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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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

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 "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

Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle" Sparkling Wine Brut Central Otago
Review Date: 3-3-2010
Wow! Here we have a classy, traditional method sparkling from cool-climate Central Otago that can give some competitors in Champagne a run for the money. With a complx nose of minerals and creamy lees, lemon and leesey flavors and creamy texture on the palate, and clean, refreshing acid on the finish, there is a lot to love in this bubbly. For the price, it is simply outstanding. If you are looking for an elegant sparkler to serve at a wedding reception or other large party, I highly recommend giving this a try.

Jean-Louis Denois Brut "Tradition"
Review Date: 2-19-2010
If you are looking for quality sparkling wine that is produced in the image and style of Champagne but more budget-friendly, try this brut from the Languedoc. Made from classic Champagne grapes Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, harvested at low yeilds to preserve quality, this French sparkler is crisp, dry and refreshing, with green apple and citrus flavors backed by a leesey texture, creamy mouthfeel, and delicate mousse. The finish is long and clean. Perfect for a wedding or other celebratory occasion! Your guests will thank you.
Price: $14.99 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

Noah's Mill Bourbon 750ml
Review Date: 11-6-2009
This Bourbon is distilled to proof, which means that no water is added to bring the proof down after distillation. The benefit (and joy) of this is that when you drink it on the rocks, it changes dramatically with each sip as layers of flavor are unleashed by the melting ice. It starts out with intense, earthy aromas of peppercorn and chocolate, which are echoed in the mouth at first sip. What struck me about tasting this Bourbon for the first time was how the flavors exploded with intensity in the mouth without the sensation being hot or burning, as can happen with such a high proof spirit. Each sip thereafter was a surprise, as chocolate and vanilla became toffee, became hazelnut, became sweet soy and even some stone fruits made an appearance. What fun!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Ginga Shizuku "Divine Droplets" Junmai Daiginjo Sake (720ml)
Review Date: 7-28-2009
A very elegant sake, driven by delicate aromas of almond, sweet cream and lychee fruit. The palate is tangy, and shows more of a white pear flavor. Overall, this is a dry sake with mineral structure and acidity, that hints at saltwater taffy on the long, dry finish, and would be ideal with sashimi.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart ST 94 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" North Coast Brut 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

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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)

2009 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien ($139.99)

2011 Les Clos Perdus "Le Rouge" Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes ($9.99)

2010 Qupé "Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard - K&L Selection" Edna Valley Syrah ($19.99)

2010 Dalwhinnie "Moonambel" Shiraz Pyrenees Victoria ($39.99)

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)

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)

2009 de Birot, Côtes de Bordeaux ($9.99)

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)

2010 Alta Maria Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir ($23.99)

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 Cap de Faugeres, Côtes de Castillon ($24.99)

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)

2001 Léoville-Poyferre, St-Julien ($99.99)

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)