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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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Getting to Know: Anne Pickett

What do you do for K&L and how long have you done it?

I’ve been with K&L for 20 years. My anniversary is on 7/7, which is also the Festival of San Fermin and the running of the bulls in Pamplona. I am in wine sales and customer service.

What did you do before you started here?

I had just graduated from the California Culinary academy and was working on Biochemistry and English degrees at Berkeley.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love traveling, reading, cooking, movies, photography and the great outdoors!

What’s your favorite movie?

Only one? Tampopo—food, wine, and the noodle master…what more can there be? I also love The Quiet Man, Fellini’s 8 ½, The Seven Samurai, Star Wars, and Jamon Jamon.

What was your “epiphany wine?”

The first wine sentence I ever remember hearing was “Lopez de Heredia’s Viña Tondonia is the greatest wine in all of Spain.” I think I was like five or six, and that sentence is still as true today as it was then. I tried the 1964 Tondonia Tinto and the Blanco at a tasting in Madrid and they were extraordinary!

Describe your perfect meal. What wine(s) would you pair with it?

I was just reading My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs and Their Final Meals and was glad to see most chose rather simple meals. I too would pick something simple: friends and family all hanging out in the backyard having orrechiete with broccoli rabe and sausage, a big salad and a simple Italian wine poured into my favorite tumblers. 

How do you think your palate has changed over the years?

When I first started in the wine business, I was a big geek, waaaaaay into Burgundy and German wines. The longer I am in the business, the more I go back to the wines I grew up with…the great reds from Spain and Italy.

What do you like to drink?

There is never a bad time for Champagne, but I enjoy a well made wine in almost any style.

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

Trust yourself. Don’t be swayed by other people’s palates. You are your own best judge.

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

I would love to have a great Chianti with Galileo, a fantastic Rioja with Cervantes and a great Margaux, my fave is the 1953, with Thomas Jefferson.


Want to drink wines that Anne likes?

Join K&L's Personal Sommelier Service and make her your Personal Sommelier.

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