Staff Favorites - Chiara Shannon

Chiara Shannon
Chiara Shannon  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
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.


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St. George Terroir Mt. Tam Gin 750ml
Review Date: 11-1-2012
This is wild and crazy Gin, for folks who like intensity, bold herbal flavors, and a lot of local Bay Area flare in their Gin. Macerated with native pine and herbs from Mt Tam, among many other botanicals, this smells and tastes like a Christmas trees, cut with fresh sage and ground peppercorn. For Negronis.
Price: $30.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength London Dry Gin 750ml
Review Date: 11-1-2012
A very dry, aromatic Gin, this is all Juniper and lemony citrus, with pretty floral, cedar, and ginger root accents. Light and ethereal, just gorgeous stuff! Takes the Gin & Tonic to a whole new level.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Michel Arnould Verzenay "Brut Reserve" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 10-30-2012
Wow, out of magnum this Champagne is even more of a powerhouse. Extended time on the lees has imbued this Champagne with layers of richness and complexity that are intensified out of the magnum format, leaving a sensational palate impression. Rich, creamy aromas and flavors wrap around a solid structure of fruit, coating the mouth with toasty goodness. Showing impressive volume and cut, this is a truly regal Champagne with the structure and complexity to complement a variety of foods.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel "Blanche Brut" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 10-30-2012
Even better out of magnum! Less oxygen in contact with the wine in bottle makes for a Champagne with increased intensity and a magnified expression, not to mention longer life! If you love the 750 ml version then you will be floored by how incredible this shows out of the larger format. Its distinctive fruit and brioche aromas and flavors take on added dimension, and everything about the wine - mouthfeel, palate impression, finish - is more expansive and lingering. If you plan to be sharing Champagne with more than three people, a magnum like this is the way to go.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2001 Señorío de P.Peciña Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 10-25-2012
Pecina never disappoints. The 2001 Reserva Rioja is about as good as aged red wine can be for $30. I enjoyed this recently over a dinner of grilled flank steak with a side of brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon, and it was simply perfect. It showed a classic Rioja mix of red fruits, earth spice, and savory complexity from traditional barrel and bottle ageing, but with such freshness and lift! Exhibiting just the right amount of restraint so as to not take over the meal as many bolder reds can do, this cut right through the steak and handled the fatty/earthy flavors of the bacon and sprouts like it was fufilling its life purpose. Perhaps it was. I just hope it was paying attention the moment the conversation quieted and my guests remarked in unison, "man, this is REALLY good wine...what is this?" Kudos to you, Pecina.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart RP 91 BC 0

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 10-25-2012
Made from half estate and half purchased fruit, all 1er and Grand Cru sources, Louis Roederer's Brut Premiere is a sophisticated, elegant Champagne that has minerality, flavor, acidity, and length of the sort you might expect to find in a bottle from one of our small grower-producer DIs as opposed to a "big" house. This can be attributed to the fact that even at this entry level, the wine originates as a vineyard or fruit selection, not a tank selection like other large production houses. This is a superb Champagne and great value. Whether you are a Champagne novice or connoisseur, shopping for a gift or a bottle to open and enjoy yourself, don't overlook this because you recognize the label - this seriously good Champagne is sure to impress.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

Club Price: $34.99
WE 92 ST 91 WS 91

Amaury Coutelas "Cuvee 1809" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-25-2012
This is incredible Champagne, and very unique. Drawing on winemaking techniques of the 19th century, it was fermented in barrel (no malo), aged for 8+ years on the lees in bottles sealed with corks, manually disgorged, and finished with a cork and twine closure. Stylistically, you could say it's to Champagne what Lopez de Heredia is to white Rioja, but unlike 19th century Champagne, this modern revival is dry, with a very low dosage. It offers a stunning array of complex earthy and nutty aromas and flavors with biscuit, mineral, mushroom, and honey accents. The texture is luxuriously rich and layered, but naturally high acidity and the low dosage keep this Champagne fresh and invigorating, with a dry, crisp finish that goes on and on. If you like white wines from the Jura, traditional white Rioja, or are a Champagne fiend looking for something to blow your mind, here you go. Highly recommended.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 10-9-2012
A lovely Pomerol from the 1999 vintage, showing classic Merlot plum and red berries in the nose against a backdrop of chocolate, wet earth, and sweet tobacco. Medium-bodied and graceful, with a soft ripe fruit on the midpalate, fine tannins, and a smooth finish. This is open enough to enjoy tonight with a steak or roast chicken, but has the structure and balance to age further.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Qupe Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne
Review Date: 9-28-2012
A standout at our recent domestic staff tasting in the white wine value category. Marsanne is prone to heaviness and high alcohol (especially in warm climates), but managed properly it can be wildly complex, mineral-driven and delicious, like this bottling from Qupe. Grant it, there's 21% Roussanne in here adding aromatic lift, brightness, and focus, but the richness on the palate and complex flavors (I can barely tease out lemon peel and pear) riding on a base of some real wet stone minerality is all Marsanne. This is a really fun, mind-bending wine that you can enjoy for under $20. Try it young with a bold and nutty dish that can take on the acid and draw out the wine's unique aromas like Thai cashew chicken, or lay it away to soften a bit and enjoy in a few years with an earthy dish, like creamy morel mushroom pasta.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Michel Loriot Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-8-2012
This vintage Champagne made from 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay shows the richness of the 2005 vintage without losing balance and structure. Aged for 5-6 years on the lees, it is open and inviting with aromas of lemon fig, graham cracker, honey, sweet cream, and hazelnut. The mousse is full and creamy, and the flavors mingle delightfully on the palate, with varying sweet and savory accents adding layers of complexity. This has all the richness and flavor development to satisfy the Clicquot set while simultaneously winning approval from even the geekiest of wine geeks (read: Joe, Gary). Enjoy tonight, for a special occasion or any occasion!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Campo de Encanto Pisco de Peru 750ml
Review Date: 6-28-2012
From Peru’s Ica Valley, this truly is one of the best Piscos on the market today. It is an elegant, creamy and textured ‘Acholado’ style, made from sustainably grown traditional Pisco grape varietals and distilled only once, with absolutely nothing added. Bottled at proof, this Pisco is good enough to enjoy on its own, but its intent is for use in cocktails like the legendary Pisco Sour. My husband and I love this delicious Peruvian cocktail so much, it was the signature drink served at our wedding! Pisco Sour : 2 oz. Pisco, 1 oz. fresh lime juice, .75 oz. simple syrup, 1 egg white. Shake with very little ice or blend. Top with cinnamon or bitters as preferred.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cocchi Aperitivo Americano 750ml
Review Date: 6-6-2012
The Cocchi Americano has been produced according to an all-natural recipe in the Piedmontese town of Asti since 1891. It is a lightly fortified, orange and herb-flavored bitter infusion that not only works wonders in reviving appetite, but will protect against malaria, too. A blend of Moscato d'Asti wine, cinchona bark (which contains the anti-malarial quinine), the roots of gentian flowers and a secret combination of other botanicals, this is a must for anyone interested in a real deal aperitivo. It is considered to be the Italian version of Kina Lillet, the key ingredient in the "Vesper" cocktail James Bond orders in the novel 'Casino Royale'.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Jean-Louis Denois Pinot Noir Brut Rosé
Review Date: 5-4-2012
Composed of 100% Pinot Noir, Denois' sparkling rose is made in the traditional method with the same care and attention given his other bruts. Also a direct import, this new rose is a real treat, with juicy strawberry and fresh watermelon aromas and flavors adding a whole new layer of fun to its creamy mousse and delicate honeyed toast foundation. A kiss of framboise adds impact to finish. A delicious and refreshing sparkler, this will complement many foods and bring an inspiring burst of color and flavor to any occasion!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 4-24-2012
Composed of 70% Chardonnay, 23% Pinot Noir vinified white, and 7% Pinot Noir vinified red, this Grand Cru Rose Champagne is pretty special stuff. It starts out enigmatic, offering floral and dandelion aromas, followed by a suggestion of raspberry and bitter citrus. These kick up a notch on the palate, where currant and red berry notes mix with citrus and creamy lees for a deep, mouthfilling impression that is clearly defined by racy acidity and clean mineral high notes. Contrasting yet complimentary flavors of berry and mineral linger on the finish. This is a food Champagne with endless possibilities.

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 4-24-2012
I was reminded at today's Champagne staff tasting of what a fabulous bottle of bubbles this is for the money. Based mostly on the 2007 vintage, with the rest older reserve wines, this Champagne offers an expressive nose of golden apple, creamy lees, chalky minerals, and the subtlest of baking spices. It is full on the palate, with a creamy mousse lended structure and power by vibrant acidity. The chalky mineral component adds edge and focus to the long finish. Its richness and fruit offers broad appeal, but its complexity and depth promise to intrigue even the most discerning of palates. This is a superb Champagne to enjoy now and over the course of the next five years, for any occasion!

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