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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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Tuesday
Aug172010

Like Having Your Own Personal Sommelier...

My husband and I were out to dinner last night with a couple of friends who live in a small town in upstate New York, and who are just getting interested in wine. Well, technically they live in a village. It's the kind of place where everyone knows who you are before you've signed the last of the loan docs on your home and it's crucial to stay on the right side of the plow guy. It's charming and safe and probably a whole host of other complimentary things, but it's not exactly the best place to live if you want to start exploring wine past Woodbridge Chardonnay. And let's not even start in on their busy lives, which makes the four-hour trip to Manhattan for a better selection as likely as a trip to the moon, and the "spare time" to read wine magazines and books to learn more about as common as a three-headed baboon.

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