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Staff Favorites - Kyle Kurani
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Beehive Distilling Jack Rabbit Utah Gin 750ml
Review Date: 10-14-2014
Easily my gin of the year, and firmly in my "top five" gin rotation (yes, sadly we drink that much gin in my house). The botanical pairing of rose petal and sage makes for a complex, intriguing, and stunning gin. The nose is highlighted by the pretty rose notes, with just a hint of sage and juniper. The palate plays up the sage, soft and supple, with just the right balance of floral notes to keep it from becoming cloying. This bottle was empty exactly one week after I brought it home, I couldn't stop drinking it. Perfect with tonic, I also like it in French 75's or simply in a gimlet. Love it!
Cain "Cuvée NV10" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 9-21-2014
Combining the richness of the 2009 vintage with the freshness of the 2010, this incredible multi-vintage red offers an extraordinarily balanced Napa Cab. The dark fruit is layered with notes of raspberry and currant, laced with savory leather. To add balance to this blend, the 2010 brings freshness, red cherry and herbal components, fresh mint and crushed sage. The sum is greater than the parts in this case.
Singani 63 Bolivian Muscat Brandy 750ml
Review Date: 9-15-2014
Exactly what we love to drink. After a "serious day in the office" tasting as many as 40 different whiskies, the Singani is the type of spirit I want to come home to, delicious. Fresh, and lively, you get the essence of the Muscat grape, floral, with ripe peach and apricot, this is super clean and dangerously drinkable. So much to do with it: Pisco sour stand-in, add some tonic, or lemon soda with a twist; I would even venture to say it would be killer in a Mojito.
2002 Thienot "La Vigne aux Gamins" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-28-2014
A study in elegant richness and composure. The La Vigne Aux Gamins is one of the best bottles of bubbles I have had the pleasure to have this year. Out of the glass come toasted almonds and a hint of pound cake, with elegant aromas of white flowers and fresh chalk, signs of the beautiful Chardonnay that is about to envelope your palate. The first sip rushes in with spiced apples, fresh baguette and a beautiful counterbalance of white flowers that follow through from the nose. The freshness of this wine is what sets it apart, there is a persistent minerality that lends lift to the mouth feel, and an elegance that dances all the way through to the beautifully long and full finish. These notes were written on a day that we tried a total of 63 other Champagnes, from Krug to Billecart; this wine was undoubtedly one of the best things we tasted.
2006 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-20-2014
Cristal is really serious Champagne. Yes it is famous, yes it has a lot of hype, but behind all of that, there is some of best Champagne in the bottle you will find anywhere. The 2006 is a beautiful combination of ripe summer fruit that is characteristic of the vintage, and a driving minerality that comes from the chalky soil from estate-grown grapes. I was well impressed with the golden apple and pear notes that were delivered alongside super-fine bubbles and a precise mineral presence. A hint of nutty richness at the back-end of the palate adds just the perfect balance of richness. This is a wine that will develop in the cellar for years to come and will undoubtedly reward your patience.
2008 Franck Bonville "Millesime" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 5-1-2014
Where to start? This is amazing vintage Champagne, and a completely new experience for me. I have never had a wine that has stuck such a superb balance of ripeness and minerality. The 2008 Bonville needs both of those characteristics to stay in balance because they are present in a very powerful way in this wine. Rarely are such ripe and lush notes present in a Champagne for me: lemon curd, toasted coconut, and sweet hazelnut practically coat your mouth in decadence. These could easily create a plump and drab wine, but the fine chalk and vibrant acidity that frame the palate create one of the most complete bottles of wine on our shelf. Drinkable now, and will age effortlessly for years (or decades) to come. My wine budget might go all to the bubbles this month.
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Gin 375ml
Review Date: 5-1-2014
This was the only bottle I brought back from our recent trip to Scotland. When you spend all day tastings as many as 60 Scotches, the idea of buying booze was pretty much the farthest thing from my mind...until I tried this gin. We were lucky enough to stumble into a very reputable bottle shop where the lovely lady was kind enough to let us try this. As soon as I did, I was hooked. This is by far the most complex and intriguing gin I have ever tasted. Layers of herbal notes that keep revealing themselves, juniper, bay leaf, and lemon zest, to name a few. It is so fresh and clean, not a rough edge to be found. I couldn’t believe that it was a gin I was drinking. If you are a fan of complex spirits, this is worth getting into a glass near you.
1988 Littlemill 25 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Lowland Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 4-15-2014
Toasted golden corn in the glass. The nose is intense and driven, notes of wood spice, burnt orange, and savory herbs, the sort of mix that only evolves with time. The palate is much less savory; more on the toasty and grainy side. Butterscotch and sweet oak dominate but there are hints of stone fruit at the back that add complexity. A touch of honey and graham cracker round out a very classic “scotchy” flavor profile. This distillery is both closed and demolished, so these remnants of single casks are always a treat to have while they still exist.
2005 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 10-15-2013
Another amazing vintage of Special Club! 2005 in Champagne ended with smiles on the faces of all the wine makers, an even growing season, perfect harvest mid-October, and beautiful fruit. This 2005 is everything you would expect from such an exceptional year. The Special Club is Launois’ crown jewel and is annually one of my favorite wines in the decadent, richer style of Champagne. The nose is full of vanilla shortbread and peaches with cream. The palate is one layer of confectionary richness after another: angel food cake, toasted hazel nut, and graham cracker, are all intertwined. Like walking into your favorite bakery and being enveloped with the aroma of all your childhood favorites.
2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-25-2013
A glamorous wine inside and out. Don’t let the fancy gold bottle fool you; this is some seriously great Champagne, rich and opulent, with drive and finesse. I have had this bottle three times over the past year and have been impressed on all occasions. Aromas a ripe peach and candied apricot greet you on the nose, the palate is full and yeasty, layers of brioche and hazelnut. For those of us who love the rich and decadent style of Champagne, this fits the bill perfectly. Suitable for any occasion that I can think of, a wonderful bottle.
Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-17-2013
The Grand Siècle is a prestige bottling with the stuffing to back it up. I was well impressed with this bottle in our last tasting, it has all the complexity and richness that you would expect from the top bottling of a Champagne House. A true multi-vintage wine, this combines the strengths of three great vintages into a sum that is greater than the three parts. This wine is driven decadence, ripe off the tree peaches and cream envelope your palate at the first sip, followed by dense shortbread and white flowers. Layers or citrus and ginger follow, supported by a subtle nuttiness from the lengthy aging, this wine is complete, without a single edge to be found.
Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-17-2013
The LP non-vintage is made in a very open-knit, pleasing style. Layers of rich apple and golden pear are enveloped by toasted bread and candied citrus peel. This wine is on the opulent side for the category, with the brightness of the citrus enough to balance out the creaminess. Overall this is very pretty Champagne, there are layered flavors that impress for the price, and this comes across as very well made.
Nikka Coffey Still Japanese Grain Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 9-11-2013
One of the most unique and exciting Whiskey's I have had this year! I always love off the beaten path Spirits that just wow you. This is the ultimate in soft, supple, and yummy unmalted grain Whiskey. Notes of caramel, candied nuts and sweet sweet grains all combine to make something that is absolutely delicious. The finish is velvety vanilla and hazel nut and lengthier than I would have expected. With the other expressions from Nikka being so highly allocated, jump on this while you can!
Campeòn K&L Exclusive Blanco Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 8-29-2013
Blanco Tequila is the purest form and expression of the skill of a Tequila House. There is no wood to soften the edges and hide blemishes, any harshness or bite is apparent right away. The Campeon Blanco shows off just how good pure fresh Agave can taste. When Blue Agave is grown at higher altitude, it takes longer to mature, but lends itself to a more complete Tequila. This Blanco has beautiful freshness, notes of citrus combined with a hint of spice, with a mouth feel that is so texturally pleasing, I am always sadly surprised at how quickly I find my glass empty. A great new partnership for us that holds a bright future for those of us who love well crafted Tequila.
2010 Amici Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 5-31-2013
Proper Napa Cab. My tasting notes of this read like they were taken right out of what a Rutherford Cab is supposed to taste like; dark blue and black fruits, a dusty earthiness, cassis and sweet oak. This is a very good example of what balanced Cab tastes like, drinkable now, certainly worth drinking over the next 10 years as well.
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