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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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Friday
Mar162012

Best of the "Off" Vintages

You'll hear a lot of hype about vintage in Bordeaux.  2009 is considered by many, including one Robert Parker, to be the best vintage ever.  2005 was also considered outstanding, as was the glorious year of 2000.  With high scores come even higher prices, raising the cost of many bottles far beyond what the everyday shopper can afford.  That's why many of us at K&L shop for Bordeaux value in the "off" vintages - years that are not considered collectable, but can still provide an amazing quality of wine for far less.  One of the best examples of value I've seen in the store as of late is the 2007 La Croix de Beaucaillou $39.99 - the second wine of esteemed St. Julien producer Ducru- Beaucaillou.  The standard Ducru from 2007 sold for a whopping $100 a bottle, but the wine they put into the La Croix is also top notch.  Full of rich red fruit and lovely delicate tannins, the wine contradicts the overall score of the vintage. 

Our Bordeaux guys loved this wine and their notes are as follows: This wine was quite sweet on the palate. Lots of black fruit flavors even though it has quite a bit of cabernet in the blend. This is a very good second wine. Toasty oak aromas lead to the palate. Clyde loves this wine's Asian spice aromas and flavors.

I've also noticed that I'm not the only staff member taking this wine home.  The Croix de Beaucaillou is a true staff insider wine - an example of us taking our job home with us.  Our customers depend upon us to find these diamonds in the rough and we get a kick out of doing it.

-David Driscoll

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