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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 direct imports (31)

Wednesday
Oct122011

Iberian Wine News 10/12/2011: Sherry Master Class this Friday at K&L RWC

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member
Spanish & Portuguese news:  10/12/11

Muy buenas tardes and greetings from "The West Wing" here at K&L Wine Merchants World HQ in beautiful unincorporated Redwood City/Atherton, CA!
 
As usual, we've got some news for you.
 
1.)  Friday 10/14 SHERRY Tasting/Master Class featuring JJ Clifton of Estate Wines
(Redwood City, 5-6:30pm)
 
This will be serious.  It will be fun.  It will be serious fun.  In all seriousness, I have not been as excited for a store tasting as I have been for this one in a long while.  Unfortunately, I will be 3,100 miles away in Baltimore, but don't worry about me - I have tasted and enjoyed these wines many times.  In order to vicariously experience this tasting, I intend to drink at least one of these in Bawldimer, MD.
 
Known as an instigator of the #sherryrevolution, importer Andre Tamers of De Maison Selections  represents the sherries we will be pouring this evening.  He extolls the virtues of volatility, respects the almacenista and respects the flor.  If none of this makes sense to you, then I encourage you to ask JJ for an explanation.  For $5, you will taste some of the best wines in the world, one of whose average age exceeds 50 years.  Also, how about some Rioja from Remelluri? Here is our anticipated line-up:
 
2007 Remelluri Reserva Rioja - $34.99
 
Grant Fino "La Garrocha" El Puerto de Santa Maria (375ml)
 
El Maestro Sierra Fino Jerez de la Frontera (375ml)
 
El Maestro Sierra Amontillado 12 Year Jerez de la Frontera (375ml)
 
Gutierrez Colosia "Sangre y Trabajadero" Oloroso El Puerto de Santa Maria (375ml)
 
Gutierrez Colosia Palo Cortado "Viejisimo" VORS El Puerto de Santa Maria (375ml)
 
2.) Killer Garnacha from outside Madrid
 
Anyone remember that delicious, inexpensive garnacha we sold with the picture of the woman, glass in hand, on top of a bear?  Well that wine would be the 2009 Camino de Navaherreros,  a garnacha based wine produced from fruit grown in high altitude vineyards around the village of Sanmartín de Valdeiglesias, a bit south of Madrid.  We should be carrying the 2010 Camino de Navaherreros shortly (this is their entry level), but we just brought in two of their single vineyard garnachas.  I'm generally not a grenache fan, but if you tend to favor the bright, intense yet higher acid, mineral, transparent, more elegant expression of this grape, DO NOT PASS THESE UP. They are not cheap, but they are great.  Drink now or cellar for a decade.  I rarely encounter (if ever?) young grenache as tasty as this.
 
2009 Bernabeleva "Arroyo del Tortolas" Garnacha Vinos de Madrid - $39.99
 
2009 Bernabeleva Garnacha De Viña Bonita Vinos de Madrid - $49.99
 
3.) Some events we're looking forward to
 
Sunday October 16th Vibrant Rioja walkaround tasting at Campanile Restaurant, Los Angeles (4-6pm)
$25 to taste at least 25 wines, including some top producers and our new direct imports from Miguel Merino and Bodegas Puelles. Tickets available online:
 
Thursday October 20th (5-6:30pm in Redwood City) -
Rioja tasting featuring our new DIs:  Puelles and Miguel Merino!
 
Friday, December 2nd (5-6:30pm in Redwood City) - Bodegas Riojanas! 
More details later.  There will be food for this one:  chorizo, jamón, maybe even paella?  Stay tuned and check the event link on facebook for updates. 
 
4.) Portuguese sure shots
 
Both of these are inexpensive, interesting, and sure to be a success at table.
 
2010 Luis Pato Maria Gomes - $11.99
I'd offer something enticing and snappy, but Susan Thornett already did that with her own terrific review:
 
2009 Marques de Montemor Alentejo - $11.99
A lot to like here, read about it in the link below
 
Saludos,
Joe
 
---
Joe Manekin
Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer
K&L Wine Merchants
Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

 

Wednesday
Oct052011

Iberian Wine News 10/4/2011: 

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member
 
 
Spanish & Portuguese Wine News 10/4/2011

Plenty of new stuff this week.
 
1.) Great wines from Michael Sullivan/Beaune Imports
 
At the risk of leaving out any number of our terrific suppliers, I do not intend to regularly feature any one importer's wines, but this week warrants an exception.  Beaune Imports, whom you may recognize as the importer of many top French properties including:  Clos Rougeard, Didier Dagueneau, Francois Chidaine, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine de Montille and others, has recently expanded his Spanish selections.  We have enjoyed Sullivan's Spanish wines over the years, but Michael has dug a bit deeper this time and added some very cool wines.
 
Francois Chidaine "Tres P" Tempranillo y Monastrell Bullas - $15.99
Rich, sauvage, exotic, yet balanced.  For the braised meat!
 
2010 Adega Vella Mencia Ribeira Sacra - $15.99
Bright and snappy, precise red fruits.  Yes.
 
2010 Diego de Lemos Mencia Ribeira Sacra - $21.99
Deeper bass tones, quite mineral, impressive depth of flavor, all without any oak and at 12.5% abv. 
 
2.) Madeira
 
Need a fairly dry madeira to cook with?  I recently made one of the tastiest soups I have ever cooked:  onions, garlic, bacon, black lentils, san marzano tomatoes, water, smoked paprika, parsley, kale and a few healthy glugs of Barbeito 3 Year Old Seco.  So simple, but so good.  I also was reminded that, as an aperitif served at cellar temperature, this madeira is delicious.  Staff really enjoyed this one; even Jim Barr (not always the biggest fan of the fortifieds) liked it.  This is my fortified wine of the moment.
 
Barbeito 3 Year Old Seco Madeira - $17.99
 
3.) DI update
 
We tasted the Miguel Merino wines and I was very happy with how the Redwood City staff received them.  Lots of good feedback.  And, to my relief, I would agree that the wines were showing well - still recovering from their journey but certainly ready to go now if need be (personally I would wait another few weeks to let them settle in).  Especially tasty were the 2005 Miguel Merino Reserva and the 2008 Miguel Merino Viñas Jovenes.  Even the staunchest of Rioja traditionalists will appreciate the textures and purity of fruit in these - as Miguel describes them - updated classics.
 
2008 Miguel Merino "Viñas Jovenes" Rioja
 
2005 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja - $29.99
 
4.) Tasting events
  
Friday October 7th 
Vibrant Rioja tasting (featuring a few of the new DI's!) in San Francisco store (5-6:30pm). $5
Vibrant Rioja tasting (featuring a few of the new DI's!) in Hollywood store (5:30-7pm). $5
Bodegas Ontañon (great up-and-coming Rioja property!) tasting in Redwood City store (5-6:30pm). $5
 
Friday October 14th
Sherry focused tasting  in Redwood City (5-6:30pm).  From quaffers to collectibles. We will be pouring Remelluri's terrific Rioja as well. Price TBD.
 
Sunday October 16th
For the SoCal people and folks who may happen to be in Los Angeles this weekend. Vibrant Rioja walkaround tasting at Campanile (4-6pm).  $25 to taste at least 25 wines, including some top producers and our new direct imports from Miguel Merino and Bodegas Puelles. Tickets available online:
 
Thursday October 20th
Vibrant Rioja tasting in Redwood City store (5-6:30pm). $5
 
Have a great week everyone.
 
Saludos,
Joe
 
---
Joe Manekin
Spanish, Portuguese, Latin American Wine Buyer
K&L Wine Merchants
Ph: 877.559.4637 ext. 2748

joemanekin@klwines.com

Thursday
Sep222011

Iberian Wine News: Miguel Merino and Bodegas Puelles 

By: Joe Manekin | K&L Staff Member

 

Exciting week, let's get to it.... 

 

1)  DI's! Direct Imports!  Direct from the farm to our stores to your cellar!

Well, the unthinkable is happening this week:  we are actually receiving a container from Europe on time in 2011!  And not just any container.  We are introducing our first two purely direct (unbrokered, visit the folks, shake hands, agree to be partners) wines which we have worked with in Spain.  They are both Rioja producers  and I'd love to introduce you to them.

 

Miguel Merino is a bodega, the man behind the bodega, as well as his son Miguel who - you guessed it - also helps out at the bodega.  Located in the beautiful town of Briones in Rioja Alta, Miguel Merino describes his wines as "updated classics."  The classic component would include very well situated, mature vines planted in calcareous clay in a cool part of the D.O.  These roughly eight hectares of vines are cultivated organically, still plowed by horse, and owned both by Miguel and a close friend of his.  "Updated" likely refers to Miguel's penchant for used barrels (used meaning 2-4 years old, not 2-4 decades old), coopered from a blend of French and American oak.  The wines taste like Rioja but are less marked by wood than many examples of both the traditional and more modern styles.  All of the Miguel Merino wines should age quite nicely.  I really look forward to turning people on to these wonderful wines.

 

Bodegas Puelles is a winery located in Abalos, another small Rioja Alta town, and it is run by Jesús Puelles and his brother.  Jesús works the vineyards, his brother handles the cellar.  Their vines are also farmed primarily organically, with a minimum use of treatments and naturally growing cover crops utliized between the rows.  They face north towards the majestic Sierra Cantabria mountains - they are very, very close affording the visitor quite a view.  Though we currently only carry a wonderfully bright and satisfying 07 crianza along with what is perhaps my favorite unoaked white rioja, we hope to bring in a few more wines from these folks; these wines are seriously good values.  And, if you are ever visiting in Rioja, the Puelles family runs a lovely inn with a few rooms offering beautiful views of their vines.  I hear that Jesús is quite the host, and having spent a brief amount of time with him, I do not doubt it.

 

2008 Miguel Merino "Viñas Jovenes" Rioja Alta - $19.99 

 

2005 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja Alta - $29.99 

 

2004 Miguel Merino Gran Reserva Rioja Alta - $39.99  

  

 2009 Miguel Merino Mazuelo de Quinta Cruz Rioja Alta - $24.99 

 

2009 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja - $11.99 

 

2007 Bodegas Puelles Crianza Rioja - $15.99

 

 
2) Txakoli Tasting this Friday!
 
Cold Basque white wine - does it get any better on a Friday??  There will be some fresh 2010 Isastegi cider as well.  Apples never tasted so good.
 
Friday, 9/23/2011 5pm-6:30pm $5

 

TXOX! (if that's a new expression for you, you'll learn all about it on Friday)

 

3) Non-DI Spanish Wine of the Week

In a world where commodity wines with goopy textures and sweet oak flavors tend to garner much of the attention, it provides some level of comfort that affordable, rustic wines of character such as this one still exist.

 

 

 

 

 

Hasta la proxima semana....

-Joe

*** 

Joe Manekin is the K&L Buyer for the wines of Spain, Portugal, and South America. He is committed to supporting the hard-working folks out there making honest wines that show a sense of place. When he is not at K&L, Joe enjoys cooking, traveling, supporting his friends at Terroir, doing occasional PR, booking and recording work for reggae band JohnStone, and writing for his wine, food and music blog, Old world Old School (www.oldworldoldschool.blogspot.com).