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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
Oct262012

Champagne Friday: It's International Champagne Day!

Benoit Marguet inspecting one of his magnums.

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Today is International Champagne Day, so it is a very special Champagne Friday. Later today, I will be in the San Francisco store pouring a tasting of all magnum, all estate-grown Champagnes from 5pm until 6:30 PM. Please join me to celebrate International Champagne Day in SF  if you can! Even if you can’t come, you can still do your part and drink some Champagne today.

Why magnums? I believe the best premium that one can pay in regards to Champagne is the upgrade to a magnum (1.5L) format. Whenever there are enough people to drink two bottles of Champagne- at my house that means three people- I consider a magnum. Since Champagne undergoes its second fermentation in the bottle, a magnum is at a tremendous advantage: not only does it enjoy double the wine to oxygen ratio in the larger bottle, but the curve of the glass allows for more contact with the yeast before disgorgement. This means you get more of the aged character that you do want (contact with the lees) and less of the ageing you don’t want (contact with oxygen).

I hope you can join me this evening in San Fransisco. The cost to taste is only $10! Here's what I will be pouring:

If you have enjoyed the wines of Lallement, Bollinger and Krug in the past, I think you will very much enjoy Michel Arnould.

Bruno Michel "Blanche Brut" Champagne $32.99/ $$79.99 magnum

Marguet Pere et Fils "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Champagne $34.99 / $74.99 magnum

2002 Michel Loriot Vintage Brut Champagne 1.5L $99 (magnum only)

Ariston Aspasie "Brut Prestige" Champagne $39.99/ $84.99

Michel Arnould Verzenay "Brut Reserve" Champagne $32.99/ $64.99 magnum

Michel Arnould Verzenay Brut Rosé Champagne $34.99/ $74.99 magnum

 

A toast to you, hopefully with you!

–Gary

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