2016 Ladera Sauvignon Blanc
Howell Mountain and Oak Knoll District grapes, three different clones, and fermentation in a combination of stainless steel and French oak, created this multi-layered wine – one of the most complex and delicious Sauvignon Blancs I’ve tasted from Napa Valley from the 2016 vintage. Layers unfold with each sniff and taste: white flowers, tropical fruit, citrus, sage, green apple and a toasty note on the finish.
Silky grapefruit and lively acidity; racy, nervy and fresh with tangy, lifted style; juicy and long with balance
A new producer to me, though they've been in the game since 1998. A citrus focused Sauvignon Blanc, with yellow grapefruit and lime joined by light tropical notes and a touch of grass held together by a stony mineral core that finishes long and crisp with all elements present. A fine introduction to a winery that I'll be looking to get to know better.
2015 Ladera Pinot Noir, Pillow Road Vineyard
This is a finely made wine, with tones of herbs, smoked black cherry and blackberry. Thick, velvety smooth and concentrated, it finds its balance in high-toned, underlying acidity and sparks of cardamom and black tea. -VB
Ladera’s Pillow Road Vineyard Pinot Noir 2015 is a gentle and earthy expression rather than exuberance of fruit. Its aroma suggests plum, tart red berries and black cherry with notes of smoke, dry earth and fresh herbs. In your mouth this wine is nearly full-bodied but not dense, showing supple texture and a measured amount of dusty tannins that are well-integrated with the fruit. Flavors suggest red fruits, cinnamon baking spice, bakers’ cocoa and dry forest-floor notes. These flavors are relatively subdued, so that the wine’s structure and its smooth, agreeable texture capture your attention. In terms of winemaking, the whole berries underwent a seven-day cold soak before fermentation, and the wine subsequently aged for 15 months in French oak barrels that were 65 percent new. It is a credit to the fruit that the new oak does not dominate the wine.
2015 Ladera Chardonnay, Pillow Road Vineyard
“Pale gold in color, this wine smells of buttered popcorn and cold cream. In the mouth, lemon curd, pineapple, and a touch of salty buttered popcorn are positively electric yellow with brilliant acidity. The wood is beautifully integrated here and the fruit shines through. An excellent wine.” - Alder Yarrow
“Moderately light golden yellow color in the glass. Love able aromas of lemon curd, honeycomb, butterscotch and toasty brioche. Discretely rich in the mouth featuring an array of flavors including lemon, lime, green apple, pineapple and a dash of complimentary oak. Slightly viscous and highly satisfying in a fruit-laden style that has enough acid backbone to be refreshing. Full of California sunshine and well done in this style."
“From a site in the Sebastopol Hills, this wine offers up-front acidity and freshness, with a floral flourish of rose garden and lavender. On the palate it becomes velvety and exotic in nutmeg and cardamom, the fruit, oak and acidity integrated well.”
Ladera, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California Chardonnay Pillow Road Vineyard 2015 ($50): I’m hopeful that my continued praise of partial malolactic fermentation is getting more producers interested in the technique as it allows our state’s fruit to shine with more moderate intervention in the winery. This wine is yet another example of why “PMF” is so successful -- there is a ton of fruit expressed here, with pear, citrus, apple and peach joined by soft notes of vanilla and spice, all finishing together in crisp, mouthwatering fashion.
A blend of Old Wente and Mt. Eden 809 clones. Delicious!
Ladera’s Pillow Road Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 is a flavorful, exuberant wine in which fruit expression trumps structure. Nothing lacking in the wine’s structure: full body, uplifting acidity, a slight phenolic grip from oak, and seductively creamy texture. But what’s within this structure is what entices. The wine’s aromas and flavors suggest ripe red apple, ripe pear, ripe lemon, and a bit of peach, with brioche, vanilla and white-chocolate notes. This wine exudes juiciness and flavor, and if that is what you like, you might find it irresistible. The winemaking for this Chardonnay involved whole cluster pressing, barrel fermentation, partial malo-lactic fermentation, and aging on the lees for 15 months in French oak barrels, 60 percent of which were new.
From the Sebastopol Hills just ten miles from the Pacific, this striking white grown on Goldridge sandy loam soils exudes arresting aromas of vetiver, lemon curd, and summer pears. Chamomile, baked apple, and tarragon are enmeshed in the wine’s creamy nature, and keenly-linear citrus notes bring in high-toned acidity. The finish is surprisingly salty.
2015 Ladera Sauvignon Blanc
Vibrant and juicy, with an intriguing mix of honeysuckle, mango and toast flavors that are intense and refreshing. Floral and pine notes linger on the finish. Drink now. 1,100 cases made. –MW
2014 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Howell Mountain is a great area for Cabernet Sauvignon that shows both power and elegance when hanlded correctly, as in the case of this fine bottling. Loads of complexity and depth of aroma and flavor here, with blackberry, cassis, moderate oak toast and fall spice with just a touch of dried herb flood the nose and the mouth, carried by a supple structure that promises a long life ahead. Excellent wine! Contains 3% Petit Verdot.
Superb; a great achievement
2014 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Made from fruit grown both on Howell and Diamond mountains, this wine is powerful and concentrated,
bursting in mountain tannins. Waxy plum, dried herb, graphite and pencil shavings provide a savory tangy underbelly of woody accents, met and complemented by robust black cherry and cassis, the palate rounded at the finish. - VB
2014 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is generally similar in style to the 2013, just lighter and not quite as deep and long in the mouth. This should turn out to be a very good wine, but not at the level of the 2013. Drink 2016-2028.
2013 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Beautiful wine from Ladera, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve exhibits plum, blackberry and blueberry fruit, has beautiful color saturation, medium to full body and a great deal of elegance and freshness. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.
An incredible effort amongst the ultra-premium red wines in the world, the sleek and superbly crafted 2013 Ladera Howell Mountain Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon reaches out to the palate as few others can. The wine's impeccable balance of elements—black currants, aromatic violets, and savory oak—takes the Cabernet Sauvignon to another level. Pair it with a Chateaubriand, and you will understand what I mean.
2012 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
A firm, muscular style that exhibits taut black cherry, dark berry, lead pencil, savory herb and underbrush notes. Gains on the finish. The tannins are pleasantly grainy, holding the flavors on the palate. Best from 2015 through 2026. 2,200 cases made. –JL
This is a red beauty and possibly the best wine I have yet tasted from Ladera, while this barrel sample is not quite yet in bottle, it is very promising. The wine has a dense ruby/purple color, notes of lead pencil shavings, white chocolate, cassis and blueberry, it is very perfumed, medium to full-bodied, with real purity, texture and overall balance. In many ways it cuts a hypothetical composition between a top Bordeaux and a top Napa Cabernet. This is young and should drink well in keeping with the vintage, but also hold well for 15-20 years.
2009 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
Ladera’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is a relatively simple, straightforward offering in this vintage. Plums, sweet spices, crushed flowers and menthol are woven together nicely. The wine’s mid-weight structure suggests it is best enjoyed upon release and for a handful of years thereafter. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.
2009 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
April 2003 - Alder Yarrow
2008 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain (100% Cabernet Sauvignon) emerges from the glass with dark fruit, crushed flowers, licorice and tobacco. There is plenty of character and personality in the glass, although some rough edges remain. The fruit needs a lot of air to emerge from beneath a wall of tannins. Still, this is an excellent wine, and will deliver plenty of enjoyment, especially if it is opened well in advance. Flowers and sweet red berries add lift and brightness on a crystalline finish laced with mint, tobacco and sweet herbs. The 2008 was aged in French oak barrels, 47% new. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023.
2008 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley is a gorgeous, harmonious wine laced with dark cherries, plums, flowers, menthol and tar. It shows gorgeous mid-palate depth that carries through to the soft, caressing finish. The 2008 also happens to be a good value in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2008 is 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, with small amounts of Petit Verdot, Syrah and Malbec. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018.
2007 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
The least expensive effort, and a top value for a Napa Cabernet, is the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa. A dark ruby/plum-colored blend of 96% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot and Malbec, it offers up notes of plums, cassis and blue fruits, silky tannins, a fleshy, ripe style and not a hard edge to be found. This impressive effort is the type of Cabernet Sauvignon that normally costs 2-3 times the price. Drinkable now, this sleeper of the vintage will age for a decade or more.
2007 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
Still very tight and backward, exhibiting loamy earth, currant and dark berry flavors that show touches of cedar and tobacco, with an elegant and satisfying finish. True-to-form Howell Mountain Cabernet in a warm year. Drink now through 2021. 2,200 cases made. –JL
December 2011 - Josh Greene
“From estate vines growing at 1,600 to 1,800 feet, this wine has a flintlock mineral blackness when first poured. Underneath, there are
hints of spice, tobacco leaf and gentle black currant fruit that grow more prominent with air. A mountain wine with tension and
restraint, this is built to age for ten years or more.”
The most expensive offering is the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain. A classic Howell Mountain wine, it is tannic and backward with blueberry, blackberry and floral notes intermixed with lots of minerality as well as a boatload of tannin. This is a long-term wine so forget it for 3-4 years and drink it over the following two decades.
2007 Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Lone Canyon Road is even better. Slightly more structured, which somewhat diminishes the charm found in the less expensive bottling, there is more to this cuvee. A deep ruby/purple color is followed by bright blueberry, black raspberry and black currant fruit. The wine possesses moderate tannin, medium to full body and elegance combined with flavor authority. Cellar it for several years and drink it over the following 12-15.
2006 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
A tour de force Cabernet. Dense, plush, rich and concentrated, with wall-to-wall flavors, offering layers of black cherry, black currant, black licorice, mineral and graphite. Full-bodied and tightly wound with firm tannins, yet finishes with a mix of juicy berry and mineral flavors. Drink now through 2020. 3,000 cases made. –JL
December 2010 - Josh Greene
“In 2000, Pat and Anne Stotesbery bought the Chateau Woltner property and replanted it to cabernet sauvignon. The carefully tended
young vines and gentle handling of a gravity flow winery make it pretty, while the altitude and soils of the site give it Howell
Mountain heft and minerality. One of our tasters, who used to live in Angwin, responded immediately to the wine: ‘It tastes like the
blackberries that grow in thickets on Howell Mountain,’ he said. It's dramatic black juice with its fair share of alcohol, an earthy '06
with the potential to charm. For the cellar.”
The star of this duo is the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain, which offers up juicy notes of crushed rocks, flowers, dark berries, black currants, and earth. This elegant, medium to full-bodied Cabernet possesses both finesse and substance. Deep, pure, and rich with moderate tannins, it will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring, and should drink well over the following 15 years.
2005 Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
August 2009 - Anthony Dias Blue
“Ripe black plum fruit; clean, pure fruit acid on the finish.”
2006 Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Lone Canyon Vineyard exhibits a drier, more gritty tannic finish which kept its score lower. While it is a leaner, more austere effort, it reveals attractive black cherry and herbaceously-tinged black currant fruit in both the nose and the attack. To reiterate, the finish is worrisome being somewhat attenuated with bitter tannins.
2005 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
2010 - Andrea Robinson
"Monumental quality and complexity. Dark fudge, black raspberry, tar and bramble notes, with amazing concentration and velvety, mouth-coating tannins. The flavor density and structure suggest it will age beautifully. One of the best CA Cabs, period."
May 2009 - Stephen Tanzer
“Bright red-ruby. Aromas of blackberry pastille, mocha and spicecake. Ripe and supple but at the same time juicy and firm, with
almost exotic ripe plum and chocolate liqueur flavors leavened by minerals and sweet oak notes. This creamy cabernet finishes with
sweet tannins and very good breadth.”
2004 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
A rustic yet smooth and harmonious style, with dusty berry, mineral, sage and herb scents that form a complex core of flavors. There's good intensity, and the tannins are in check. Ends with a minerally aftertaste, making this a wine that's very true to its appellation. Best from 2008 through 2016. 2,500 cases made. –JL
May 2007 - Stephen Tanzer
“Deep ruby-red. Cassis, black cherry and menthol on the pure, slightly medicinal nose. Dense, sweet and pure, with lovely delineation
and depth to the flavors of dark berries, bitter chocolate and mint. Chewy but pliant. Finishes with firm but ripe tannins and very good
length. Classic Howell Mountain cabernet from a ripe year.”
Young vines, growing at 1,600 to 1,800 feet, have consistently produced a succulent mountain-grown cabernet since the first release. The '04 has full-on mineral intensity, a giant mountain cabernet. The power of this wine increases over the course of several days, and the fruit is there to sustain it for many years to come. -J.G.
Deep ruby-red. Cassis, black cherry and menthol on the pure, slightly medicinal nose. Dense, sweet and pure, with lovely delineation and depth to the flavors of dark berries, bitter chocolate and mint. Chewy but pliant. Finishes with firm but ripe tannins and very good length. Classic Howell Mountain cabernet from a ripe year.
A small jewel on Howell Mountain that produces rich, classic, nicely articulated estate wines.
August 2007 - Anthony Dias Blue
“A small jewel on Howell Mountain that produces rich, classic, nicely articulated estate wines.”
2004 Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Firm, tight and concentrated, with a complex, well-structured mix of currant, mineral, sage and savory herb notes that are compact yet focused and also long and persistent, pushing past the chewy tannins. Best from 2010 through 2016. 1,900 cases made. –JL
May 2008 - Stephen Tanzer
“Good deep ruby-red. Deep, fruit-driven aromas of cassis and blueberry. Round, suave and sweet, with tangy cassis and black
raspberry flavors brightened by a mineral component. Finishes with fine-grained tannins and good fat.”
2003 Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Impeccable balance, depth and concentration, combining rich, dense currant, anise, sage and berry flavors with a mix of cedary oak and spice. Finishes with a push of fruit and ripe, firm tannins. Best from 2007 through 2012. 1,240 cases made. –JL
Young vines, growing at 1,600 to 1,800 feet, have consistently produced a succulent mountain-grown cabernet since the first release. The '03 strikes a balance between muscular tannins and classical cassis flavors. The power of this wine increases over the course of several days, and the fruit is there to sustain it for many years to come. -J.G.
2003 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
December 2006 - Josh Greene
“Karen Culler makes this wine on the old Chateau Woltner property, which Pat and Anne Stotesbery bought in 2000. From young
vines grown at 1,600 to 1,800 feet, this starts from a small place, with succulent, compact flavors of cassis, cedar and herbs, classically
styled. Tasted over the course of several days, it gains intensity as the fruit character expands; the tannins seem to propel the wine
rather than smother it. The wine feels toned and muscular, while the fruit remains lively and youthfully fresh. Beautifully composed.”
December 15, 2006 - Steve Heimoff
“Really good Cab here, a blend of mountain and foothills fruit that captures Napa's elegant intensity. It's a fully dry, balanced wine,
with hefty, sticky tannins yet an immediate approachability of blackberry and Chinese plum sauce flavors and a rich, chocolaty finish.
Good now and over the next ten years.”
2002 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
This seamless effort is elegant and understated, and at a good drinking stage. Smooth-textured, with touches of maturity in the core red berry and herb-laced flavors.—2002 California Cabernet blind retrospective (May 2012). Drink now through 2019. 710 cases made. –JL
December 1, 2005 - Steve Heimoff
“Tasted alongside Ladera's '01 Lone Canyon Cab, this is better structured. The acid and tannin ballet is an exciting one, joined by rich
smoky oak and a ripe Cabernet expression of black currants and cassis that's delicious. This is a major-league wine that should
develop through 2010.”
Young vines, growing at 1,600 to 1,800 feet, have consistently produced a succulent mountain-grown cabernet since the first release. The '02 is sweetly ripe. The power of this wine increases over the course of several days, and the fruit is there to sustain it for many years to come. -J.G.
2002 Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Rich and intense, with a tight, concentrated core of earthy currant, mineral, wild berry, sage and cedar. This one begs for short-term cellaring as it gracefully unfolds to reveal subtle flavor nuances, with tannins that give it a solid backbone. Best from 2007 through 2013. 1,900 cases made. –JL
This vineyard (on the hillsides near Blankiet) almost became a casualty of a major fire that broke out earlier this year. A blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot, the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Lone Canyon Vineyard is a dense, earthy effort displaying hints of scorched earth, camphor, black currants, cedar, and spice. Rich, full-bodied, intense, and powerful, this masculine-styled Cabernet should be consumed over the next 10-15 years.
May 1, 2006 - Steve Heimoff
“Ladera has been producing ageworthy Cabernets for the last few years and this is surely one. As rich and dense in tannins as it is, it's
shockingly forward in blackberry and cherry fruit flavors, while a plethora of new French oak adds even more sweetness. The result is
voluptuous now, but it should age effortlessly for at least 10 years.”
2001 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
Delivers a beam of pure, tight, ripe, intense dark berry fruit, well-structured, firming at midpalate and holding focus to end in a sleek, persistent finish. Very impressive.—2001 California Cabernet blind retrospective (June 2011). Drink now through 2017. 768 cases made. –JL
March 1, 2005 - Steve Heimoff
“Everyone's tannins are getting softer these days, but Howell Mountain Cabs are hanging in there. Massive, with intense blackcurrant
and oak flavors that finish dry. You can tell this is a very fine wine from its balance. Best after 2008, but approachable now.”
2001 Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Scents of new leather, ripe currant and plum lead to a similar array of flavors. Well-structured, with a firm core of edgy tannins and lively acidity. Most impressive, though, is the long, rich, intense flavor, with a nice minerally edge. Best from 2006 through 2012. 1,618 cases made. –JL
2001 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
Displaying an evolved style with elegant, earthy, berry fruit, tobacco leaf, roasted herb, cedar and crushed rock characteristics, this dark ruby/purple-tinged, medium-bodied 2001 will provide attractive drinking over the next 7-10 years.
2001 Ladera Merlot
Ripe, rich and polished, with intense, concentrated currant, blackberry and cedary anise flavors, gaining richness and complexity, with a long, persistent aftertaste. Best from 2005 through 2012. 444 cases made. –JL
2000 Ladera Cabernet Sauvignon
Dark and supple, with a rich mineral-, blackberry- and currant-infused core of fruit flavors, turning elegant and polished, with a sense of harmony and finesse. Lots of flavors push through on the aftertaste. Best from 2004 through 2011. 815 cases made. –JL
1999 Ladera Lone Canyon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
A taut, compact style, with rich, concentrated currant, pencil lead, blackberry and anise. Beautifully focused, intense and structured, with firm but ripe tannins on the finish. Best from 2005 through 2012. 610 cases made. –JL
December 2003 - Josh Greene