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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
Sep142012

Champagne Friday: French 75

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Friday, September 12, 2012

French 75

With summer drawing to a close, the citrus zip and aged cognac depth of the French 75 cocktail has a lot of appeal. This drink, which legend says was named after a French canon that shot 75 millimeter shells, is a powerful one, and should be treated with respect.

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne My wife Cinnamon is the real family mixoligist, and she prepared everything in the short demonstration video above. Unfortunately, I could not convince her to get in front of the camera and make the drink! We discovered this cocktail together at Coco 500 in San Francisco, where they make it with Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne. This cocktail is a great one to riff off of, and we have made many tasty variations on the theme at home. For a long time I was a partisan to making it with gin, while Cinnamon preferred Cognac.

Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne One thing that has remained constant is the Champagne- we always use the tail end of a bottle that has been sitting in the fridge door with a stopper in it. I find that Blanc de Blancs tend to balance the Cognac’s aged savor, and the Pinot Noir styles add depth to the gin variation. For the video piece, we used the Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne which worked perfectly with the new Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac. This Ferrand is a great ingredient, and works far better than much more expensive (and far more subtle) Cognacs. The 1840 Formula is made in the three star style from the 19th century, and is a full 5% higher in alcohol than standard Cognac. It is also oilier and weightier with lots of flavor- it won’t get lost in a mixed drink.

 I hope you’ll try this out the next time you would like a stiff cocktail. It is a great one!

 

Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof CognacFrench 75

2 parts Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac

1 Part Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1 Part simple syrup

2 parts Champagne (Blanc de Blancs if you have one open)

Lots of fresh ice

Lemon rind for garnish

We use an ounce per part for ours- and that makes a pretty big aperitif.

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add the cognac, lemon juice and simple syrup. Shake thoroughly and pour into a rocks glass filled with more fresh ice. Top with Champagne, and stir if you like (I do!) finally garnishing with lemon rind.

 

A toast to you!

-Gary

 Check out more educational wine & spirits videos from the experts at K&L on YouTube!

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