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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 Mirror Pond Pale Ale (1)

Wednesday
Oct062010

Wine Wednesday: Hop in the Dark

Cascade hops at Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. Photo by Leah Greenstein.

Sure it's "Wine" Wednesday, but it's raining and I spent most of the night dreaming about beer. Beer from the Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon, to be specific. Deschutes has been brewing craft beers since 1988, back when Bend was just a small Central Oregon town in the high desert foothills of Mount Bachelor and the term "craft beer" hadn't been invented yet. They started out with three beers: Black Butte Porter, Bachelor Bitter and Cascade Golden Ale. It's that first beer, the Black Butte Porter, that got me interested in beer, with its incredibly balanced but rich profile full of espresso, cocoa and a hint of hoppy bitterness. It quickly replaced Guinness as my beer of choice.

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