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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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Wednesday
May022012

Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 5/2/12: Back from Spain!

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Spanish & Portuguese Wine Buyer

Greetings everyone,

Let's go with the classic 1, 2, 3 bullet point format for today:

1.) Back from Spain!

My K&L Hollywood colleague Keith Mabry and I just returned from our trip to Spain (primarily spent in Rioja, with a little time in Penedes) and we are very much looking forward to some new wines coming in as a result.  New direct imports to expect some time in the next few months include:

- An often overlooked, historic bodega in Rioja (dates back to the 14th c) with a lovely traditional range of wines. 

- A new bodega who produces terrific, expressive, judiciously oaked wine in Rioja (and, interestingly, also distributes wines from Paul Pernot, Michel Lafarge, and other Burgundy producers in Spain)

- A killer 1999 gran reserva from Bodegas Puelles (don't worry, we will surely email you when it arrives in a few months)

- Two fantastic, smaller cava producers from Penedes.  More details on those later as we finalize our orders.

For any of you planning trips to Spain, I encourage you to contact me for suggestions on places to stay, eat, and of course winery visit recommendations.

2.) Miguel Merino:  He's once again carrying a bag

"Carrying a bag" is industry speak for working "on the street," which is slang for selling wine wholesale to retail and restaurant accounts.  If you know the Merino story, you know that he used to carry a bag selling Riojas for $2 a bottle at a time when 1st growth Bordeaux probably cost $30 per bottle.  Well, we convinced him to dust off his old wine bag, head back to the States and tell his story (as well as the story of his delicious Rioja wines made all from Briones fruit in Rioja Alta).  We will likely have an in-store tasting in Redwood City on Tuesday June 19th and a dinner in San Francisco on Wednesday June 20th. Final dates still TBD, but please mark your calendars as both of these events should be lots of fun (especially dinner).  Miguel tells great stories and the best stories invariably are told over good food and drink.  Hope that you can join us.

3.) On third party reviews and TWA's new Spain critic

While all things third party and 100 point scale are typically verboten on my email list (not to criticize, just that I prefer this to be a more personal, subjective format) I do think it's worth a quick mention that I read the recent Wine Advocate Catalunya round-up from new Spanish critic Neal Martin, and found it quite interesting.  Neal's take on wines, the evident seriousness with which he approaches his work, the journalistic and academic rigor he seems to apply should all be good things for Spanish wine.  His more conservative scoring may not turn farmers into ferrari drivers, but his intellectual curiosity, wit and writing will certainly result in some more lively reading.

Alright, that's it for this week.  We'll be selling stuff again next week.

Un saludo,

Joe

---

Joe Manekin

Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer

K&L Wine Merchants

Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

joemanekin@klwines.com

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