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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 Captain Kirk (1)

Thursday
Mar102011

Getting to Know: Kirk Walker

There is only one Captain Kirk, and we are not talking about he of bad acting and poor commercial choices. No, we're talking about K&L San Francisco's Captain Kirk. He writes the Captain's Log in our newsletter, quotes Heidegger on occasion and, of course, loves wine. Read on to learn more about the one and only Kirk Walker...

What do you do at K&L?

Wines sales, I also moonlight as the assistant to the assistant to the assistant manager.

What did you do before you started here?

I worked for the Wine House in West L.A.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

Yoga, cooking, eating, drinking and reading.

What was your “epiphany wine?”

I had two epiphanies. The first was 1994 Ravenswood Napa Valley Merlot (the one that most young men choose when trying to impress the ladies!) and 1998 Dönnhoff Oberhäuser Brücke Spätlese (I’m still speechless!).

Describe your perfect meal. What wine(s) would you pair with it?

I don’t have a perfect meal. Good food, better company and simple, delicious wines—that sounds like a near-perfect meal!

How do you think your palate has changed over the years?

Once I found what I really liked (see below) it hasn’t changed. I guess I’m stuck in a rut, but what a good one to be stuck in!

What do you like to drink?

Italian wines from Sicily to the Valle d’Aosta, grower-producer Champagnes, German wines, Austrian wines, beer and Scotch.

What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?

Do not leave your wine in your car on a hot day. Think of it as a pet or family member; there should be laws against this type of alcohol abuse!

If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would you invite?

Richard Feynman—Rhum and a lot of it. Baruch Spinoza—a Donnhoff Spätlese or two. Joseph Campbell—a Campanian red, Aglianico or Casavecchia served with spit-roasted lamb.

Want to drink like the Captain?

Join our Personal Sommelier Service and have Kirk Walker choose your wines!