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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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Tuesday
Nov302010

Supreme Court Asked to Hear Wine Shipping Case

Let me start by apologizing to our friends in Austin, in Boston and in Atlanta. And to our pals in Ann Arbor, Missoula and Chicago, not to mention our fans in Miami and Burlington. We can't ship wine to you. Not yet, anyway.

It's been five years since the United States Supreme Court heard and ruled on Granholm v. Heald, a case that deemed Michigan and New York State laws barring out-of-state wineries from selling direct to consumers unconstitutional. The laws, according to the majority opinion, violated the Constitution's Commerce Clause and weren't necessary for the states to prevent underage access. At the time, the case seemed groundbreaking. It looked like the barriers between a consumer and a broader selection of wines were coming down. But another wine shipping law, this time in Texas, has shown that the issue is far from resolved.

A recent ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in the four-year-old suit Wine Country Gift Baskets v. Steen says that the Granholm decision doesn't apply to retailers, like us here at K&L, only to producers. The ruling maintained that the 21st Amendment, which repealed Prohibition but allowed states to determine alcohol laws for themselves, granted Texas the right to discriminate between in-state and out-of-state wine retailers. 

The Specialty Wine Retailers Association has asked the Supreme Court to hear the Texas case with the hope that they will not treat retailers, who are engaged in identical retail transactions as producers, differently, and that the principles of the Commerce Clause will be upheld.

To learn more about this and other cases that could be preventing YOU from having access to the wines you want, visit Wine Without Borders, and subscribe to their newsletter.

Leah Greenstein

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