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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
Jun302011

Wine of the Week: 2009 Domaine Stephane Magnien Bourgogne Passetoutgrains "Cuvée Densité" ($14.99)

*As a K&L Direct Import, we are able to bring this unique wine to you for only $14.99 - a steal! Kudos to our buyer Keith Wollenberg for securing both of the two barrels produced.

Editor's Note: We'd be remiss if we didn't suggest of a Wine of the Week that wasn't Fourth of July friendly, and this pick by Chiara Shannon hits on every level. It's affordable (check). It's barbecue friendly (check). And it has the lighter body and easy-drinking personality we crave on hot days (check). Want to know what it is? Read on.

Fans of the spectacular 2009 Beaujolais Crus, and anyone looking for an easy-drinking but complex wine for the upcoming holiday weekend, should not miss the charming Bourgogne Passetoutgrains "Cuvée Densité" from Domaine Stephane Magnien ($14.99).  As the name "Cuvée Densité" suggests, this blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Gamay from Stephane Magnien* is denser and more complex than previous bottlings, really showing off the quality of the vintage.  Alluring aromas of juicy black raspberry and earth spice sing from the glass. On the palate, Pinot's bright acidity and fine tannins frame the wine, while supple Gamay fleshes things out in all the right places. At only 11.5% ABV, this is exactly the kind of wine to serve at your next summertime soirée.  We're invited, right?

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