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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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Tasting with Oliver Krug

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Friday
Jun072013

Champagne Friday: Krug House with Olivier Krug 

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Krug House with Olivier Krug

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne - click for more reviews and to browse our Krug offering on KLWines.com.

I won’t forget the day that Cinnamon and I spent with Olivier Krug this Wednesday. Of all the tastings and wine lunches that I have been to in my 13 years doing the Champagne buying at K&L, this was the best experience I have had outside of traveling to Champagne. The folks from Krug rented a spectacular house in Portola Valley that opened up to the outside completely, decorated with seven pallets of art, memorabilia and photographs of and from the domain.

Olivier Krug personally guided us through a tasting of his current releases, starting with the 2000 Krug "Clos du Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($799) which showed not only the buttery, vinous richness of the house but also the laser like precision of the terroir of Mesnil. In the video below, Olivier explains the vision of his great, great, great grandfather, Joseph Krug as well as the story of this most-famous of all Champagne vineyards:

Krug Brut Rosé Champagne: the most consistently great rose Champagne in the world.We then moved on to the Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne ($149), which shows the true potential of wine blended not just across vine varieties and villages but also time. This is great wine, and a value even at this high price. We also tasted the Krug Brut Rosé Champagne ($279) which showed at its ethereal best, and reminded me of the first encounter with it at the Maison in 2001. The 2000 Krug Brut Champagne ($219) was just turning the corner and showed not only nougat richness but also chalky drive- this is a wine one could drink now or for decades to come. We were then treated to both the fat, golden, spicy 1989 Krug "Collection" Brut Champagne ($499) and the extremely rare (we are only getting 8 bottles) 1985 Krug "Collection" Brut Champagne ($799- special order, due in fall) which is as close to perfect as I have had. This wine is concentrated, not just with vinous power and truffle like allure, but also with mineral drive. What a stunner!

Krug Vintage lineup from Krug House.

At the lunch, which was prepared by Meadowood star chef Christopher Kostow we were treated to unavailable wines brought by the guests of Olivier- the driven and young 1996, the layered, balanced and infinitely long 1988, and the plump, rich, clean 1990.  With the perfect California weather, the gorgeous surroundings and the once-in-a-lifetime wines, it was very, very difficult to leave- especially to go back to work.

Olivier Krug and Cinnamon Westby.

Krug House menu.

If you have been thinking of treating yourself… Krug would be a great splurge- it always delivers.

A toast to you!

–Gary Westby

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