Staff Favorites - Susan Thornett

Susan Thornett
I’ve been with K&L since summer 2007, moving to retail from a restaurant background. I love coming up with fun food and wine pairings! I tend to enjoy and review wines that convey something interesting about their region of origin, and I usually prefer subtle, savoury wines. That said, dessert wines are always a particular weakness of mine! Often my reviewed wines- aperitif, main course or pudding- will be from France, Germany, or Austria. You will also see me recommending heaps of beers- so if you always dreamed of having a personal beer sommelier you can sign up for that. My ideal beer is a crispy English session ale but I enjoy exploring many different styles, from Californian double IPAs to sour Belgian Gueuzes. I’m not a beer expert by any means but we have a great selection here at K&L and I’m having a great time working my way through - hope you can join me!

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2010 Lestruelle, Médoc   | Approved
Review Date: 11-18-2014
An amazing value from the northern tip of Bordeaux's Left Bank, the 2010 Chateau Lestruelle is an excellent representation of the region's classic character and complexity. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, this bottling has everything I want in a red wine. Opening with strong tannins that mellow out before going down smoothly, this is a rich and complex wine, combining elements of blueberry, tobacco, flint, and pencil lead on the back end. This all leads to a satisfying finish that makes you insist upon one thing, and one thing only: ANOTHER GLASS!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Elephant Hill "Le Phant Rouge" Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
This wine is so good, I'm not sure whether to age it or drink it. Again, I'm not the kind of guy who looks too far from Bordeaux for my Bordeaux blends, but this is a serious wine with both pure, unadulterated fruit flavor and serious structure. You could decant it with a steak tonight, or throw it down in your wine cellar for 3-5 years. Either way, you're in good shape. The price is just insane.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Quarter Acre Bordeaux Blend Havelock Hills Hawke's Bay  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
I'm not usually one to buy my Bordeaux blends outside of Bordeaux, but for this guy I'll make an exception. This Merlot/Malbec blend is dark fruited, slightly structured, and shows lovely mineral notes underneath all the earth and berries. For the money, it's an absolute incredible find by Ryan, our buyer.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 E. Guigal Châteauneuf-du-Pape   | Approved
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Ron Burgundy once famously confused Chateauneuf Du Pape with Heinz Ketchup. Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth, a fact especially evident with this 2009 bottling from the famed producer of Rhone wines. Medium bodied and evenly laced with plenty of dark fruit, tobacco, and chocolate, the wine hits you in the face with complexity, while also being very approachable. The moderate tannins sit nicely in the middle of the spectrum between too dry and too sweet,and is sure to please lovers of both fuller, more tannic wines and those wanting something a bit more mellow. A lovely representation of the area.

2010 Majo di Norante "Contado" Riserva Aglianico di Molise  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Aglianico is a big, bold powerful grape and in Majo Norante’s Contado Riserva you get a real mouthful for the price. Smokey, earthy nose that seems to deepen as it escapes the glass, full of dense fruit and hints of vanillin. On the palate this wine is powerful, structured and decisive; layers of flavor explode across your tongue and leave you saying holy wow. The wine finishes with a bit of a reassuring grip long lasting flavors. This wine comes from one of Italy’s least know Regions called Molise, it’s on the Adriatic side of the peninsula between Abruzzo and Puglia.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

Bibi Graetz "Casamatta" Toscana  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Hard to imagine that you can get such good quality at this price but yes you can! One of the ways is to make a multi vintage blend (non vintage sounds so passé) like this one where one vintage’s lesser characteristics can actually balance out another’s. This wine is full of bold cherry and plum fruit, with lots of soft fleshy richness on the palate, just a wonderful drinking wine! Try it with your favorite pizza, or sausage and pepper pasta.
Drink from 2014 to 2016
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart JS 90 BC 0

2008 Bisceglia Aglianico del Vulture "Gudarrà"  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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I love this wine’s complexity, layers of wild brush, smoke, truffle, tar, saddle leather and big bold plumy fruit. Aglianico is a powerhouse grape and the wines that come from Vulture, in Basilicata (the instep of the boot) have origins that come from an ancient volcano and that soil lifts and brightens this tannic variety into a superbly balanced and delicious wine. While definitely having a tannic signature this wine has such great balance that it is really drinking well right now and will age well for another 5-8 years. This is a wine that is perfect for braised meats or hearty pasta dishes.
Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

1995 Glenburgie 19 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
For me, this is the ultimate Speyside expression. Recently, Speyside has become synonymous big unctuous sherry bombs. That is not what we'd call a typical Speyside, but nonetheless distilleries are changes people perceptions of what a regional character should be. This Glenburgie does a good job of putting the Speyside back into its box. Perfectly floral and lifted, the lightness and elegance is apparent on first nosing. When someone asks you what heather smells like, this is the bottle you grab. Light citrus and fragrant candies, the finesse is mimicked on the palate perfectly. Utterly drinkable and unbelievably classic. While this whisky is not light on flavor, it has tons of light flavors. Know what I mean?
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Domaine Cabirau Côtes du Roussillon  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
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Vibrant aromas of crushed blackberries, licorice and nutmeg spring from the glass of 2012 Domaine Cabirau Cotes du Roussillon, a blend of 70% Grenache, 20% syrah and 10% Carignan this wine is absolutely gorgeous! The palate is stuffed with rich blackberry and blueberry fruit, violet and plum accents with bright acidity and the perfect balance between tannins, fruit and acid. This is a delicious wine that can pair flawlessly with food but has enough body to be drunk on its own or with a charcuterie plate.
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart RP 92 BC 0

1998 Mortlach 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Sherry Butt Finish Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
This Mortlach is going to make so many people happy. We were shocked earlier this year when the owners released and 18 year in the UK at £200 for the half bottle. We were equally surprised when Signatory pointed out the ten casks of Mortlach that had been undergoing a second maturation for over 2 years in Fresh Sherry Casks. We were allowed to taste one. We bought it immediately. The rugged Mortlach spirit is in perfect balance with the lovely sherry influence. While the whisky isn't as dark as I remember it being, there's still all that rich oloroso influence. The spirit is flamboyant and still showing the great youthful savoriness that Mortlach is known for. So much going on hear, a true display of why Mortlach is a true blue chip distillery.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Obsidian Ridge "Obsidian Ridge Vineyard" Red Hills Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Do any of you remember the story about the little train that could? Maybe you read it to your kids/grandkids or maybe you remember having it read to you when you were young like I do. The way I recall this story, not having heard it in a couple of decades, is there was this little, forgotten, overlooked train that had great pluck and determination. He kept with it always knowing that he could pull with the best of them. One day he got his chance and wouldn’t you know it he saved the day! In my mind that’s a perfect metaphor for the 2011 Obsidian Ridge "Obsidian Ridge Vineyard" Red Hills Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.99). We’ve always kept this wine around in corners of the store that sometimes just get passed by too quickly. The staff has always loved the wine but maybe it slips their minds when someone asks them for a recommendation. This year’s wine is just too good to forget. Simply put it may be their best effort yet and it certainly is one of the best Cabernets we’ve seen from the much, yet sometimes unfairly, maligned 2011 vintage at it respective price point. There is just so much wine in this bottle; the scope and largesse here is pretty spectacular with bold, rich flavors of tar, ink, blackberry, ash, fried sage and lavender. Add a ton of spicy, exotic oak notes in the nose and a rock solid tannic structure and this is a wine that will be mistaken often for a wine twice its cost. Come on; give the little train a chance.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart W&S 92 BC 0

1997 Glen Ord 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Hogshead Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Glen Ord is a funny little distillery and this whisky is no different. Here we 100% on the waxy pear and apple fruit. Also some green grapes and fresh herbs. With air it throws aromas of some very unusual exotic tincture. This is idiosyncratic whisky to say the least. The real scotch lovers will be able to coax a lot out of this special cask, but they must be patient and listen.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2001 Bowmore 12 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Beautiful Bowmore! We owe you so much. This fabulous distillery holds a place close in our hearts for many reasons, but the number one reason is they keep putting out RIDICULOUSLY good whisky. This is exactly what I want in an everyday Islay peater. The nose is all smoke, but surprisingly little peat. Instead, we get flinty embers, dried underbrush, fresh sugar cookies, dried sultanas, and a hidden sherry note to balance. The palate brings all the Islay you could want focused like a laser around a bevy of complex flavors. This is another one of these contrast whiskies that I just can't get enough of.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1990 Bruichladdich 23 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
This, for me, is the quintessential 'Laddie. Often we compare Bruichladdich to it's smoky siblings on Islay. By describing it in this context, we are undoubtedly misrepresenting it's character. It is not a light fresh floral malt, but remains a rugged powerful ocean whisky. Despite it's lack of peat, this whisky shows power and depth. The nose draws the perfect line between the exotic wood and savory nuts of the refill sherry. IN the background, a fresh saline spray is apparent. Upon entry, what seemed dark and pensive is now expressive and free. Beautiful fresh fruit flavors mingle perfectly with deep flavors inherent. All along a slight salt nibble. It is indeed non slouch, but instead an Islay stunner of the truest sense.
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1997 Glenrothes 17 Year Old K&L Exclusive Signatory Refill Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 11-18-2014
Oh man, oh man this is a doozy. This whisky is going to make so many people happy. I don't remember this being quite so good back in Scotland and what this Glenrothes does right is exactly what lovers of Glenrothes will notice. The nose is powerfully sweet, dried figs, spiced cakes, chocolate frosting. Based on the nose the mouth was certain to keep this theme, but instead the earthy depth of the 'Rothes spirit pops its head up. Bringing earthy and leathery notes into the fold balances any fears of this being overly sweet. A fine Rothes to say the least.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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