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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
Mar072011

Auction Spotlight: 2001 Conterno Fantino "Sori Ginestra" Barolo

2001 Conterno Fantino "Sori Ginestra" Barolo. These are the actual bottles, not stock photos.It's hard to imagine that Barolo, like much of Italy, didn't have a particularly stellar reputation 30 years ago. But that all changed in 1987 when the Wine Spectator put the 1982 bottle of this wine, Conterno Fantino's "Sori Ginestra" Barolo on the cover of their esteemed magazine. The 1982 was the first vintage produced by Claudio Conterno and Guido Fantino, and the wine came from what's become an acclaimed southfacing vineyard site in Monforte, Sori Ginestra, notable for its sand and clay-like marl soils with lots of silt that are perectly suited to the delicate Nebbiolo grape. The pair of bottles in this acution lot are in excellent condition, sourced from a Bay Area collector who kept them properly stored in a temperature-controlled cellar since purchase.

These bottles come from the 2001 vintage, which the Wine Spectator describes as having produced, "Aromatic, structured and firm reds with racy character." The wine is, also according to the Wine Spectator, the "Greatest wine ever from here and the wine of the vintage." This 99-point wine was $99 upon release and sells for upwards of $150 a bottle these days.  It also received a 95-point review from Antonio Galloni at Robert Parker's Wine Advocate. Still a youngin'--this wine has more than a generation or two of life left. 

Place your bid on this 2-bottle lot of 2001 Conterno Fantino "Sori Ginestra" Barolo...

This auction ends March 13, 2011 at 5 p.m. 

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