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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
Jan102011

Craft Your Own Cocktails with Slanted Door's Jennifer Colliau

Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand FoodsHow are you doing on those New Year's resolutions? Need a little help? If, like me, you resolved to craft better cocktails at home this year (whether to save a little money or to be a better host), have we got a shortcut for you! K&L's Melissa Lavrinc Smith is teaming up with Jennifer Colliau of San Francisco's Slanted Door and pre-Prohibition cocktail ingredients company Small Hand Foods, for a little cocktail college this Thursday night at Urban Legend Cellars in Oakland. Jennifer will demonstrate how to make five classic cocktails with a modern twist, focusing on basic techniques, ingredients and, of course, a little dash of history. Tickets are $65 per person and available through Brown Paper Tickets

Thursdays class is just the first in a series of classes centered around food, wine, spirits and beer in the Bay Area scheduled for 2011. Future cocktail classes will center around Farmers' Market ingredients, pre-Prohibition cocktails and Absinthe. Stay tuned for more info.

What: Classic Cocktails with Jennifer Colliau

Where: Urban Legend Cellars, Oakland

When: Thursday, January 13 from 7-9:30 p.m.

Leah Greenstein