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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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

2002 Couly Dutheil "Clos de l'Echo" Chinon
Review Date: 2-24-2012
Arguably one of the highest expressions of Cabernet Franc in the world, the Couly Dutheil’s “Clos de l’Echo” Chinon is produced from a walled vineyard on mineral-rich, calcareous, clay soils. The 2002 has almost a decade of bottle age and is still so young and tight at this suggests a rosebud clenched inside an iron fist that is only just beginning to loosen its grip. With air, red fruits come forward along with tantalizing scents of anise and warm earth, though the tannins remain firm and minerality taut. This could easily be left alone for another ten years, but nevertheless it is a captivating wine that has the potential to turn everything you think you know about Cabernet Franc on its head. On the third day being open it started to really sing, but by then there wasn't much left to enjoy! Available in magnum too, but be prepared to wait another twenty years at least for that...
Price: $21.99 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

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.

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

2003 Verdignan Rouge, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 10-8-2010
If you are looking for a drink-now traditionally styled left-bank Bordeaux, look no further than the 03 Verdignan. 03 was a hot vintage, and there's loads of flavor on the palate to show for it. Bottle development has added futher complexity to the flavors on the palate and the finish. You'll be hard-pressed to find a bottle of this caliber and breeding for under $15.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Fleury "Carte Rouge" 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 BH 90 BC 0

1999 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 6-16-2010
The 99 Lanessan is a beautifully mature Bordeaux. It is silky on the palate, with well-developed fruit flavors, accented by notes of leather and earth. At $20, it might be one of the best values in the store today - a must-try for any wine lover.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Sutton Cellars Sonoma Vermouth 750ml
Review Date: 3-17-2010
This Vermouth makes me happy. I lived in Madrid when I was in my early twenties and remember enjoying this style of vermouth (I also remember seeing grandmothers drinking it off the tap at the cafes at 9 am in the morning - the Spanish are the true party people). Anyway, here we have a cross between spiced cider in the nose and bone dry sherry on the palate. The all-purpose wine that never goes bad and just gets better the more oxidized it becomes.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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More Favorites

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

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

2009 Le Bonnat, Graves ($16.99)

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