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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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Monday
Mar222010

Getting to Know: Steve Greer

Name: Steve Greer

What’s your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?

I am a salesperson at our Hollywood store and acting as the Hollywood store’s Bordeaux liaison to the buyers.

What did you do before you started working here?

I had left wholesale to return to the restaurant side of things, which only lasted a few years. My body and mind didn’t agree with the lifestyle as it did when I was younger.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Hiking, reading, movies and watching sports, especially Formula 1 racing, which just started again.

What’s your favorite movie?

Children of Men by Alfonso Cuaron is still my favorite movie of the last few years. But I still watch The Royal Tenenbaums by Wes Anderson monthly; it’s hilarious.

What was your “epiphany wine”—the bottle or glass that got you interested in wine? Is there a current wine that you consider the equivalent?

I was working at a wine-focused restaurant in 1992 and a customer gave me a glass of 1982 Haut-Brion. Done. After that I remember the 1990 Châteauneuf-du-Papes and the 1994 California Pinot Noirs, which pushed me towards wine sales and I found my first wholesale job in 1998.

Describe your perfect meal (at a restaurant or prepared at home). What wine(s) would you pair with it?

Easy. Close friends and family at my home preparing my favorite meal to cook: roasted leg of lamb with root vegetables, greens, wild rice, drop biscuits and banana cream pie for dessert.  A case of Bordeaux with dinner, a bottle of Armagnac, some cigars, cards and Pigs (the game) after.

How do you think your palate’s changed over the years?

I was definitely caught up in the rich, extracted wines in the early part of this decade but now I am back to looking for structured wines that are layered with more mineral, spice and earth flavors. For whites I love racy, acid-driven wines with lots of mineralality.

What do you like to drink?

I have been drinking lots of Grenache-based wines from the Southern Rhône and Spain, but also a lot more beer lately from Belgium and the US breweries Dogfish and Avery.

What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Never ever feel intimidated by wine or afraid to ask questions. This is just wine and there is plenty to explore at all price levels and types—at least you’re drinking wine, which is good for you.

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?

I am going to be selfish. I’d love to see both of my grandfathers who passed before I knew them, and my grandmother Helen, who I still miss. I imagine there would be more Bourbon than wine.

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