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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
Dec072012

Champagne Friday: Champagne in All Sizes!

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

One of the most frequent requests I get from customers here at K&L is for Champagne in non-standard sizes. This month in the newsletter, I wrote about the virtues of magnums, especially during the holidays when there are plenty of friends and family to share a glass with together. I thought it was time to do a feature on bottle sizes, and have a good presentation for you today, including all the crazy names and (much more importantly) the rules regarding whether they are fermented in the bottle or not.

Additionally, I have made a chart for you here on the various sizes:

Name

Capacity

Equivalent (in bottles)

Notes

Split

187ml

1/4 bottle

Can be decanted

Half-Bottle

375ml

1/2 bottle

Must be bottle fermented

Bottle

750ml

1

Must be bottle fermented

Magnum

1.5 l

2

Must be bottle fermented

Jeroboam

3 l

4

Must be bottle fermented

Rehoboam

4.5 l

6

Can be decanted

Methuselah

6 l

8

Can be decanted

Salmanazar

9 l

12

Can be decanted

Balthazar

12 l

16

Can be decanted

Nebuchadnezzar

15 l

20

Can be decanted

 

Here is a smattering of bottles we have in-stock in the various sizes:

 Pommery "Pop" Rosé Champagne (187ml) at $12.99 makes a great stocking stuffer!In split, we have the Pommery "Pop" Rosé Champagne (187ml) at $12.99. This was designed to be drunk from a straw in nightclubs, and is all the rage with Parisian models. I have been trying to get more of them to shop here, but so far I have been happy that our regular customers have been buying them.

Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Champagne is available in 750ml, 1.5 L (Magnum), 6L (Methuselah), and 9L (Salmanazar)! In half bottles, the Fleury Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml) $27.99 is just the right size for a glass each before dinner. It is composed of 100% pinot noir, is made by maceration, with all of the skins in contact with all of the juice. Most rosés made in this style are very big, but this one is the exception; it is very elegant.

For a regular bottle, it is hard to beat the great value of the Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne at $27.99. It is all estate fruit and aged for five years on the lees! If you have never had this, try it!

When it comes to magnums, I recommend them all. This is the way to drink Champagne and there is something truly magical about this particular size. I love the new 2007 Franck Bonville "Millesime" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne 1.5L at $84.99 for its fantastic Chablis like tension between richness and minerality. This could go with crab tonight, or be buried for decades in your cellar.

For Jeroboam, the Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne (3L) at $369 will make quite an impression at your next party. It is the benchmark big house rose for a reason and four bottles in one goes around more than once at a holiday party!

For bigger sizes, we have very few as we prefer just to deal with bottle fermented Champagne. Luckily, Pierre Paillard bottle ferments their big bottles and we have both methuselah (Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Champagne 6L at $599) and salmanazar (Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Champagne 9L at $899) available in very small quantities.

A toast to you!

-Gary

 

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Reader Comments (1)

Great post as I had no idea there was this much of a difference. Just tried my first mag of champagne recently before seeing this and it was much better than expected. Have tried many still wine mags but for some reason never for champagne. Lesson learned...

I had heard that bottles above a mag might not last as long since the corks were of less consistent quality. Would you agree with that and is it the same with the Jero of champagne?
December 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNorm

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