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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Campo de Encanto Pisco de Peru 750ml
Review Date: 6-28-2012
From Peru’s Ica Valley, this truly is one of the best Piscos on the market today. It is an elegant, creamy and textured ‘Acholado’ style, made from sustainably grown traditional Pisco grape varietals and distilled only once, with absolutely nothing added. Bottled at proof, this Pisco is good enough to enjoy on its own, but its intent is for use in cocktails like the legendary Pisco Sour. My husband and I love this delicious Peruvian cocktail so much, it was the signature drink served at our wedding! Pisco Sour : 2 oz. Pisco, 1 oz. fresh lime juice, .75 oz. simple syrup, 1 egg white. Shake with very little ice or blend. Top with cinnamon or bitters as preferred.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cocchi Aperitivo Americano 750ml
Review Date: 6-6-2012
The Cocchi Americano has been produced according to an all-natural recipe in the Piedmontese town of Asti since 1891. It is a lightly fortified, orange and herb-flavored bitter infusion that not only works wonders in reviving appetite, but will protect against malaria, too. A blend of Moscato d'Asti wine, cinchona bark (which contains the anti-malarial quinine), the roots of gentian flowers and a secret combination of other botanicals, this is a must for anyone interested in a real deal aperitivo. It is considered to be the Italian version of Kina Lillet, the key ingredient in the "Vesper" cocktail James Bond orders in the novel 'Casino Royale'.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Jean-Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rosé
Review Date: 5-4-2012
Composed of 100% Pinot Noir, Denois' sparkling rose is made in the traditional method with the same care and attention given his other bruts. Also a direct import, this new rose is a real treat, with juicy strawberry and fresh watermelon aromas and flavors adding a whole new layer of fun to its creamy mousse and delicate honeyed toast foundation. A kiss of framboise adds impact to finish. A delicious and refreshing sparkler, this will complement many foods and bring an inspiring burst of color and flavor to any occasion!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 4-24-2012
I was reminded at today's Champagne staff tasting of what a fabulous bottle of bubbles this is for the money. Based mostly on the 2007 vintage, with the rest older reserve wines, this Champagne offers an expressive nose of golden apple, creamy lees, chalky minerals, and the subtlest of baking spices. It is full on the palate, with a creamy mousse lended structure and power by vibrant acidity. The chalky mineral component adds edge and focus to the long finish. Its richness and fruit offers broad appeal, but its complexity and depth promise to intrigue even the most discerning of palates. This is a superb Champagne to enjoy now and over the course of the next five years, for any occasion!

2009 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 4-4-2012
Wow, if you've enjoyed past vintages of Lanessan, like the 96, 99, and 01, you're in for a real treat here. "Old School" in style, Lanessan historically leans toward the earthy/woodsy/herbal side of the spectrum, and improves with age, but in 2009 there's so much ripe, fleshy fruit that it's appealing even now. It exhibits ripe black fruit and plum aromas and flavors, with floral and earth spice accents. A dense core of fruit is framed by firmly structured tannins and balanced acidity. The grippy finish lingers with notes of toasty cedar and baking spices, with a delicate hint of vanilla. Lay away 5-7 years to enjoy for the ensuing 10-15.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Blason Isonzo Bianco (3L Bag-in-aBox) (cannot ship)
Review Date: 3-27-2012
A K&L direct-import, Blason's Isonzo Bianco (3L Bag-in-aBox!) maintains a permanent residency in my fridge whenever it is available, and has done since it first hit our shelves in 2008. Crisp, fruity, and refreshing, the latest release is great. It's the perfect quaffer to enjoy while cooking, as an aperitif, and it's vacuum-sealed packaging makes it great for all kinds of outdoor activities, from camping to picnics to boating. Cheers!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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

2005 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 10-20-2011
It is so exciting to have direct imports from Rioja now! The wines of Rioja are among my favorites for the level of quality and complexity you get for the price, as compared to wines from the other classic regions of Europe, from young to mature. The 05 Reserva Rioja from Miguel Merino straddles the two "worlds" of Rioja styling, with a combination of classic Rioja aromatic complexity due to traditional vinification and ageing, with a richness and fullness on the the palate that is sure to resonate with folks more familiar with new world wines. It's all there: red fruit and spice, the influence of American oak, savory aromas and flavors. This is an elegant, first class Reserva.

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

2007 Rustenberg John X Merriman Stellenbosch
Review Date: 5-24-2011
The 2007 John X from Rustenberg is a standout. Tasted recently at our last South African staff tasting, it emerged as a clear favorite amongst the Bordeaux-loving staff. The nose is all black fruit and mineral-rich soil aromas, with some rose petal/potpourri accents. This wine is young, as the tannins and acids are still tight, but overall it shows great balance, concentration, and potential to age gracefully. Jimmy C advises to "sock some away" for 10 years for a real treat.

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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 Qupé "Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard - K&L Selection" Edna Valley Syrah ($19.99)

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

2011 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau St-Aubin 1er Cru "Bas de Vermarain à l'Est" ($29.99)

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 ($16.99)

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)

2000 Grand Mayne, St-Emilion ($89.99)

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 E. Guigal Gigondas ($25.99)

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)

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)