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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
Aug162010

What We're Drinking

Editor's Note: Last week was busy, what with a visit from famed Bordeaux negociant Bill Blatch and New Zealand winemaker Mike Weersing (Pyramid Valley Vineyards), plus social visits, Sopexa tastings and more. I think everyone is still processing. Here's a preview of what we've been drinking.


Joe Mankein, Wine buyer for Spain, Argentina, Chile and Portugal.

Cantillon Rosé de Gambrinus: This sour raspberry beer does not get any better – don’t hate! 

Cantillon Kriek: Sour cherry lambic beer at its finest.

2005 Lalaudey Moulis-en-Medoc: A token Bordeaux for the list.  Showing really well – plump dark fruits, balanced acidity, youthful.

1979 Il Colle Brunello di Montalcino: Mature but not at all over the hill.  Nicely perfumed, mature earthy cherry fruits, good persistence.

2006 Tenute Dettori Vermentino: At SF’s terrific Sardinian resto, La Ciccia.  Not quite orange wine, I guess this would be dark, hazy yellow wine.  An original take on a wonderful grape.  Grilled sardines are pretty much mandatory with this wine.

Clyde Beffa, co-owner and Bordeaux Buyer.

Tonight 2000 Reserve de Comtesse magnum and 1997 Langoa-Barton.

Last weekend: The fabulous 1989 Margaux and a fairly good 1983 Margaux and 1990 la Chapelle from Jaboulet.

The top wines of last Sunday's Wine Society tasting: 1991 Palmer, 1990 d’Issan, 1966 Corbi Michotte and stunning 1970 Fonseca.

Leah Greenstein, writer/editor.

I've been drinking a lot of beer lately, but few stood out as much as the Brouwerij Verhaeghe "Duchesse de Bourgogne" Flemish Red Ale, which actually won over a non-beer drinker. We paired it with Humboldt Fog and a freshly-baked baugette, and it was like a fig and cherry blanket deftly woven with oak spice and earth.

While I find it hard to drink anything but cocktails at the Hungry Cat in Hollywood, I have to remind myself that they have a great wine list too. Case in point the 2007 Domaine Jean Masson Apremont from the Savoie in France. Made entirely from Jacquère, this white wine was low in alcohol, with quince, orange zest and wet stone minerality on a fresh, slightly oxidized-style frame. It went perfectly with the soft shell crab and pork belly dish. 

Bill Blatch brought a number of special 2009 Bordeaux cuvees with him that were fantastic and easy-drinking, but the one I liked the best, I think was the Chateau La Croix Blanche, which I hope we end up carrying. It was herby and savory, with Asian 5 spice notes and green pepper to complement all that bold 2009 fruit, with incredible mid-palate texture, acidity and a soft finish. 

 

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