Staff Favorites - Chiara Shannon

Chiara Shannon
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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.


Reviews

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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

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

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

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 Waiting List 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

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

St. George Terroir Mt. Tam Gin 750ml
Review Date: 11-1-2012
This is wild and crazy Gin, for folks who like intensity, bold herbal flavors, and a lot of local Bay Area flare in their Gin. Macerated with native pine and herbs from Mt Tam, among many other botanicals, this smells and tastes like a Christmas trees, cut with fresh sage and ground peppercorn. For Negronis.
Price: $30.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength London Dry Gin 750ml
Review Date: 11-1-2012
A very dry, aromatic Gin, this is all Juniper and lemony citrus, with pretty floral, cedar, and ginger root accents. Light and ethereal, just gorgeous stuff! Takes the Gin & Tonic to a whole new level.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Michel Arnould Verzenay "Brut Reserve" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 10-30-2012
Wow, out of magnum this Champagne is even more of a powerhouse. Extended time on the lees has imbued this Champagne with layers of richness and complexity that are intensified out of the magnum format, leaving a sensational palate impression. Rich, creamy aromas and flavors wrap around a solid structure of fruit, coating the mouth with toasty goodness. Showing impressive volume and cut, this is a truly regal Champagne with the structure and complexity to complement a variety of foods.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel "Blanche Brut" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 10-30-2012
Even better out of magnum! Less oxygen in contact with the wine in bottle makes for a Champagne with increased intensity and a magnified expression, not to mention longer life! If you love the 750 ml version then you will be floored by how incredible this shows out of the larger format. Its distinctive fruit and brioche aromas and flavors take on added dimension, and everything about the wine - mouthfeel, palate impression, finish - is more expansive and lingering. If you plan to be sharing Champagne with more than three people, a magnum like this is the way to go.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 10-25-2012
Made from half estate and half purchased fruit, all 1er and Grand Cru sources, Louis Roederer's Brut Premiere is a sophisticated, elegant Champagne that has minerality, flavor, acidity, and length of the sort you might expect to find in a bottle from one of our small grower-producer DIs as opposed to a "big" house. This can be attributed to the fact that even at this entry level, the wine originates as a vineyard or fruit selection, not a tank selection like other large production houses. This is a superb Champagne and great value. Whether you are a Champagne novice or connoisseur, shopping for a gift or a bottle to open and enjoy yourself, don't overlook this because you recognize the label - this seriously good Champagne is sure to impress.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

Club Price: $34.99
WE 92 ST 91 WS 91

1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 10-9-2012
A lovely Pomerol from the 1999 vintage, showing classic Merlot plum and red berries in the nose against a backdrop of chocolate, wet earth, and sweet tobacco. Medium-bodied and graceful, with a soft ripe fruit on the midpalate, fine tannins, and a smooth finish. This is open enough to enjoy tonight with a steak or roast chicken, but has the structure and balance to age further.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Michel Loriot Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-8-2012
This vintage Champagne made from 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay shows the richness of the 2005 vintage without losing balance and structure. Aged for 5-6 years on the lees, it is open and inviting with aromas of lemon fig, graham cracker, honey, sweet cream, and hazelnut. The mousse is full and creamy, and the flavors mingle delightfully on the palate, with varying sweet and savory accents adding layers of complexity. This has all the richness and flavor development to satisfy the Clicquot set while simultaneously winning approval from even the geekiest of wine geeks (read: Joe, Gary). Enjoy tonight, for a special occasion or any occasion!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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More Favorites

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

2011 Mustilli Fiano Sannio ($17.99)

2007 Domaine Faverot "Cuvée du Général" Côtes du Luberon ($17.99)

2011 Les Clos Perdus "Le Rouge" Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes ($13.99)

2010 Dalwhinnie "Moonambel" Shiraz Pyrenees Victoria ($49.99)

2011 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau St-Aubin 1er Cru "Bas de Vermarain à l'Est" ($33.99)

2010 Correggia "Val dei Preti" Nebbiolo Roero ($32.99)

2010 Claiborne & Churchill Edna Valley Pinot Noir ($24.99)

2012 Origine Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($13.99)

1999 York Creek Spring Mountain District Meritage (Some Damaged Labels) ($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 "Terre di Chieti" Pecorino ($14.99)

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

2006 Trabucchi Amarone della Valpolicella ($74.99)

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 ($19.99)

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

2012 Palmina Santa Barbara County Pinot Grigio ($15.99)

2001 Malescasse, Haut-Médoc ($21.99)

2009 Plaisance "Cuvée Alix" Bordeaux Supérieur ($15.99)

2009 Capbern Gasqueton, St-Estèphe ($24.99)

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

2004 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc ($19.99)

2009 Le Bonnat, Graves ($16.99)

2009 Cap de Faugeres, Côtes de Castillon ($24.99)

2008 Merryvale "Starmont" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($19.99)

1997 Potensac, Médoc ($26.99)

Elisabeth Goutorbe "Cuvée Eclatante" Brut Champagne ($34.99)

2009 Maison Blanche, Médoc ($14.99)

2008 Pyramid Valley Vineyards "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic) ($39.99)

2000 Coufran, Haut-Médoc ($29.99)

2009 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir ($24.99)

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Reserve" Champagne ($44.99)

2007 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien ($59.99)

2006 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc ($44.99)

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

Bruno Michel "Les Roses" Brut Rosé Champagne ($49.99)