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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 Roussanne (1)

Tuesday
Jan252011

Tasting This Weekend: The Rhône Valley

Attention all Rhône Valley wine fans (this means you, William): K&L's Rhône Valley and French Regional wine buyer (and author of the fantastic wine blog mumu les vignes), Mulan Chan-Randel, is putting together a list of red and white Rhône wines to pour at all three K&L stores this coming Saturday, January 29th (click for times). 

Quick lesson: The Rhône River actually begins high in the Swiss Alps, pouring into Lake Geneva and then tumbling through the Jura Mountains south through Lyon and Avignon, into Arles until it spills into the Mediterranean west of Marseille. In the wine world, however, the Rhône Valley refers to the growing region in Southeastern France along the river that begins near Vienne and ends near Tavel. Divided into two distinctive regions, the Northern Rhône is the source of some of the world's finest Syrahs, grown in famed appellations like Côte-Rôtie, Cornas and Hermitage, and Viogniers from Condrieu. The Southern Rhône produces exceptional Grenache-based reds like those from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, as well as intriguing and complex white blends using Roussanne, Marsanne and Viognier. 

What this means to you: Mulan works hard to find the best-tasting deals from the Northern and Southern Rhône, both from the aforementioned appellations as well as more value-oriented wines from the Côte du Rhône and Côte du Rhône-Villages appellations. If you're already into these wines, then Saturday's tasting is the perfect opportunity to take some new arrivals for a test drive. If you've never tasted wines from the Rhône before or have had minimal experience, it's an affordable way to find out what suits your palate and your budget best. We hope to see you there!

What we'll be pouring:

Southern Rhône 

2009 Château de Montfaucon "Comtesse Madeleine" Côtes du Rhône Blanc

2008 La  Ferme Saint Martin "Saint Martin" Beaumes de Venise Rouge 

2008 Pierre Usseglio "Tradition" Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2008 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe "La Crau" Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2008 Le Vieux Donjon Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2009 Comte Louis de Clermont-Tonnerre "Hervé" Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2009 Comte Louis de Clermont-Tonnerre "André Eleazar" Châteauneuf-du-Pape 

Nothern Rhône 

2007 J. Boutin "Bonnevaux" Côte-Rôtie (Stéphane Vedeau) 

2008 Domaine Vincent Paris "Granit 60" Cornas    

2009 A. Clape Côtes du Rhône

Leah Greenstein