Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Ladera Napa Cabernet for Italian Dinner

Ladera Napa Cabernet for Italian Dinner

Hosting Sister Jan, visiting from SoCal for the weekend, we dined once again on her last evening in town at Angeli's Italian, our favorite neighborhood bistro. We were joined by newly-weds, son Sean and Michelle, who had their recent wedding rehearsal dinner at this venue. 

Once again I took BYOB from our cellar a bottle of Napa Cab from a producer we visited with Jan and husband Bill during one of our Napa Valley Wine Experience trips together. Shown left, Jan and Bill with proprietor/producer Anne Stotesbury at Ladera Vineyards and Winery up on Howell Mtn during our Howell Mtn appellation tour in 2008. 

We last tasted and posted about this wine just a couple months ago when I reposted about this producer and label, we discovered this wine and purchased it following our visit to the Ladera Vineyards estate and winery up on Howell Mountain in 2006 and then again during our Napa Valley Howell Mountain Wine Experience 2008

We'd driven past the property, formerly the historic Chateau Woltner many times over the years on our treks up Howell Mountain in northeast Napa Valley.
The fabulous historic winery building consisted of production and barrel storage below and a rustic tasting room upstairs. It is surrounded by spectacular gardens, beds of lavender, and of course the vineyards. 
Ladera was founded when Stotesburys moved their family to Napa Valley from Montana in 2000 when they acquired a historic Howell Mountain property featuring an 82-acre vineyard. For the next 16 years, this property served as the home for Ladera.

Ladera initially primarily focused on Cabernet Sauvignon of which we still hold a several cases of four different labels across several vintages from this era.  

Around 2008, their son Dan visited us while on a wine promotion trip to/thru Chicago and we took him around to several of the local wine merchants in the area.  

Stotesburys sold the Ladera land on Howell Mountain in 2016, following the earlier sales of their Lone Canyon and the Mount Veeder properties.

Ladera Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Ladera produced several labels of Cabernet Sauvignon including several sub-appellation designated labels from Howell Mountain and Lone Canyon. This is their basic label sourced from fruits from Howell Mountain and lower elevations in the foothills nearer the valley floor. 

This was a perfect complement to the Angeli's bolognese sauce and parmiagiana sauce on the pasta and eggplant dishes. 

At seventeen years, this is at its apex, if not past its prime drinking window and will not improve with any further aging. The fruits are a bit subdued, perhaps starting to diminish or were already that way. My only previous tasting note was ten years ago, October, 2010, when I wrote: "Dark garnet color - full bodied, a slight funky woody cedar aroma and flavor undercurrent on opening turning to full forward spicy boysenberry - almost whisky-like, and tones of licorice and black berry on a spicy, leathery moderate tannin finish."

At that time I gave it 88 points. Notably, I was going to give this 88 points based on tonight's tasting, before I read this earlier review and tasting note. 

Tonight this was consistent with those earlier tastings, with somewhat subdued fruits, dark garnet colored, medium-full bodied, a layer of black tea moderates the spicy blackberry and boysenberry fruits, turning to the notes of licorice and leather on the gripping tannin lingering finish.