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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 Cochinillo (1)

Friday
Jun082012

Spanish & Portuguese Wine News: Tales from Ribera, Part Two

Roman Aqueduct, Segovia

K&L staff member Sarah Covey is on location in Ribera del Duero! Follow her adventures on Uncorked!

Ribera Del Duero is broken down into 4 main provinces of Castilla y Leon: Burgos, Segovia, Soria and Valladolid. Our first stop after the Madrid airport was Segovia. Segovia is a tiny town with multiple churches, monuments, and most importantly- the town's famous specialty: Cochinillo. After wandering the town, we hit up the restaurant where we had our little cochinillo- which I quickly learned meant roasted suckling pig. 

Jose Maria Restaurant

There was nothing that could quite prepare me for the sight of my little roasted piggies for lunch, but thankfully there was an appetizer of deep fried piggies which preceded it, accompanied by my first Ribera Del Duero wine in country: the Pago de Carraovejas 2011. Not officially classified as a Cosecha, or Joven, wine because it had not been in bottle long enough, it was made by the owners of the restaurant specifically for use in the restaurant. Delicious and just what our jet-lagged selves were needing!

Then, with much fanfare, they brought out the little roasted piggies, which had been roaming around Segovia not 2 days before...

Cochinillo

The cochinillo were then ceremoniously whacked over their little noggins and down their spines with a ceramic plate, and then the plate was thrown onto the floor to break so as to prove to us at the table that there was no steel in the plate- the piggies were just that crispy and juicy. Quite a show!

From Segovia we drove to our home base for the week- Penafiel, where we have been staying in the hotel owned and operated by the famous Ribera winemaker Alejandro Fernandez of Tinto Pesquera. His family runs the hotel in addition to other parts of his winemaking business. The hotel is a beautiful interpretation of the classic architecture of the town and the more modern Spanish architecture, with stylistic accents which are similar to the Tinto Pesquera bottle labels.

 

 

 

The view from our hotel of the Castille de Penafiel is an incredible backdrop to ponder our experiences in the region...

 

Next up: our first days with wineries in the region. Stay tuned! In the mean time, give this classic Ribera del Duero from Tinto Pesquera a try, in stock now at K&L:

91 ST: "Deep, bright violet. Blackberry, cherry-vanilla and licorice on the oak-spiced nose. Deep, sweet and pliant, but with very good juicy character and spicy lift to its dark fruit preserve and licorice flavors. Finishes velvety and long, with fine-grained tannins, a repeating notes of licorice and impressive clarity."

 

 

Salud!

-Sarah

***

Sarah C. Covey

Wine Sales Professional

K&L Wine Merchants - Redwood City

sarahcovey@klwines.com

Need wine advice? Check out my wine reviews on KLWines.com