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Staff Favorites - Kyle Kurani
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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.
1999 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 5-31-2013
Perfectly mature Rioja makes me a very happy man. This wine is on the traditional side of the Rioja dividing line, it is about earth and spice, brilliant acidity and just enough mature fruit to be in balance. This is decidedly nerdy wine, it is complex, intricate, and full of nuance. A food wine to be sure, lamb, burgers, grilled things.
Absolut Elyx Single Estate Vodka 1L
Review Date: 5-23-2013
David and I taste a lot of spirits, a lot. Some are great, well crafted, thoughtful spirits that are made with passion, but those are the exceptions to the rule. There is a lot of hyped up plonk in fancy packages that cost more just because they need to portray and image. Vodka is bar far the worst offender in my book. “This is the Vodka Alexander the III drank!” “This is all the rage in the clubs right now because so and so featured it in their video.” (Or on a boat). None of these things have to do with what is actually in the bottle. The Elyx looks good, but it also has stuffing. Coming off a vintage pot still, the first thing that struck me was the creamy texture and velvety mouth feel. This Vodka is supple and mouth coating, very soft and supremely drinkable. David and I opened this right next to another Vodka to compare with this, there is more depth and weight to this, it is noticeably better than any other Vodka I have tasted recently. This falls into the category of well made, crafted Vodka, and is absolutely worth a try.
2005 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 12-31-2012
One of the best Rioja's I have had this year. Hailing from a warmer '05 vintage, this wine has in the moment appeal, as well as the depth and structure to last for another 10 without breaking a sweat. Red fruit and spice are wrapped together to form a wine of intesity and intrigue.
Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 11-7-2012
This is my favorite entry tier wine from a big house. The quality is a step above due to careful wine making and a touch of reserve wines in the blend to add depth and nuance to a very affordable bottle of bubbles. Taking a look at my notes going back three testing’s, the most consistent notes that came up again and again were delicate white flowers and spiced pears, these delicate flavors combine with good acidity and a finely textured mouth feel make for a bottle of wine that can be enjoyed by many.
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