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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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Entries in Amontillado (3)

Friday
Mar062015

A Tale of Two Amantillados

 

Herederos de Argüeso was established in 1822 by León de Argüeso in Sanlucar de Barrameda only two years after his move to the city. He quickly prospered as a grocer and used his money to purchase the cellar of San Jose in the barrio bajo containing some very old soleras. Today, a team of bodegas belonging to Argüeso are situated in the same area, on the same street and have some stunning buildings that hold soleras with the original coffered ceilings from the 16th century convent that used to lie there. The barrio bajo is said to be unique due to its position that traps the humidity and salty sea air into the neighborhood thanks to the barrier created by the higher barrio alto. All of the Argüeso wines have a beautiful salinic and tangy character to them which can be attributed to the barrio bajo and proximity to the sea. León de Argüeso did not marry or have children, so he left his fortunes to his niece and nephew, thus the names Herederos (heirs) de Argüeso. The coolest part of it all.. the original solera systems León purchased (which were already fairly old) are still in production today, and said to be up to 250 years old. The wines of Argüeso are difficult to get on the export markets.


I know what you’re thinking, 'why would you tell me that story about this fantastic producer if I can’t even get their sherry?'.....That’s exactly how Joe Manekin, our sherry buyer, and Alexander Russan of Alexander Jules felt, so they sought out to remedy this problem.


K&L and Alexander Jules (a local Sherry importer and bottler) teamed up to get Argüeso to California. Together they went to Sanlucar and were tasked with the difficult, and simply agonizing chore of tasting 27 barrels of very old and rare (VORS) Argüeso Amontillado in order to determine which bota was their favorite. Very old and rare indeed, this 27 barrel solera is an average of 50-60 years old!! Ultimately Joe and Alex chose two bota (barrels), bottling each as single barrel Amontillados. There is a very limited amount of this stuff considering you are only legally allowed to remove a bit less than 10% of the wine from each bota. After days and days of tasting and eating copious amounts of jamon, they finally returned with two gorgeous and rare Amontillados:


The Alexander Jules Amontillado "Singular" K&L Single Barrel 4/27 Sanlucar de Barrameda, which is the more feminine expression of the two with notes of fresh ground espresso, cocoa and dark chocolate, white flowers and old books. The palate certainly shows its fino roots with fresh, high-toned brightness, apple skins and tons of salinity. Finishing with roasted hazelnuts, toffee, apricots and a full yet elegant round body. On the other hand, the Alexander Jules Amontillado "Singular" K&L Single Barrel 19/27 Sanlucar de Barrameda is more masculine with an intense nose of smoked almonds, deep dark roasted coffee, salted caramel, dried figs and prunes. The palate is bit chubbier and meatier with even more intense notes of salinity, espresso beans, toffee and caramel.


There were only about 65 bottlings of each the 4/27 and the 19/17 and there are very few bottles left to be had. A rare chance to taste not only Argüeso but single barrel bottlings of a very old solera.


For more information on the collaboration visit Joe’s original post about his trip.

-Olivia Ragni

 

 

 

 

 

Friday
Dec102010

Food-Pairing Friday: Salted Caramel Bars

Salted Caramel Bars from What's Gaby Cooking.

Hanukkah, which ended on Wednesday, was just the start to a frenetic and festive holiday season filled with dinners, parties and, of course, lots of sweets. Cookies tend to get top billing--just look at the holiday issues of every food magazine--because for their usual diminutive, single-serving size and general simplicity to make, they pack in a lot of pleasure.

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Monday
Jul122010

What We're Drinking

The K&L staff had fun this weekend. Here's a sampling of what they drank. How about you?

Mulan Chan-Randel, K&L Rhône and French Regional wine buyer: At my friend's house for an outdoor dinner: Grilled salmon in grape leaves, entrecote of beef, assorted grilled vegetables, artisanal cheeses, macaroons and flourless chocolate cake. We paired all that with: 2001 J.J. Christoffel Urziger Wurzgarten Spätlese, 1992 Domaine de Chevalier Blanc, 1981 Palmer and 1962 Palmer. I have very nice friends.

Anne Pickett, Redwood City: I had a glass of the 2008 Julian Chivite Gran Feudo Rosado from Navarra with three kinds of tapas: Garbanzos con Chorizo, papas bravas and pan con tomate. A la Furia Roja!!! Salud!!

 

David Othenin-Girard, K&L Spirits buyer: I had the 1998 Montfaucon Côte de Rhône - It was ridiculous!!! I also had the Kern River Brewing Company's "Just Outstanding" IPA.  It's so good that no one will be able to find any...

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