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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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Monday
Apr162012

Steak & Claret Night at the Westbys

By: Gary Westby | K&L Champagne Buyer

Cinnamon and I are on a very strict diet, and one of the most important parts of that diet is eating steak and drinking claret on Friday nights. Bordeaux is magic with steak. I know that many of you might think it is less than cutting edge, but this pairing is a classic for a reason. Recently we picked up ¼ of a steer from Fred Manas at Double Bar O ranch in Esparto, CA, and this past Friday we indulged in a T-Bone from our haul. We gave it four days of dry age in the fridge, added salt and pepper and tossed it in the cast iron pan. We let it rest with a dab of black truffle butter on top and made some fries and a salad to go with it.

"The 1997 Potensac is one of the most youthful 1997s I have tasted..."The 1997 Potensac, Médoc ($26.99) is one of the most youthful 1997s I have tasted and needed the hour that we gave it in the decanter. It is very, very dark, and if I had tasted it blind I am positive I would have missed the vintage. That being said, I think the wine has a lot of charm now as well as power. This is a virile wine with plenty of strict tannin and acidity, but with plenty of black currant fruit to balance it out. It was perfect with the steak, but I would not trifle with this wine with finger food. It got better and better as the night went on and by the last glass was quite layered and complex.

This is a steal and $26.99. If there is a steak in your future, don't miss it!

Gary Westby

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Reader Comments (1)

Dinner at the Westby's, never a disappointment! Wish I'd been there to enjoy. My best to you and Cindy.
April 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Owen

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