjointed, a bunch of random dishes made to satisfy one person or another, all piled on a plate, but not always complementary. That makes finding the right Thanksgiving wine as hard as proving what the Pilgrims actually ate. Too bad America's best known historic oenophile Thomas Jefferson never weighed in on the subject.

So that brings us today's wine, which, incidentally isn't American, but has the capacity to please nearly everyone at the table--from Aunt Sally dropping ice cubes into her glass to cousin Phil, who seems to think everything he does is better or more interesting than everyone else. The 2009 La Hitaire Blanc "Les Tours" Vin de Pays des Cotes de Cascogne ($9.99) comes from Southwestern France is is made from Ugni Blanc, Colombard and Gros Manseng, similar to the composition of Cognac. Citrus-scented, the wine has hints of orange blossom, tangerine and nectarine on its nose. In the mouth, it's like biting into a sweet, juicy ripe nectarine, with hints of lime and mineral filling in. It's balanced and clean on the finish, with plenty of acidity throughout to add succulence to the driest turkey and a sprightly bounce and sweetness to cranberry sauce. Most importantly, it's priced so that you can enjoy bottle after bottle, slowly drowning out everything your cousin Phil seems to be blathering on about.

Check back tomorrow for more Thanksgiving picks, as well as some Turkey Day recipes from some of our favorite wineries.

Leah Greenstein

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