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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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Thursday
Feb032011

Getting to Know: Alex Brisoux

What’s your position at K&L ?

I’m the Redwood City store manager and I’ve been with K&L for more than six years.

What did you do before K&L?

Before I started working at K&L I was Sommelier/Manager in a restaurant located in the small ski resort of Mont-Tremblant, Québec (Canada)—north of Montreal.

What’s your favorite movie?

Probably a toss up between Six String Samurai (love the Red Elvises), Hard Core Logo (1996) and Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

What do you do in your spare time?

Spare time, what spare time? Having two kids under the age of two kills the idea of spare time. They are a blast, though, and I enjoy spending my non-working life with my family.

What was your “epiphany wine”?

Wine has always been part of my life. My dad is French, [so] wine was always at the dinner table. If I’m to pick a turning point, it was [at a] dinner party 12 years ago with my wine mentor Mr. Black; we had 1976 Suduiraut with a delicious foie dish. The wine was just stunning. If you are patient enough to keep your hands off the 2007 vintage of Suduiraut for another 20+ years, it will be pretty close.

Describe your perfect meal. What wine(s) would you pair with it?

I would start the evening with the Ariston’s Cepage d’Antan Champagne as a palate cleanser. The first course would be foie gras au torchon with ground Madagascar pink pepper and fleur de sel. This would be paired with 1982 Suduiraut Cuvée Madame, followed by a braised beef poutine with a bottle 1986 Laurel Glen Cab. As a main course I would have venison in a “petit fruit des champs” sauce. I’d drink 1985 Beaune Greves “Vigne de l’Enfant Jesus” from Bouchard Peres. [With] my cheese plate I would drink a 1978 Pichon-Lalande…I would skip dessert unless its crème brûlée with a glass of Michel Loriot “Marie-Leopold” Sec Champagne. To finish me off I would have a 1965 Tomatin 37-year-old (Cask #20945), Duncan Taylor Single Malt Whisky.  

How do you think your palate’s changed?

I gravitate towards more balanced wines.

What do you like to drink?

Water, red, white, pink, beer, Bourbon, Single Malt, Armagnac…you get the point.

What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Don’t believe the hype. Trust your own palate and taste, taste and taste some more.

If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve?

Moliere, Jacques Brel and Jean-Paul Sartre. I would serve them vintage Port.

Want to drink like Alex?

Join K&L's Personal Sommelier Service and select Alex to be your own Personal Sommelier!

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