Staff Favorites - David Driscoll

David Driscoll
David Driscoll  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
David Driscoll likes to drink alcohol when he is not working at K&L. His main interests include wine, beer, and distilled spirits. Before he worked here he went to college at a decent school, got a masters degree from an OK school, worked as a waiter and taught elementary school in Chinatown. He decided to get into the wine business after reading a few books about wine and realizing that one cannot seriously learn about wine solely through reading. His career goals include: trying to convince K&L customers that he does know something despite his youthful appearance, and learning everything about everything about every single wine ever made.


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2014 Château de Montfaucon Lirac
Review Date: 10-26-2016
The Montfaucon Lirac takes everything we love about the Cotes du Rhone, softens it, and adds just a smidge more red fruit flavor. If you like the balance and the elegance of classic French reds, but like the fruit more than the earth or the acidity, this one's for you. A hot deal for fifteen bucks.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 10-26-2016
In the world of value-priced red wines, I'd put Cotes du Rhones on the short list of ever present bargains. Back when ten bucks seemed like a lot of money for a bottle of wine, I drank a lot of them. You could find them everywhere: Trader Joe's, Safeway, etc. They were usually good and rarely did I get a bad one. But in that world of value-priced Cotes du Rhones, there is still a hierarchy. At the top of that pyramid for me is Montfaucon. In the ever-expanding universe of $10-$15 wines, this one never gets old. The fruit is always juicy, yet restrained. The flavors are balanced, yet forward. The quality is there, yet the price never goes up. This is the quintessential French bistro wine. It pairs with just about anything and it always tastes delicious. What more can you say about dependability?
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2014 Zorzal "Terroir Unico" Pinot Noir Tupungato Valley
Review Date: 10-21-2016
This is an affordable Old World-style Pinot Noir from the New World, and one that stresses Old World values like terroir. Fans of Bourgogne rouge with that cooler climate fruit and hint of minerality will be thrilled. The Zorzal drinks like something from a rustic French bistro, yet it was made in Argentina! It tastes real and honest without that overtly fruity, un-Pinot-like character that many sub-$20 Pinot Noirs carry. It's clearly Pinot, and it's real, un-manipulated, pure Pinot. I'm getting thirsty just thinking about it.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2014 Giant Steps "Sexton Vineyard" Chardonnay Yarra Valley Victoria
Review Date: 10-19-2016
I think it puzzles our customers every now and again when I head to the Australian wine section after getting asked about white Burgundy recommendations. Ryan Woodhouse is almost single-handedly redefining the wines of the Southern Hemisphere for both us and our clientele. This incredibly crisp and refined Chardonnay from Giant Steps is yet another example. It's super clean (like clean as a whistle) and it's remarkably vibrant and zippy with a sheer minerality that cuts like a laser through the palate. Never in a million years would someone guess Australian Chardonnay in a blind tasting, but that's because they haven't gotten to know the Yarra. This is right there with Oakridge for me as a total game changer.

2014 Giant Steps "Applejack Vineyard" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley Victoria
Review Date: 10-19-2016
You can smell the whole-cluster fermentation right on the nose here. When a winemaker chooses to drop whole clusters of grapes into the fermentation it lifts the aromatics into something in between strawberries and bramble brush. That freshness persists here on the palate, but it alternates in between juicy and savory without skipping a beat. This is Pinot lover's Pinot. This is something quasi-Burgundian here, but the wine is more approachable in its youth than a village red Burgundy would ever be. How much more great stuff like this are we going to taste before we recognize that the Yarra Valley is making some of the most affordable, high-quality wines in the world?

Baron Fuente "Esprit" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-07-2016
This is a tremendous wine and one that I think fully conveys the thought and the effort that goes into our direct import Champagne program. For the price of a standard grade big house-blended cuvee, you're getting a single vineyard, single varietal expression of incredible beauty and depth. There's a nuttiness on the palate from the extended lees aging (keeping the spent yeast in the bottle) and a crispness that comes from the cool weather in this particular vineyard site. All in all, it's a fascinating bottle with unique spice and character for a price that still comes in less than the entry-level Veuve Clicquot!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Tongue in Groove "Cabal Vineyard" Pinot Noir Waipara Valley North Canterbury
Review Date: 10-05-2016
I think I've written the exact same thing in all my previous reviews when it comes to Ryan's Pinot Noir selections from New Zealand: as Burgundy gets more expensive and small vintages reduce that inventory, I continue to be swayed over to the wines from Wiapara, Central Otago, and Marlborough. This TIG from Cabal Vineyard drinks like something in between village-level Pommard and a heartier Sonoma Coast expression. It's full of dark berries and an endearing earthiness, but it's utterly approachable and can be drunk right now. We have a take-out place nearby the Redwood City store called Pronto that does rotisserie chicken and sides. I paired that hearty meal with this wine and polished off both in less than a half hour. Now I'm back for more!

2014 Pessac-Léognan de Haut Bailly, Pessac-Leognan
Review Date: 09-27-2016
As a somewhat value-driven Bordeaux drinker, I'm always on the hunt for two things: second and third wines from major chateaux, and the "off" vintages. 2014 was a perfectly respectable harvest for many properties, but it gets lost between the talk of 2009, 2010, and 2015. That's precisely the reason, however, that this sleeper from Haut Bailly is only $19.99. It's charming wine, full of delicate fruit and classic Graves minerality that purists like myself are smitten with. Decant this, cook yourself a steak, and know that you just came up on a hot deal. This is textbook claret from Pessac Leognan.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2001 Bowmore 14 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-17-2016
An absolutely delicious smoky whisky that should please any fan of the genre. This has everything: smoke, peat, sherry, campfire, earth, chocolate, toffee, and even a nuttiness that finishes with poise and presence. I'll be recommending this to everyone looking for something beyond Lagavulin 16.
Price: $82.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly Cru Beaujolais
Review Date: 09-14-2016
The nose on this wine is absolutely gorgeous--dried flowers, dark berries, and faint earth--while the palate offers more of all that promise with structure and serious grip. Those who think you know Beaujolais from the carbonic crunch of those big, overly juicy nouveau wines owe it to yourself to try this. You'll likely reconsider that bottle of Bourgogne Rouge for the same price. Especially beacuse Cru Beaujolais is really so much better!
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2013 Vidal-Fleury Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 09-14-2016
Here's a Cotes du Rhone for people who appreciate restraint and nuance. The fruit is there, but this isn't a big, sweet, juicy, full-bodied Rhone from a ripe vintage. This wine has acidity, and hints of crushed violets, and dark, tart blackberry. There's a bit of that blueberry note on the finish, but it fades quickly under the earthiness and delicate tannic structure. Good wine for a good price!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2015 Siran, Margaux
Review Date: 08-31-2016
2015 will not only be remembered as the vintage that brought sanity back to Bordeaux pricing, it will be remembered by enthusiasts as the year Margaux dominated the communes. Just about every wine we tasted from the region was balanced, beautiful, and elegant. When the combination of great pricing and great quality comes together, it only adds to our initial excitement. Just like the Malescot before (a Margaux wine we sold TONS of), the Siran showcases everything we loved about the vintage but at an even lower price. The difference here is the Merlot dominance, but the grace is still there under all that dark fruit. The wine is alive and kicking, plush on the palate, and loaded with drive and panache. It's also less than thirty bucks. I'd say: go for it.

2014 Fromm "Fromm Vineyard" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 08-11-2016
The Fromm vineyard release from Fromm is the more complex of the two wines, in my opinion. Beyond the delicate fruit and subtle spice there are layers, and layers, and layers of mineral notes, herbs, earth, and savory notes. It's there with some of the finer Burgundy pinots I've tasted when they're on, but the great thing about the Fromm pinots is that they're ALWAYS on. Decant this baby and let it open up a whole new world of flavor.

2009 Can Mayol Loxarel "MM" Blanc de Noir Gran Reserva Brut Nature Penedes
Review Date: 08-10-2016
This wine really surprised me with its Champagne like richness and depth of flavor. The wine is clean and refreshing, but there's more beyond that. There's a kiss of almond skin and a nuanced note of nutty richness that just dances on the finish. Top notch bubbly, no doubt!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Fromm "La Strada" Syrah Marlborough
Review Date: 08-05-2016
I hardly ever drink syrah anymore. Not because I don't like it, but because I drink so much Bordeaux, Burgundy, and reds from Italy that I can't seem to make room in my busy drinking schedule. The Fromm La Strada syrah, however, has me looking for ways to create space in my calendar. It's a syrah that is practically begging to be drunk. Full of northern Rhone smoke and savory, peppery notes, but done with a delicate touch, this is just beautiful red wine any way you slice it. Find an excuse to drink this. Cook something meaty. Make a BLT. Do something.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
SK 94 BC 93

Michel Couvreur "Blossoming Auld Sherried" K&L Exclusive Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
While the “Blossoming” label is not a custom one like the peated blend we make with Couvreur, this particular batch of the Blossoming Auld Sherried was bottled specifically for us and shipped as part of our exclusive order. It is utterly divine. It is the softest, smoothest, more concentrated sherry-aged whisky on the shelf by far. It’s like the sherry and the whisky have fused to become one perfect entity. As we know from our visit, Couvreur’s specialty is sherry. They select their own butts from Jerez personally and have connections going back to the 1960s. The result of that sherry is on display here.
Price: $219.99 Add To Cart

Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon Cask #75 K&L Exclusive Cask Strength Single Barrel Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 06-22-2016
With water this baby really opens up and lets loose a wave of sweet vanilla, crème brulee, soft fruit, and even a hint of tropical fruit on the finish. Kavalan's Solist series has always been popular, and now we've got our own limited edition batches here at K&L!
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart

2015 Ducru-Beaucaillou, St-Julien
Review Date: 06-16-2016
This wine, along with the tremendous Vieux Chateau Certan, would be at the very, very top of my list for best of the vintage. In my humble opinion, Ducru outshined the entire pack of first-growths, the big players of Pomerol, and the mineral-rich wines of the Graves. It was both elegance and refinement defined. Sensual and perfectly ripe fruit with seamless integration and a precision that moved from front to back in perfect balance. We all left the chateau simply mesmerized by the experience. I'm hoping everyone who buys a bottle of the 2015 has a similar epiphany by the time they open it. Not to be missed.

2015 Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-16-2016
This wine absolutely knocked our socks off when we tasted at the château. It's not just about the seamless fruit or sensual texture at Haut-Brion, it's the mineral notes, the smoke, the hint of black olive. It's a symphony of complexity.

2015 Montrose, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 06-13-2016
With the weather in St. Estephe a bit rainy and wet compared to other Left Bank appellations, the cabernet-heavy 2015 Montrose doesn't show any signs of waterlog. This is easily the best Montrose I've tasted in my young career and the most lush on the palate. The black fruits are rich and mouthcoating, the structure firm and foreboding. An old school claret worthy of second-growth status.

2015 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-13-2016
One of the best wines of the vintage for me. Gorgeous aromatics, lush fruit, finesse and beauty through and through. A wine that holds up great vintages of the past.

Tom's Foolery Bottled In Bond Batch #3 Ohio Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 06-10-2016
Real bourbon from a some guys backyard shed in Ohio? I've heard those stories before. But now I've tasted the reality of Tom's Foolery. This is not some rapidly-rushed brown water attempt to exploit the current bourbon fever. This is something entirely legit. A rich, spicy, full-flavored, old school American whiskey that brings credit to the word "craft." This four year old wonder gives me new hope for the market. Knowing that someone out there can make something this good for the price has me excited for more!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2015 Lynch-Bages Blanc, Bordeaux
Review Date: 06-08-2016
Seventy percent of the 2015 Lynch Bages Blanc was fermented in wood, adding a nutty richness to the bright, clean, and fresh acidity of the wine. For the price, it's one of the best bang for your buck whites I've seen thus far from 2015.

2015 Lynch-Bages, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-08-2016
The 2015 Lynch Bages was the first wine we tasting on the morning of the third day in Bordeaux, so our palates were fresh and ready. The aromas were full of dark fruit and oak, the fruit was ripe on the palate with plenty of power as a counterweight. Behind that power was finesse on the finish; the iron fist in a velvet glove analogy we like to use so often. This is one of the more powerful wines I tasted from the 2015 vintage, easily capable of long-term maturation.

2015 Branaire-Ducru, St-Julien
Review Date: 06-07-2016
One of my favorite wines of the vintage--period. This wine was supple and rich on the palate with seductive fruit and a finish that just went on forever. I left the property with a skip in my step, bugging my colleagues with: "Wasn't that wine just incredible?" I'll be buying plenty of this for myself.

2015 Smith Haut Lafitte, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-03-2016
I consider anything above fifty bucks to be a splurge bottle, but with Bordeaux anything that drinks as well as the 2015 SHL for less than a hundred dollars is a hot deal! This wine was right there with the Pape Clement for me personally. It's a complex wine--all about the relationship between the fruit and the potent minerality. The tannins are soft and round on the palate and the wine is silky on the finish. Finesse is a word you'll hear a lot when describing the 2015 Bordeaux vintage. There are few better examples than this wine here.

2015 Larcis Ducasse, St-Emilion
Review Date: 06-03-2016
We tasted this wine multiple times at the chateau on our trip and every sip just got better and better. There's a pop of plump fruit on the initial sip and then it moves into beautiful notes of violets and dark earth before enveloping itself in its own tannic structure. This is a great cellar wine and one of my favorites from our St. Emilion selections.

2015 d'Issan, Margaux
Review Date: 06-03-2016
Always one of my favorite properties, the 2015 Chateau d'Issan is classic Margaux flavor for a hot price. The nose is brimming with pretty aromatics, the wine soft on the palate, and the finish is long and elegant. I've bought plenty of Issan in the past as a slam dunk value for the relative vintage and 2015 won't be any different. Highly, highly recommended.

2015 Malartic-Lagravière, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 06-03-2016
One of the most complete "value" wines we tasted during our recent trip to Bordeaux, a few of us have been waiting with baited breath for this wine to release. The 2015 Malartic Lagraviere showcases the fresh, pretty, and elegant fruit of the vintage along with supreme balance of Graves minerality with added complexity from spice and earth on the finish. Alex and I had this in our top ten of the vintage. The price should get you very, very excited.

Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin 750ml
Review Date: 05-28-2016
The Navy Strength gin is not simply a higher proofed version of the Rare Dry from Four Pillars, but rather an entirely different formula. This one uses finger limes for a different citrus tone, but the balance of spice and botanicals is what ties both gins together. This is a bolder, brighter, more intense experience, but it's obviously made by the same team because the same attention to detail is prevalent. This is a world class gin of the highest quality, pure and simple.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin 750ml
Review Date: 05-28-2016
Bow down to the new king of gin: Four Pillars. A group of gin crazy Aussies put together one of the most focused and high-quality gin distilleries in the world in the Yarra Yarra Valley and now we're fortunate to get a taste of that goodness here in the U.S. The Rare Dry gin simply explodes with citrus, a burst of fresh orange, but it still packs a lovely balance of juniper and spice with the most delicate and graceful of mouthfeels. This is high quality gin, pure and simple. It tastes like it was fussed over, formulated and retooled until it was perfect. I can't stop talking about it nor drinking it. I'm just so happy we have it.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Pontet-Canet, Pauillac
Review Date: 05-18-2016
This is a dark and decadent wine with lush black fruits and oak influence that turn into earthier elements and tannic structure on the finish. It's also a powerful wine with a massive finish compared to its 2015 counterparts. There's a flurry of pepper and herbs on the finish that come out to play once the fruit fades away. Could be the wine of the vintage for those in search of big, structured, cellar-worthy wines.

Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 05-17-2016
An absolutely delicious, world-changing, life-altering experience. When you taste Launois's Cuvee Reserve and you realize that you only paid $35, you start to wonder what else you've been overpaying for? What about those shoes you ordered online? What about that special cheese you bought from the artisan market? Maybe there are other secrets like this out there that you just don't know about. Credit our own Gary Westby for the epiphany. Just don't bother him once we're sold out again. This is bright, clean, refreshing, and stunningly elegant 100% Grand Cru quality fruit and it's TO DIE FOR.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2006 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 05-17-2016
The leesy flavor on the palate is unreal in the latest Special Club vintage. This wine destroys many of the big brand, big box wines we sell for even double and triple the price. If you want something rich and refined for your next cocktail party, or want to celebrate a special occasion in style, save some money and load up on the Launois. You're not in any way skimping on the quality and you'll have a few bucks left over for the caviar.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2015 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-13-2016
One of my top ten wines of the vintage--at any price! This was such a lovely wine when we tasted it at the property. Maybe it was the scenic view or maybe it was Helene Garcin herself swaying me towards that mindset, but I have to say that the 2015 Barde-Haut is just a delicious Bordeaux wine. It's plush, full of concentrated fruit, still fresh with acidity, and complex on the finish. The silky tannins make it so very approachable in its youth, but this wine is the PERFECT 3-5 year cellar candidate with the stuffing to last much longer. For the price, it's a no-brainer. There's been nothing this good that's been released so far at a sub-$40 price.

2015 Malescot-St-Exupéry, Margaux
Review Date: 05-10-2016
This is an absolutely beautiful wine with a nose of chocolate and cherries, followed by a lush fruit on the palate and a graceful run to the finish. There are plenty of firm tannins on the back end, meaning the wine should have great potential for the cellar, but it tastes so darn good right now I think most people would have a tough time keeping their hands off of it. The Malescot sums up the 2015 Margaux vintage perfectly: it's a wine of beauty, finesse, and elegance. For the price, it may be the best value we see from the appellation. I'm expecting this and Issan to be the vintage's top bargains for those who (like me) cannot afford to buy wines like Chateau Margaux proper.

2015 Pape Clément, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-09-2016
We all said to each other at the chateau while tasting this: "If Pape Clement comes out under $100 it will be one of the best values of the vintage." Sure enough we're under $90 now for the pre-order price and that means grab it while it's here. The 2015 Pape Clement is an elegant and refined marriage of 56% Cabernet and 40% Merlot (with 4% Franc) that is incredibly pleasant from the first sip. The fruit is fresh and concentrated, the tannins are fine and supple, and the finish is long and graceful. Some of us had this as a top 10 wine from the entire 2015 Bordeaux vintage. It might be one of the only that comes in under $100.

2015 Berliquet, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-04-2016
Soft and sweet-fruited with lush cherry and other red berries notes. This will probably taste great no matter when you open it!

2015 Fleur Cardinale, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-04-2016
This wine showcases all that silky, soft St. Emilion fruit on the initial entry, but turns into a structured and tannic tour de force on the finish. This is a great cellar candidate from the Right Bank. I think five to ten years should pay huge dividends.

2015 Poujeaux, Moulis
Review Date: 05-04-2016
A fine, elegant, well-balanced claret from a producer that has become the darling of the K&L staff. Along with Cantemerle, this is a wine I've started buying almost every vintage since 2009. The 50% of cabernet adds full-bodied structure, but the 40% of merlot gives a soft-fruited texture and finesse to the wine. Another fantastic value from Poujeaux and another wine I'll be buying at least a case of.

2015 Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes
Review Date: 05-04-2016
This Lafaurie Peyraguey is like a classic semillon wine with more sweetness. There are white flowers and classic stone fruit flavors like you would find in a drier version of the wine, but with just enough sweetness to bolster it into the Sauternes category. Those looking for something more refined and elegant should give this a whirl. I thought it was a refreshing respite from some of the stickier stickies!

2015 La Tour Blanche, Sauternes
Review Date: 05-04-2016
The tropical notes are concentrated in the La Tour Blanche, but the mouthfeel is leaner and more fresh than some of the richer wines we tasted. There was a lovely freshness of acidity and the wine finished with a nice little zip. Quite charming.

2015 Doisy-Daëne, Sauternes
Review Date: 05-04-2016
The 2015 Doisy Daene was more fresh, lively, and restrained on the palate, far less rich than some of the more decadent Sauternes we tasted this year. If you're looking for something fun to enjoy in the short term, this is worth keeping an eye on.

2015 Doisy-Védrines, Sauternes
Review Date: 05-04-2016
Mango galore! And a rich, creamy, succulent palate of pure hedonistic splendor. Decadent stuff!

2015 Clos Haut Peyraguey, Sauternes
Review Date: 05-04-2016
The 2015 Peyraguey is loaded with stone fruits almost a dried apple note, which made it a standout Sauternes for me. Most of the wines tend more towards tropical and lemon flavors, but this one was quite different. Very nice.

2015 Suduiraut, Sauternes
Review Date: 05-04-2016
This is just lovely stuff; just a classic Sauternes in every way. There's a perfect balance of lush hedonistic fruit, with ample sweetness, and a long, lingering finish of candied lemon zest and mango followed by just enough tanginess from the acidity. Wow.

2015 Coutet, Sauternes
Review Date: 05-04-2016
There's a lovely tropical mai tai note right on the entry of the 2015 Coutet, followed by a firm mineral note on the mid-palate and mouthwatering acidity on the finish. There's a new school of thought in Bordeaux at the moment that perhaps more Sauternes should be enjoyed young as an aperitif, rather than solely as a mature dessert wine. This Coutet is a prime candidate for that new mindset. It's absolutely delicious now!

2015 Guiraud, Sauternes
Review Date: 05-04-2016
The balance of the 2015 is what caught my attention when we tasted in Bordeaux this year. I thought the wines were utterly drinkable in their youth, yet classically structured with acidity simultaneously. The Guiraud is the perfect example of this phenomenon. There's bright acidity on the entry, but it's tempered by delicate flavors of tropical fruit and ample sweetness, all in perfect harmony. I'll definitely be going deep on Sauternes as they become available.

2015 Lespault-Martillac Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 04-28-2016
THE WHITE WINE DEAL OF THE VINTAGE. You heard it here first. In all seriousness, this was one of the most impressive wines I tasted from anywhere this vintage and it was on our last night in Bordeaux (when I was about ready to stop drinking wine period!). It was lovely and subtle on the palate with a leesy richness and a firm mineral note on the finish. There was finesse. There was beauty and elegance. There was soft fruit and refreshing acidity. I've just convinced myself to buy some now having written this all out.

2015 Lespault-Martillac Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 04-28-2016
We tasted this wine before dinner at Domaine de Chevalier and I was thoroughly impressed. The wine was plump and dense with dark fruit, but balanced by a mineral note that one would associate with wines of the Graves. I like to think of this as baby Demaine de Chevalier. It's made by the same dudes!

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