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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 Willamette Valley (13)

Friday
Nov192010

Talking Turkey: Gougères from Bethel Heights 

Image courtesy of Karen Low at Citrus and Candy.

Editor's Note: Everybody celebrates Thanksgiving just a little bit differently, which is why we've been hitting up some of our winemaking friends for some of their Thanksgiving recipes and wine pairings, which we'll be featuring over the next week. This time we reached out to Mimi Dudley Casteel, the second generation at Bethel Heights Vineyard in Oregon's Eola-Amity Hills. Mimi, along with her father Ted Casteel, tends the vines that have made this winery's offerings among some of the best over the past 30+ years. Her gougères are the perfect Thanksgiving appetizer--easy to make, sophisticated and a mouthwatering match for the 2008 Bethel Heights "Estate" Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (or both).

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Tuesday
Nov092010

Winemaker Interview: Amy Wesselman of Westrey Wine Company

Fall in Oregon is a bit like Russian roulette if you're a winemaker. But the gamble--against cool weather, mold, rot and rain--is more than worth it...if you win. On the day I visited Amy Wesselman of Westrey Wine Company at the vineyard she owns and farms in the Dundee Hills with her husband and partner, David Autrey, it looked like Mother Nature might have the upper hand. I had been trying to outrun the rain on the drive over the Eola-Amity Hills from Bethel Heights, but as I bounced along the dirt road that led the Oracle Vineyard the dark, thick clouds told me we were done for.

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Tuesday
Oct192010

Winemaker Interview: Peter Rosback of Sineann

Spend 15 minutes talking to Peter Rosback, and you won't be surprised to learn the thin, red-headed Sineann Winery owner and winemaker is also a hockey player. He peppers his conversation with good-natured, witty crosschecks and self-deprecating barbs, every now and then turning the tables to make you wonder whom, exactly, is interviewing whom.

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