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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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

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

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

West County Cider "Redfield" Cider, Massachusetts 750ml
Review Date: 9-23-2009
YUM! This pink-colored cider is made from an heirloom vareity of apples that actually have red flesh. The flavor is like a cross between Bugey Cerdon (a sparkling wine from the Savoie that is fresh, grapey, and a little sweet - one of my all-time favorite light bubblies) and green apples, and the overall effect is dry and refreshing. Since I can't drink beer, I am constantly on the look-out for dry, fresh and distinctive ciders - I LOVE IT!!!!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Kanbara "Bride of the Fox" Junmai Ginjo Sake 720ml
Review Date: 7-28-2009
For an accessible sake that has a forward nose of bananas and tropical fruits, with creamy, nutty undertones, the Kanbara "Bride of the Fox" certainly promises to please a crowd. Don't let the fruit-driven aromas fool you, however - this sake is structured and very well balanced. The smooth finish hints at sweetness, which is ideal for pairing with a variety of sushi rolls, especially the more complex ones featuring spicey and umami flavors.
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Sorelle Bronca Prosecco DOCG
Review Date: 5-19-2009
I am impressed by this prosecco's delicate, fresh mousse, lively minerality, and mouth-watering green apple flavors. Can you smell sunshine? It's in there too. Perfect bubbles for summer. Or in the middle of winter, when you want to be transported to summer. Makes a wonderful, lighter alternative to Champagne, too.
Drink from 2007 to 2011
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

J. Laurens Brut Cremant de Limoux
Review Date: 4-10-2009
Cremant de Limoux, the AOC for budget-friendly Champagne-esque sparkling wines, is in itself cause for a toast. The NV Cremant de Limoux, J. Laurens Brut is one of our most popular party bubblies. It looks like Champagne with sparkly light gold and a lovely bead. Creamy mousse and delightful yeasty/toasty flavors on the palate. Bone dry, and at only 12% abv,this is a no-brainer for a big event, but can make Monday night special too!
Drink from 2009 to 2011
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Schramsberg "Mirabelle" California Rosé
Review Date: 2-15-2009
Schramsberg has a special place in my heart as it was the place where I started my career in the wine business. If you haven't visited Schramsberg, I strongly recommend you do - tucked up in the hills just south of Calistoga, it is a historical landmark with some of the oldest caves in the Napa Valley, and it is one of the only places where you can see the traditional (and highly labor-intensive) methode champenoise process of making sparkling wine without going all the way to Champagne. Mirabelle is Schramsberg's non-vintage label. Composed of 64% Chardonnay and 34% Pinot Noir, this June '08 release of the rosé might be the best yet: clean and crisp, it exhibits a nose of fresh strawberries and very very subtle vanilla notes. The palate is vibrant, amplified by a fine mousse and delicate flavors of red berries and sweet-cream that I want to describe as...flirty? Try one and see for yourself.
Drink from 2009 to 2011
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart RP 90 BC 0

Caveau du Mont July Bugey Cerdon Rosé
Review Date: 12-9-2008
I really love this wine! I can't drink beer (it is very sad, I know - allergies) but this Bugey Cerdon makes up for it by being a wonderful, low alcohol, just off-dry, refreshing, food-friendly, frothy sparkler. Yes, it has it all. Lower in alocohol, it is perfect for brunch or luncheons, as well as complicated mid-day meals like Thanksgiving or Christmas, where it simply works with everything. You will be the hit of the potluck if you bring this baby, but (as I learned the hard way) bring more than one...it disappears very fast.
Drink from 2008 to 2010
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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More Favorites

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2009 Paloumey, Haut-Médoc ($23.99)

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

2006 Trabucchi Amarone della Valpolicella ($74.99)

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

2009 Plaisance "Cuvée Alix" Bordeaux Supérieur ($14.99)

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

2009 Bouchard Ainé & Fils Bourgogne Rouge ($13.99)

1997 Potensac, Médoc ($24.99)

2009 Le Gay, Pomerol ($139.99)

2002 Dunn Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon ($99.99)

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

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)

2006 Bodegas LAN Crianza Rioja ($10.99)

2007 Domaine La Millière "Vieilles Vignes" Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($39.99)

2007 Cousiño Macul "Antiguas Reservas" Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley ($29.99)

2007 Domaine de Marcoux Châteauneuf-du-Pape ($59.99)

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

2008 Melville "Estate-Verna's" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($39.99)

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