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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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Thursday
Jun172010

World Cup Match-Up: Greece Beats Nigeria

Earlier today Greece scored its first-ever World Cup goal. Then it scored another, securing what would also, ultimately, be their first-ever World Cup victory over Nigeria, 2-1.

While we have a much more in-depth post on Greek wines scheduled, you should join in celebrating their victory this weekend with a bottle of bubbly, and not just any bubbly, but Domaine Tselepos Amalia Brut ($23.99).

Originally from Cyrpus, Domaine Tselepos owner Yiannis Tselepos was trained in oenology at the famed University of Dijon in France, graduating in 1978. He worked around Burgundy for the next couple of years, picking up knowledge that would turn him into a pioneer of the Greek wine renaissance when he returned home.  He settled in the Peloponnese where he has been making wine ever since.

This sparkler is made in the traditional method (methode champenois) entirely from Moschofilero from a single vineyard with redding clay soils. It has a uniquely floral nose that is distinctly Moschofilero, with hints of honey and crisp yellow plum on the nose and palate and freshly-baked bread. Refreshing, clean and very festive, it's a great tipple even if you're not watching soccer.