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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 Tradewinds Tripel (1)

Thursday
Jul292010

Meet Tyler King of The Bruery

Patrick Rue loves beer. Belgian beer, to be specific. He started brewing it while he was in law school as a diversion. And it worked. These days everything else is a diversion from beer at Rue’s two-year-old, rapidly-growing brewery in Orange County, California, punnily named The Bruery. Tucked into a non-descript industrial park right off the 57 freeway, the Bruery team works around the clock crafting some of the most innovative beers on the domestic market, Belgian-style or otherwise, in a deft waltz between three 15-barrel, one 30-barrel and three 45-barrel gleaming stainless steel fermenters.

"There's nothing bland about our beer," head brewer Tyler King told Steve Greer and me on a recent visit to the Bruery (see our interview with Tyler above), and that is for certain. Where most West Coast breweries seem content to one-up each other in the "my beer is hoppier than yours" game, the boys at the Bruery are yeast fanatics. They have their own proprietary Belgian yeast strain (the Filthy Blonde we tasted was a yeast propogation batch) and play around a lot with brettanomyces and lactobaccilus. And they infuse their beers with David Chang-like creativity. Right now they’re working on a 100% brettanomyces black Thai beer infused with galangal root and keffir lime that has the savoriness of Tom Ka and the richness of a stout, while never falling out of balance.

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