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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
Jul192013

Champagne Friday: One Great Bottle - 2000 Krug Brut Champagne

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

One Great Bottle: 2000 Krug Brut Champagne

A bottle of vintage Krug is a fine centerpiece for a meal, and last Friday Cinnamon, her mother Margaret and my father Jim lived it up with the 2000. In my father’s piece on capsule collecting on the blog he mentioned that he had never tried the 2000, and the team at Krug decided to change that. When I received this great windfall with instructions to drink it with my father, I immediately started thinking about pairings.

For me, very rich Champagne goes best with pate, and the very best of rich Champagne, Krug Vintage, deserves the very best of pate. I got online and ordered a Torchon of Foie Gras from Hudson Valley Farms in New York which they shipped overnight to me. This farm-direct Foie Gras had been cooked in Sauternes and was every bit as good as the best I have had in France. We did almost nothing to it- I sliced it into generous blocks and Cinnamon plated it with fleur de sel, pepper, brioche soldiers and fresh fig. My father poured the Krug and it was time to enjoy Champagne Friday!

Torchon of Foie Gras from Hudson Valley Farms in New York was shipped to me overnight!

Dad and Krug

This batch of 2000 Krug Brut Champagne ($219) is currently in stcck. The bottle of 2000 Krug we enjoyed was from the ID# 210008 batch, the same as what we currently have on the shelf at K&L. Looking this up at www.krug.com, I found that this wine was disgorged in spring 2010 after ten years in the Krug cellar deep beneath Reims. I love the new transparency at the house of Krug, and these ID numbers are great on the vintage wines, but even better for the multi-vintage bottling which had always been a mystery in the past. Now, it is easy to see which harvest these wines are based on and how many reserve vintages went into them.

Our bottle of 2000 showed so well with Foie Gras that I am worried for both my waistline and my bank balance! The liver brought out the scintillating, electric side of the Champagne and highlighted the chalky drive of the top notch Chardonnay in the blend. This refreshing character made it far too easy to take big bites of the duck liver! As the wine opened up, hazelnut depth from the Pinot Noir and savory intrigue from the Meunier developed, and that savor mirrored the flavor of the Foie Gras perfectly. This wine is at the very beginning of its drinking window, and has a huge amount of time in hand. At the end of the evening, after our main course and much conversation, the last drops of this bottle showed even more complexity. This is a great cellar candidate!

A toast to you,

–Gary

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