Staff Favorites - Susan Thornett

Susan Thornett
Iíve 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. Iím not a beer expert by any means but we have a great selection here at K&L and Iím having a great time working my way through - hope you can join me!

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2002 Couly-Dutheil "Clos de l'Echo" Chinon   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-26-2015
2002 is still very young for this producer but this bottling is showing great potential! The nose provides notes of tomato leaf, crushed herbs and leather while the palate expresses cherry, cassis, earth, tobacco and raw mushroom. With so much structure, this bottle is sure to age well for another 10-15 years, easily.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1989 Couly-Dutheil "Baronnie Madeleine" Chinon   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-26-2015
An old bottle of Couly Dutheil Chinon always holds up so well, and the price is always such a steal. The 1989 shows pretty notes of crushed flowers, leather, dry earth and meat. The palate brings tertiary flavors of sweet mushrooms, iron and salted meats. Thereís still sweet cherry and cranberry notes, and the dusty tannins and acidity are still prevalent, this wine is sure to have another 5 years in it at least, just look at how well the 1976 is doing!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1976 Couly Dutheil "Baronnie Madeleine" Chinon   | Public Pending Approval
Review Date: 3-26-2015
Wow!! At 39 years old this Chinon is more beautiful than ever. We had this bottle open for 3 days and it only got better. The wine is all umami while still having a backbone of fruit. On the nose notes of dill, iron and tomato show through while on the palate thereís soy, mushrooms, organic earth, meat, and soft cherry tannins. Itís somehow so elegant while showing so much flavor. Just stunning!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1995 Craigellachie 18 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Sherry Butt Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
This massive cask is definitely one of my favorites from this year. Craigellachie is a wonderful and under-appreciated distillery that's only now getting recognition as a true Scottish Blue Chip. Its OB 17-year offering has recently won Speyside whisky of the year and this 18-year-old first-fill sherry version is another example of why the distillery is so well regarded by those in the know. Here we have some really classic sherry aromas, some fudge, wisps of gun smoke, dark dried plummy fruit. The palate dries up nicely (this is definitely Oloroso, not PX), but still brings out some Christmas cake and other dense fruity/spicy aromas. A real winner and an absolute steal considering where other malts in first-fill sherry are fetching these days.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1995 Miltonduff 19 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
Wildly light in color for the age, but it makes up for it by being so soft and easy. Notes of fondant, vanilla, wild fruit and some pomace fruit continue from the nose to the palate where the malt factor turns up a few notches. Ultra clean, fun and not hard to appreciate. It's nice to have a single barrel cask strength option that you can pour for anyone without worrying that you'll scare them off.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Smoky & Peaty Tobermory (Ledaig) 8 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
This is one of the better Ledaigs we've tasted. Considering this is the same price as the 46% standard bottling I think it's a steal. Last year we destroyed it with a nice 7-year-old "smoky island" whisky from this same distillery. Here we have a whisky that's listed as an 8-year but is actually closer to 10 years (distilled 2004 - bottled 2014). It's a slightly cleaner version of this special malt than last year's offering from Exclusive Malts. It's old, better, and the EXACT same price. NO BRAINER! Stock up before the geeks realize what they're missing and it's gone forever.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 McClean X "Simone" Paso Robles Zinfandel  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
A test... see if you can spot this one on our domestic shelves. I'll give you a few hints: Red vines, classic nail polish, fire extinguishers. Big Juicy Glorious, Five-Alarm Red. OK, try not to be put off by label shock, for this one definitely has the juju within, and whoever the heck this Simone is, she must be quite the ravishing head-turner. A gorgeous blend of opulent, spicy, peppery Zinfandel and dark, fathomless Petite Sirah, this astonishing wine possesses enough weight, mouthfeel and serious Zin flavor to seduce any dish bold enough to flirt with it. Enchiladas dancing in a rich mole sauce maybe?
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart WE 93 BC 0

2001 Bowmore 12 Year Old Hepburn's Choice K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
I'm totally in love with Bowmore, as I regularly mention, and some might argue that we focus too much on this special distillery. The truth is when we find casks from Bowmore, which is rare, they're generally so good, that it's nearly impossible to say no. Recently, prices have been increasing and I'm fearing the young affordable Bowmore of years past might be increasingly difficult to find in the current market. Therefore, we will continue to buy every great Bowmore we can find. This is the second 12 year old Bowmore in stock and a wonderful educational contrast to the style of the Signatory. Coming out of a traditional refill hogshead, we get a very old school style peater. Dark smoke, with hints of motor oil and old wooden rafters. In the back a subtle dark cocoa peaks through. The palate is full force on that slightly earthy veggie peat. All this is wrapped around some salted pickled fruit and the mid-palate really turns up that wonderful balancing sweetness. In the back the salt and brine kick up a bit. The stuff of legend I tell you.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1993 Macallan 21 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
Don't knock it til you try it. Some people looked at this and said, "Oh wow, expensive!" Well not really considering the distillery bottling is $350, but that's besides the point because we bought this cask for its flavor not its pedigree. A phenomenal cask--albeit not in the typical distillery--there is nonetheless something that feels distinctly Macallan about this whisky. Massive nose of aged tobacco, exotic wood and special lacquer. The palate brings out more classic Macallan fruit (a surprise) with hints of white pepper and wild honey. A stupendous bottling that will turn heads equally for its fine provenance as well as its wonderful character.
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1998 Tamdhu 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
Tamdhu is one of the unsung heros of Speyside. The distillery, which until recently was scheduled to be demolished, has seen somewhat of a resurgence with the new ownership offering a new, attractively packaged 10-year-old. This splendid cask is just a fruit monster! Like you've blended and reduced a ton of fresh orchard fruit. On the palate, the malt comes roaring back with some balancing pepper, clove and other baking spices, along with a dollop of fresh vanilla extract. Fun, but easy to appreciate. From all the feedback so far this one has been a real hit with bourbon lovers.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1997 Laphroaig 16 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
We all know Laphroaig is a love or hate proposition and this, my friends, is proper Laphroaig. Aged in a hogshead for 16 years, the nose starts exactly where you'd hope -PEAT! The massive smoke is not one dimensional however, moving from sooty embers to oceany briny and back again. One the palate, the sweet malt balances the intense peat nicely with the slightly lower ABV making it shockingly easy to consume. This reminds me of somewhere between the old 15 year and the current 10 year cask strength. A stupendous offering that we're absolutely lucky to have.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1996 Tobermory 18 Year Old K&L Exclusive Old Particular (Douglas Laing) Single Barrel Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
BOOOOOOOOOM! This is definitely my favorite Tobermory to date. This fun and funky little distillery from the gorgeous Isle of Mull, is considered very high quality. That said, the distillery offering, their 15-year-old, sells at close to $140. This is several years older and from one single cask, but also has even more character than the standard offering. Perhaps it's the fact the half the time the little distillery on Mull is devoted to creating peated whisky, but this definitely has a phenolic background note which makes it very intriguing at first glance. While the distillery is officially in the highlands, this bottling is the epitome of an "Island" whisky. It has a certain sense of place that is just unexplainable. Fruit, salt, malt, and the tiniest hint of smoke - pure joy! The finish has this fabulous earthy gravel note that slowly merges into a dark fudge quality. Probably the most unexpected of this years offerings and the obvious contender for sleeper hit of the year.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1990 Girvan 24 Year Old Sovereign K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
This is single grain and from the same distillery that recently released a 25-year-old version at nearly five times the price. This is ULTRA easygoing whisky. Not for your big peat heads, this is the stuff you give to the guy that loves high-end blends or just easy drinking. Maybe not the most complex whisky on offer this year, but certainly one of the easiest we have right now. The nose is low aroma, with subtle yellow fruit aromas. Hints of vanilla and fresh cut wood continue on to the palate where the sweet grain takes over. Won't scratch the itch for some of the malt guys, but will make all the normal drinkers in the world VERY happy.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1964 North British 50 Year Old Sovereign K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
Just think about what 50 years in a barrel does to a whisky. This was luckily coming from a large hogshead considering we got nearly 120 bottles out of the cask. With the amount of expected evaporation that means that possibly as much as 80% of this whisky evaporated over the course of its five decades of maturation. The resulting whisky is surprisingly light on its feet without a bitterness or a sense of being "too old." The nose is one of the closest to bourbon I've seen in Scotch. It reminds me of an old school wheater of the highest order. The exotic wood, deep vanilla, and melted brown sugar don't translate over to the palate, which is oily and surprisingly lifted. The creamy texture is what really takes over on the palate, framed by subtle sweet grain and a dark caramel note on the finish. More stupendously drinkable whisky that despite the high price remains an incredible value by any measure.
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Glenmorangie Tķsail Limited Edition Single Malt Whisky 750ml  
Review Date: 3-25-2015
We all know the Dr. Bill can do no wrong and this fabulous new offering from Glenmo's Private Edition line is no exception. I love it when instead of getting super experimental (think Ardbeg Space Whisky) the guys at Glenmo kind of go back the other way. Producing whisky by hand from heirloom varieties of barley is not a first for the modern whisky industry, but Dr. Bill has done it in such a thoughtful and delicious way, you're almost glad he didn't do it first. We absolutely loved the Bere Barley from Bruichladdich a couple of years ago and this takes the idea of barley varietals one step further by including an in house malting scheme. The result is something utterly unique and perhaps wildly authentic. This feels like old school whisky (although retaining Glenmo's classic elegance) and has a depth and soul hard to come by in modern releases. The high protein variety of barley producers far less alcohol (less starch), but much more character than the spring varietals typically used. Robust and round, with tons a fruit and small but persistent spicy quality. We've got a decent supply right now, but like all the Private Editions we'll have people asking about this one for years to come (not to mention it's likely to take home some serious awards later in the year).
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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