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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
Mar202014

Pretty Much Whisky Heaven

Please listen to this lovely song to help set the mood for this blog post. Think wide eyed child full of wonder and pure, innocent, unsullied happiness. Then add hundreds of yards of warehouses containing hundreds of casks of Scotch, and an American in Scotland seeing this for the first time….Happy reading! 

There are independent bottlers, and then there is Signatory. They are the grandaddy of them all, with an immense warehouse that seems to stretch on endlessly. Full of anything you can dream up. It would be like taking the Hershey's Chocolate factory tour and then heading over with a golden ticket to see Willy Wonka and his Factory. 

A chocolate factory that consists of hundreds of tightly-packed barrels that span the length of many warehouses. It was our job to climb into the nooks and crannies, down the rows, over the top of barrels, behind casks, to hunt out the literally hidden beauties just waiting to be tasted. 

With so many amazing casks on my left and right, I had to put my inner Veruca Salt in check – "DADDY (David) I want to try that NOW!"

We methodically made our way through a symphony of casks. Some names rarely seen in the states, like 1995 Imperial and 1998 Mortllach; to barrels of 1980 Glenlivet and 1997 Macallan which certainly raise some eyebrows. So many amazing things. Too many, actually – the Signatory Warehouse is the everlasting Gobstopper of bottlers. 


All in all, we spent a thorough six hours combing through the rows and rows of barrels. Climbing ladders, and barrels, pulling bungs, tasting, spitting on the floor, making sure to leave no stone left unturned. There is no such thing as too much chocolate, and there is no such thing as too much whisky when it is this darn good.  The list of casks that we ended up with feels like the keys to the factory. We can't wait to share them with you!

-Kyle Kurani

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