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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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Under the Radar: Etienne Boileau Chablis

By: Chiara Shannon | Head Sommelier - K&L Personal Sommelier Service


K&L Redwood City tasters were were treated to a delightful "French Connection" tasting last Friday with importer Gregory Condes. A K&L Alum, Condes sure has earned his stripes since his days on the Redwood City sales floor (check out his bio here). He launched his own import and distribution company last year--Gregory Condes Wines--focusing on small producers from California, France and Italy. Needless to say, his collection features a tightly edited group of seriously good wines that express a clear sense of place. They are wines that, as Condes likes to say, "speak for themselves."

Most of Condes' wines are sold primarily to high profile restaurants; in many cases K&L is the exclusive retailer. Saavy K&L shoppers are well-advised to seek these wines out; whether you shop online or in-store, wines like this pair of Chablis from Etienne Boileau (pictured) offer Michelin-Star quality at a fraction of the tab.

2008 Etienne Boileau Chablis ($19.99)  "This comes from about 20 year old vines, and is all done in stainless steel tank to preserve freshness. Etienne has gotten together with two other small producers to share a wine-making facilitity, in order to be able to afford teh best equipment possible. This has a nice snap, as is characteristic of the vintage, with minerality on the finish. Nice Chabis at a nice price." -Keith Wollenberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer

 2008 Etienne Boileau Chablis, Premier Cru Vosgros ($29.99) 90 BH. "This seldom-seen 1er Cru is in the commune of Chichee, East of the town of Chablis, on the south side of the river Surein. There is little cala in the soil here, but lots of small pebbles. It is a relatively cold site, but faces South, on three sides of a samll valley, so produces wines of drive and energy. This has energy, minerality, lots of presence and terrific length and minerality on the finish, the hallmark of the vintage." -Keith Wollnberg, K&L Burgundy Buyer


Imagine having the world's best wines, tailored to your exact preferences, delivered to your door each month for one surprisingly low price. Check out the benefits of K&L's Personal Sommelier Service...

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