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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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Tuesday
Mar262013

K&L Blind Tasting Challenge: Bordeaux Blends,The Results!

Last weekend we hosted the latest in our Blind Tasting Challenge series. This time we took a lineup of traditional Bordeaux Blends from around the world and pitted them against one another. The voting was very tight this time around but eventually a winner emerged: (drum roll please) The De Toren "Z" Stellenbosch, South Africa, $31.99! 

This wine is crafted to be softer and more approachable in it's youth than De Toren's Fusion V bottling that is a more structured cellaring candidate. I think the "Z" charmed our tasters with its rich fruit, depth, concentration and silky tannin structure. The wine also only displays subtle smoky characteristics that so often define South African reds. There is real quality here and a long tradition focused on producing world class Bordeaux style reds. For those of you that have drunk wine from Stellenbosch before, it should come as no surprise that this wine bested the rest of the field and is considerably less expensive than some of its competitors.

Here is the complete lineup:

1: 2009 La Fleur Calon, Montagne St Emilion, Bordeaux, France, $14.99

2:2010 Kathryn Kennedy Lateral, Napa Valley, California, $34.99

3: 2010 Viña Von Siebenthal "Parcela #7" Gran Reserva, Aconcagua Valley, Chile, $16.99

4: 2009Te Mata Estate “Coleraine” Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, $49.99

5 2010 De Torien “Z” Stellenbosch, South Africa, $31.99

6:2010 Sapaio "Volpolo" Bolgheri, Italy, $34.99

7: 2009 Ch. Poujeaux, Moulis en Medoc, Bordeaux, France, $44.99

8: 2008 L'Ecole No. 41 "Perigee" Seven Hills Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley, Washington $44.99

9: 2010 Amelia Park Cabernet-Merlot, Margaret River, Western Australia $19.99

10: 2009 Sacred Hill "Helmsman" Cabernet-Merlot, Gimblett Gravels, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand, $39.99

Until next time,

Cheers

Ryan

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