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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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Thursday
Sep082011

Wine of the Week: 2009 Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape, South Africa ($18.99)

Relax with a bottle of this stunning South African Sauvignon Blanc, the 2009 Ataraxia Western Cape ($18.99) - in stock now at KLWines.com'Ataraxia' (Greek for 'tranquility'), is a term used by Pyrrho and Epicurus for a "lucid state, characterized by freedom from worry or any other preoccupation."* The next time you find yourself seeking a wine to complement your moment of relaxation - be it watching the sun set at the beach, walking through the garden, sunning by the pool, or cocktails on the dock, you will find this invigorating and complex Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa - the 2009 Ataraxia Sauvignon Blanc ($14.99) - to be a worthy sipping companion. No pungent herbaceous notes here; this wine smells of meyer lemons and apples, with accents of flint and white pepper. The palate is round and deep, with juicy acids that lead to a persistent and mouthwatering finish. Fans of Sancerre take note. 

"Situated on 125 acres of some of the most stunning elevations in Walker Bay, these vineyards are planted in billion year old granite and weathered shale soils exposed to the cooling breezes of the nearby South Atlantic. The result is a Sauvignon Blanc of terrific purity and finesse, with subtle flavors of grapefruit, lemon zest, melon and fleshy gooseberry interwoven upon the palate, finishing with a fine thread of green tea and minerality." -John Majeski, K&L Staff Member

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, Mar/Apr 11

90 points Wine Spectator, Sept 11

***

More From Down Under: K&L San Francsico-based John Majeski specializes in wines from South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. Check out John's latest wine reviews as well as hundreds of recent reviews by other K&L staff members on the K&L Staff Review Page.    

 

 

*Source for definition of 'ataraxia': Wikipedia

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