Staff Favorites - Chiara Shannon

Chiara Shannon
Chiara Shannon  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
Chiara moved north from her hometown of La Canada Flintridge in the foothills of Los Angeles to attend college at UC Berkeley. Not knowing what to do with her Bachelor’s degree in English and Spanish literature, Chiara pursued several careers, from education to marketing to fashion, before she realized her destiny lay in the wine business. She started out as a marketing assistant at Schramsberg Vineyards. After a year in wine country, she relocated to Los Angeles to try out the retail side of wine at a specialized wine shop near her family’s home, Mission Wines. Working under the tutelage of a seasoned veteran sommelier-turned-retailer, Chiara was inducted into the world of fine wine. She has since returned to the Bay Area joined the team at K&L, received her WSET Advanced certification, now manages the K&L Personal Sommelier Service. In her free time, Chiara is passionate about dance and travel, loves her husband and their life of food, wine, and music in San Francisco, practices yoga and reads in her leisure time, and is eternally grateful to her friends and family.


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Batiste Rhum Agricole 750ml
Review Date: 8-16-2013
The latest release of this spectacular rum is the best yet. It still has all the power and complexity that characterizes Rhum Agricole (a rum tradition and style distinctive of the French West Indies) but in the latest release they've used a special vacuum still (the kind used in Sake production) and the results are astounding. This rum initially impressed me with its polish, vibrancy, and smooth mouthfeel, but now with amplified aromatics and layers of flavor on the palate it is not only one very distinctive rum, but mouth-wateringly delicious too. Lychee nut and rich tropical fruits leap out in the nose, with subtle hints of cane grass and flowering herbs. The palate fans out like a peacock's tail, intense yet never overwhelming as it winds down towards a smooth, glassy finish. The superiority of Batiste's sustainable grown, hand-cut, organic cane and natural processing methods is evident in the fine quality of this Agricole. Sip neat, on the rocks, or in a classic Ti’ Punch: 2 oz. Rhum Agricole, squeeze of half a lime, cane syrup to taste, 1-2 ice cubes (optional).Combine and serve in an old-fashioned glass or tumbler garnished with a lime twist.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 7-3-2013
Jordan's Chardonnay is a balanced, medium-weight Chardonnay made in a restrained style (gotta love the 13.5% abv) that is versatile and easy to love. While it has the citrus and tropical fruit and creamy vanilla-inflected profile that appeals to fans of oak-aged California Chardonnay, the 2011 retains acidity and freshness for a Chardonnay with some spine to stand up to food. The chef at Jordan pairs this with Hawaiian Blue prawns with tomato fondue served over fresh green peas, and the combination of textures and flavors of the dish with the structure and acidity of the wine works perfectly - do try at home!
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Joseph Swan "Saralee's Vineyard" Russian River Valley Gewürztraminer
Review Date: 7-1-2013
Dry, fresh and invigorating, with white flower and mineral aromas that extend to reveal green apple, herb, and ginger flavors on the palate. This would be an excellent pairing with Thai curry.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

2012 Bench Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 7-1-2013
Comprising mostly Sangiacomo Amaral Ranch Vineyard fruit, the 2012 Pinot shows off the excellent quality of the vintage in its bright fruit character and supple texture. All native yeast fermentation followed by aging for seven months in 30% new French oak ensures richness, body, and length on the palate.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Bench Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 7-1-2013
A citrus-driven and fresh style with chalky mineral undertones and bright acidity, this rivals similarly priced French Chards in taste and value.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Benziger Estate "Tribute" Sonoma Mountain Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 6-26-2013
This is a profound expression of the soul of this special hillside caldera. Notes of graphite and pepper, and forest floor punctuate aromas and flavors of blackberry, plum and cherry fruit for a wine that has the complexity and structure of Bordeaux but the ripeness and body of Sonoma - the best of both worlds! Try it young with peppercorn steak, or age it up to a decade and watch it evolve toward further complexity over time. Bravo!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Correggia Anthos Dry Brachetto
Review Date: 6-26-2013
This dry red has the most incredible perfume, with swirling floral, fruit, and mineral aromas that I might associate with a white wine if first nosing this blind. Then the palate kicks in, bursting with cranberry and punchy blackberry flavors, iron-like minerality, and hint of savory herb on the finish. Sipping this juicy, flavorful wine conjures immediate images of grilling sausages outside on a warm day or lounging on a picnic blanket in the woods munching from a basket of cured meats, olives, cheeses, and other savory snacks. Serve with a slight chill and you're good to go!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1999 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 6-18-2013
This ia a lovely example of aged Rioja from a good vintage that is drinking absolutely perfectly right now. It shows excellent integration and a range of complexity that you rarely encounter in the under $20 category. Mixed berries mingle with earth spice and notes of vanilla and savory herbs. Framed by fine tannins and supported by balanced acidity, this really over-delivers in elegance for the price.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

2012 Zudugarai "Amats" Getariako Txakolina
Review Date: 6-18-2013
I've consumed enough of this wine already, it's high time to write a review. How awesome is it that we have not just one but two Direct Import Txakolis? (this and its delicious rose counterpart) From a very cool site, the 2012 Amats is a perfect example of Txakoli - very dry, crisp, and with razor-like acidity. It's zippy and fresh, with tangy green apple and citrus aromas and flavors accented by saline notes and hints of green herbs, not to mention incredible mineral drive from start to finish. So refreshing and easy to drink - excellent with fresh oysters or other fruits of the sea. I love the naturally low alcohol, too!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Benziger Sonoma County Chardonnay
Review Date: 6-14-2013
From the cool 2011 vintage, Benziger delivers us a nicely delineated, organically grown and biodynamically made fruit-driven Chardonnay for a song. Aromas of fresh citrus and stone fruit greet the nose, with nutty undertones. The palate is creamy and round, with bright acidity. Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Benziger North Coast Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 6-14-2013
Crisp, clean, and refreshing with subtle floral and hay notes, this delightful quaffer from local Sonoma family winemakers hits all the marks for a light, dry style. It definitely drinks above its price point. Try it with a fresh veggie and goat cheese salad, or grilled shrimp tacos. Benziger makes wine in accordance with biodynamic principles, and work with organic growers in order to meet their strict guidelines for the fruit that goes into their appellation wines.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Hubert Meyer Cremant d' Alsace
Review Date: 3-13-2013
Love this! A crisp and refreshing 100% Pinot Blanc Cremant d'Alsace with vibrant acidity and minerality driving delicate pear and apricot aromas and flavors. This is a new go-to sparkler under $20 for me, delightful on its own or with a variety of foods. Try it with sushi!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1997 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 3-8-2013
Claret alert! Fans of earthy, leathery Bordeaux with subtle dried currant cherry fruit notes, well-integrated tannin, and a textured finish will find much to appreciate in this superb value from the 1997 vintage. A great bottle for old school meat and potatoes kind of meal.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Waterkloof "Circumstance" Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch
Review Date: 2-26-2013
A fresh, elegant style, with tangy green apple and melony aromas and flavors, nice extension on the palate, and a cleansing finish that hints of minerals. This focused, balanced Sauvignon Blanc from South Africa gives competition from the Loire Valley a run for the money, thanks to our great deal through direct import.
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

Cocchi Aperitivo Americano Rosa 750ml
Review Date: 2-12-2013
Lovely stuff! A brand new offering from Cocchi, this is a fresher, lighter in body, and a fruitier version of their Vermouth de Torino with subtle aromatic suggestions of Chinato. Red and blackberries, earth flowers, and woodsy, spiced herbs meld for a similarly fruity yet sweetly bitter style of Vermouth. Serve on the rocks (with or without soda) with a lemon or lime twist or top with Champagne for a sparkling aperitif. Not to heavy, not too sweet, there is a lot of potential for creative cocktail-making here...from martinis to Sangria! Served chilled after dinner, this would also make a delicious pairing with a strong spicy blue cheese (like cabrales, gorgonzola, or roquefort) accompanied by a side of spiced chutney, candied citrus peel, or quince paste.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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2011 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay, Pyrenees, Victoria ($32.99)

2011 Brooks Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($21.99)

2011 Mustilli Fiano Sannio ($17.99)

2010 Oakridge Local Vineyard Series "Whitsend & Oakridge Vineyard" Shiraz Yarra Valley Victoria ($24.99)

2011 Waterkloof "Circumstance" Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch ($16.99)

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2009 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien ($139.99)

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2010 LaRue Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($59.99)

2012 Origine Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($13.99)

2009 Marquis de Calon, St-Estèphe ($29.99)

1999 York Creek Spring Mountain District Meritage ($24.99)

2011 Clos Pepe "Barrel Fermented" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay ($24.99)

2009 Paloumey, Haut-Médoc ($23.99)

2012 Te Whare Ra (TWR) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($18.99)

2004 Bodegas Fernandez "Escudo de Plata" Gran Reserva Jumilla ($16.99)

2012 Giuliano Pecorino Terre di Chieti ($14.99)

2009 Saarloos & Sons "His" Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($39.99)

2006 Trabucchi Amarone della Valpolicella ($74.99)

2011 Tenuta Sarno 1860 Fiano di Avellino ($24.99)

2008 Clendenen Family Vineyards "Le Bon Climat" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay ($39.99)

2005 La Rioja Alta "Viña Arana" Reserva Rioja ($26.99)

2010 Saarloos & Sons "Hers" Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Blanc ($26.99)

2010 Cameron Hughes "Lot #318" Atlas Peak Meritage ($16.99)

2012 Palmina Santa Barbara County Pinot Grigio ($15.99)

2005 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja ($49.99)

2001 Malescasse, Haut-Médoc ($21.99)

2006 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien ($89.99)

2011 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos "Cuarteto" Rioja ($9.99)

2010 Bodegas Nekeas "El Chaparral de Vega Sindoa" Old Vines Garnacha Navarra ($12.99)

2011 Primitivo Quiles "Cono 4" Monastrell Alicante ($11.99)

2009 Capbern Gasqueton, St-Estèphe ($24.99)

2000 Terrey-Gros-Cailloux, St-Julien ($34.99)

2004 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc ($19.99)

2009 Tor Kenward "To Kalon Old B" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($139.99)

2009 Le Bonnat, Graves ($16.99)

2010 Meli Carignane Maule Valley ($12.99)

2010 Knez Winery "Demuth Vineyard" Anderson Valley Chardonnay ($34.99)

1997 Potensac, Médoc ($26.99)

2006 Marguet Pere et Fils Grand Cru Brut Champagne ($49.99)

2005 d'Aiguilhe, Côtes de Castillon ($49.99)

2002 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($97.99)

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2009 Sarget de Gruaud Larose, St-Julien ($34.99)

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2006 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc ($44.99)

2007 Domaine Senechaux Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($64.99)

2005 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($124.99)

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Casal Garcia Vinho Verde Rosé ($8.99)