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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Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 12-30-2011
This Blanc de Blancs, made from 100% Grand Cru Chardonnay, enjoys cult status in France. The vintage-inspired bottle shape is eye-catching, but what’s inside the bottle is truly brilliant. From Mesnil, the southernmost Grand Cru in Champagne (home to Salon and Krug’s Clos de Mesnil), it has a crisp, mineral-driven nose, with subtle lees and butter undertones and a hint of fennel. The flavors deepen on the palate, expanding to coat the mouth, ending with a long, refreshing finish. It steals the show as an apéritif, accompanied by light, salty snacks, but possesses the depth and complexity to pair with richer foods as well.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

ArteNOM Seleccion 1146 Anejo Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 11-3-2011
It's official: I am a tequilophile. While everyone has run to jump on the Single Malt and crazy cocktail bandwagon, myself included to a certain extent, I have also quietly cultivated a growing interest in Tequila, not exactly sure where it would take me. Tequila as a spirits category suffers from domination of "big name" fashion brands, and it's a real challenge to find the good stuff in the market that hasn't been gussied up some. However, Tequila turns a corner with Seleccion ArteNom, and I'm on board. This negociant finds the REAL STUFF - grower-produced, unadulterated, terrroir-driven Tequilas - and the experience is revelatory on all counts. While I"m generally more of a Blanco/Reposado gal, this Anejo, with its super light golden color and warm, sweetly spicy perfume, won my heart instantly. There are so many layers to this Tequila, it does not whop you on the head with heavy oak and caramel flavors, but rather seduces you with waves of smoke and spice aromas over creamy, buttery intervals. There's tremendous viscosity here, and pepper notes brighten the finish, which seems to go on forever. Wow.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

ArteNOM Seleccion 1414 Reposado Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 11-3-2011
It's official: I am a tequilophile. While everyone has run to jump on the Single Malt and crazy cocktail bandwagon, myself included to a certain extent, I have also quietly cultivated a growing interest in Tequila, not exactly sure where it would take me. Tequila as a spirits category suffers from domination of "big name" fashion brands, and it's a real challenge to find the good stuff in the market that hasn't been gussied up some. However, Tequila turns a corner with Seleccion ArteNom, and I'm on board. This negociant finds the REAL STUFF - grower-produced, unadulterated, terrroir-driven Tequilas - and the experience is revelatory on all counts. Uncharacteristically light in color for a Reposado, 1414 appears almost like a Blanco. It's got a really unique aroma - like baking banana nut bread - and incredible viscosity, with no hard edges whatsoever on the finish. I love the 1079 Blanco for its purity and this 1414 Repo for its character.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Ariston Aspasie "Cepages d'Antan" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-27-2011
The "Cepages d'Antan" from Ariston is a truly special Champagne. True, it is a one-of-a-kind in terms of its rare varietal makeup - 40% Meslier, 40% Arbanne and 20% Pinot Blanc - but there's way more to it than novelty. Aromas of delicate citrus, wet hay, and blossom lift above biscuity undertones. The palate is rich and creamy, with a full mousse, which builds toward a chrystaline finish that is Chablis-like in its chalky persistence. Its power is understated and unexpected; its elegance refined. Though especially awesome with caviar, it has the profile to complement both light and rich foods ranging from delicate to intense flavors. This Champagne will inspire and delight if saved for a special occasion, and will impress any connoisseur if given as a gift this holiday season.
Price: $99.00 Add To Cart BC 0

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne
Review Date: 10-24-2011
While most Champagne producers prefer to use the best fruit for the more popular drier styles, Michel Loriot bucks the trend with his off-dry cuvée. This special Champagne is composed of 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. It presents a nose of fresh-baked pastry, sweet cream, honey and orchard fruit, which broadens to include buttercream-frosted white cake on the palate. The dosage is a home-made liqueur based on pure sugar cane, which contributes to the pure and delicate quality of the sweetness. Though off-dry, full and rich, the high acidity keeps everything fresh and balanced, leaving a stunningly clean finish. If after a full meal you crave something sweet but not too sweet, consider winding down with a glass of this off-dry Champagne. Or, offer it at brunch or an afternoon gathering to accompany cake or cupcakes (especially if buttercream frosting is featured) or other similar baked delights!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Michel Loriot "Authentic" Brut Champagne (previously Cuvee Reserve)
Review Date: 10-24-2011
I love this Champagne! It is distinctive and crowd-pleasing all at once. Made from 100% Pinot Meunier, this Champagne opens with a nose of pear and apple, which leads to a leesy palate and creamy, mouth-filling mousse and long, mineral-driven finish accented by a pleasing nutty spice. I have been a fan of this Champagne since it first arrived a year ago and it continues to impress me. It was a pleasure to meet the Loriots at our recent Champagne Tent event in Redwood City; I echo my colleages in my praise of this Champagne. It is a stunning bottle for the price.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

Vergano Americano Aperitif 750ml
Review Date: 6-22-2011
The last time I was at my favorite neighborhood spot for cocktails, Bar Agricole, I was given a "York" cocktail, which is probably one of the simplest, yet profoundly delicious concoctions I have had to date, consisting of Chinato shaken with fresh lime juice and served up in a darling vintage 3.5 oz cocktail glass. The flavors of cranberry, orange and herbal flavors of the vermouth really pop while the bitterness is softened when mixed with the citric lime juice. I use the Vergano Americano to make this cocktail at home; it is an aperitif-style vermouth and thus lighter, fruitier (and much less expensive) than the digestif Barolo Chinato, and does the trick just fine for an appetite-whetting drink. It is also tasty served on the rocks, or with sparkling water and a twist of orange.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 5-9-2011
At our last staff tasting, the 06 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge was really singing after having been open the better half of the day. The nose was all classic Pessac leather, graphite, and black fruit aromas, leading to a medium-bodied palate framed by fine-grain tannins and a tannic, grippy finish. This wine is undoubtably young, but you will thank us when you check back in on this wine after laying it away for another 5, and then another 10 after that. It is just going to get better.

Latitude 50 N Sekt Trocken Rosé
Review Date: 5-6-2011
I was pleasantly surprised by this dry sparkling rose from Germany, made from Portugeiser, dDornfelder and Pinot Noir. It has delicate and and high-toned red fruit aromatics, and the palate is textured, fruity, and broad but framed with great acid structure. I enjoyed this immensely with a charcuterie and Spanish cheeses, where the acidity, fruit, and subtle earthy notes of the wine complemented the savory, salty, and earthy flavors of the food, and the acidity cut through the fat. An excellent food wine!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel "Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 2-28-2011
Whether you are looking for a special bottle to pop open to toast an occasion, or to give as a gift to a Champagne-loving friend, few options rival the Bruno Michel Blanche Brut in balance, sophictication and class for the price. Lemon curd and subtle toasty notes on the nose lead to a layered palate held together by mouthwatering acidity and layers of leesy flavors. Dry and incredibly balanced.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 12-16-2010
It's finally back in stock after months of waiting! My favorite Champagne look-alike, the Deligeroy Cremant de Loire, is a must for entertaining. However, it is also sophisticated enough to stand on its own as an apertif, gift for a sparkling wine lover, or simply as a bottle to share with someone special. The blend of Chenin and Chardonnay provide floral and mineral aromatics as well as weight and a backbone of refreshing acidity; Cabernet Franc adds complexity and fruit notes. A no-brainer this holiday season, but with this sparkler on hand, any reason is an excuse to celebrate!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 9-22-2010
This is one of my all-time favorite Champagnes, suitable for any occasion. The nose offers a medley of berries and baked puff pastry. The palate is full and round, with ample fruit supported by balanced acidity. The finish is very dry and long, with lingering berry and mineral notes. Even longer-lived out of magnum!
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BH 90 BC 0

1996 Pichon-Baron, Pauillac
Review Date: 9-21-2010
Right now the 96 is dark and brooding, very leathery and still pretty wound up. There is a lot of good stuff here- savory, meaty notes, dark fruit, minerals galore - but the wine still has a way to go before revealing its full potential. Resist opening this now - but it you must, plan for a half day (at least!) of breathing time.

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-27-2010
This is one of my all-time favorite Champagnes, suitable for any occasion. The nose offers a medley of berries and baked puff pastry. The palate is full and round, with ample fruit supported by balanced acidity. The finish is very dry and long, with lingering berry and mineral notes. Divine!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-6-2009
When tasting this enchanting Champagne at our last staff tasting, the conclusions were, "definitely a 'geek' wine." In wine-land, this is a high compliment. It means that the wine possesses qualities that are uniquely and fascinatingly its own, and that you will be hard-pressed to find something similar. I love the tangy nose of yeast and fennel, the crisp, focused palate, and the finish full of surprises - mandarin orange? lemon zest? Encountering wines like this - that enhance one's taste experience, are the reason why I love this business (and this Champagne).
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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More Favorites

Chiara Shannon is also a fan of the following items. To become a fan of Chiara Shannon, click here to join Chiara Shannon's Personal Sommelier Service.
2011 Mustilli Fiano Sannio ($17.99)

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

2001 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Reserva Rioja (damaged labels and capsules) ($39.99)

2009 Paloumey, Haut-Médoc ($23.99)

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)

2010 Mamete Prevostini "Botonero" Nebbiolo ($16.99)

2009 de Birot, Côtes de Bordeaux ($9.99)

2005 Bodegas Muga "Prado Enea" Gran Reserva Rioja ($54.99)

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

2004 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc ($19.99)

1997 Potensac, Médoc ($26.99)

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

2006 Terre da Vino "Essenze" Barolo ($24.99)

2007 Poujeaux, Moulis ($34.99)

2000 Coufran, Haut-Médoc ($29.99)

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

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

2005 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon ($99.99)

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

2007 Pyramid Valley Vineyards "Eaton" Pinot Noir Marlborough (Biodynamic) ($39.99)