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.


Reviews

  
Batiste Rhum Agricole 750ml
Review Date: 08-16-2013
The latest release of this spectacular rum is the best yet. It still has all the power and complexity that characterizes Rhum Agricole (a rum tradition and style distinctive of the French West Indies) but in the latest release they've used a special vacuum still (the kind used in Sake production) and the results are astounding. This rum initially impressed me with its polish, vibrancy, and smooth mouthfeel, but now with amplified aromatics and layers of flavor on the palate it is not only one very distinctive rum, but mouth-wateringly delicious too. Lychee nut and rich tropical fruits leap out in the nose, with subtle hints of cane grass and flowering herbs. The palate fans out like a peacock's tail, intense yet never overwhelming as it winds down towards a smooth, glassy finish. The superiority of Batiste's sustainable grown, hand-cut, organic cane and natural processing methods is evident in the fine quality of this Agricole. Sip neat, on the rocks, or in a classic Ti’ Punch: 2 oz. Rhum Agricole, squeeze of half a lime, cane syrup to taste, 1-2 ice cubes (optional).Combine and serve in an old-fashioned glass or tumbler garnished with a lime twist.
Price: $36.99 Add To Waiting List

1999 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 06-18-2013
This ia a lovely example of aged Rioja from a good vintage that is drinking absolutely perfectly right now. It shows excellent integration and a range of complexity that you rarely encounter in the under $20 category. Mixed berries mingle with earth spice and notes of vanilla and savory herbs. Framed by fine tannins and supported by balanced acidity, this really over-delivers in elegance for the price.
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 91

Cocchi Aperitivo Americano Rosa 750ml
Review Date: 02-12-2013
Lovely stuff! A brand new offering from Cocchi, this is a fresher, lighter in body, and a fruitier version of their Vermouth de Torino with subtle aromatic suggestions of Chinato. Red and blackberries, earth flowers, and woodsy, spiced herbs meld for a similarly fruity yet sweetly bitter style of Vermouth. Serve on the rocks (with or without soda) with a lemon or lime twist or top with Champagne for a sparkling aperitif. Not to heavy, not too sweet, there is a lot of potential for creative cocktail-making here...from martinis to Sangria! Served chilled after dinner, this would also make a delicious pairing with a strong spicy blue cheese (like cabrales, gorgonzola, or roquefort) accompanied by a side of spiced chutney, candied citrus peel, or quince paste.
Price: $18.99 Add To Waiting List

St. George Terroir Mt. Tam Gin 750ml
Review Date: 11-01-2012
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 Waiting List

Martin Miller's Westbourne Strength London Dry Gin 750ml
Review Date: 11-01-2012
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 Waiting List

Michel Arnould Verzenay "Reserve" Brut 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: $69.99 Add To Waiting List

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 Waiting List

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.

1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 10-09-2012
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: Hidden View Price

Campo de Encanto Pisco de Peru 750ml
Review Date: 06-28-2012
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 Waiting List

Cocchi Aperitivo Americano 750ml
Review Date: 06-06-2012
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 Waiting List

ArteNOM Seleccion 1146 Anejo Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 11-03-2011
It's official: I am a tequilophile. While everyone has run to jump on the Single Malt and crazy cocktail bandwagon, myself included to a certain extent, I have also quietly cultivated a growing interest in Tequila, not exactly sure where it would take me. Tequila as a spirits category suffers from domination of "big name" fashion brands, and it's a real challenge to find the good stuff in the market that hasn't been gussied up some. However, Tequila turns a corner with Seleccion ArteNom, and I'm on board. This negociant finds the REAL STUFF - grower-produced, unadulterated, terrroir-driven Tequilas - and the experience is revelatory on all counts. While I"m generally more of a Blanco/Reposado gal, this Anejo, with its super light golden color and warm, sweetly spicy perfume, won my heart instantly. There are so many layers to this Tequila, it does not whop you on the head with heavy oak and caramel flavors, but rather seduces you with waves of smoke and spice aromas over creamy, buttery intervals. There's tremendous viscosity here, and pepper notes brighten the finish, which seems to go on forever. Wow.
Price: $49.99 Add To Waiting List

ArteNOM Seleccion 1414 Reposado Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 11-03-2011
It's official: I am a tequilophile. While everyone has run to jump on the Single Malt and crazy cocktail bandwagon, myself included to a certain extent, I have also quietly cultivated a growing interest in Tequila, not exactly sure where it would take me. Tequila as a spirits category suffers from domination of "big name" fashion brands, and it's a real challenge to find the good stuff in the market that hasn't been gussied up some. However, Tequila turns a corner with Seleccion ArteNom, and I'm on board. This negociant finds the REAL STUFF - grower-produced, unadulterated, terrroir-driven Tequilas - and the experience is revelatory on all counts. Uncharacteristically light in color for a Reposado, 1414 appears almost like a Blanco. It's got a really unique aroma - like baking banana nut bread - and incredible viscosity, with no hard edges whatsoever on the finish. I love the 1079 Blanco for its purity and this 1414 Repo for its character.
Price: $44.99 Add To Waiting List

Fluteau Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-24-2011
Made from 100% estate-grown Pinot Noir from Gye-Sur-Seine, this rosé Champagne behaves almost like a red wine with its deep magenta color, medium body and subtle tannin. Grilling salmon? Smoking a duck breast? Lively acidity and a full mousse lend this wine especially well to pairings with oily fish and savory meat dishes. Served chilled, the tannin in this flavorful and textured rosé also makes it a charming partner to chocolate cake.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

Michel Loriot "Marie-Leopold" Sec Champagne
Review Date: 10-24-2011
While most Champagne producers prefer to use the best fruit for the more popular drier styles, Michel Loriot bucks the trend with his off-dry cuvée. This special Champagne is composed of 80% Pinot Meunier and 20% Chardonnay. It presents a nose of fresh-baked pastry, sweet cream, honey and orchard fruit, which broadens to include buttercream-frosted white cake on the palate. The dosage is a home-made liqueur based on pure sugar cane, which contributes to the pure and delicate quality of the sweetness. Though off-dry, full and rich, the high acidity keeps everything fresh and balanced, leaving a stunningly clean finish. If after a full meal you crave something sweet but not too sweet, consider winding down with a glass of this off-dry Champagne. Or, offer it at brunch or an afternoon gathering to accompany cake or cupcakes (especially if buttercream frosting is featured) or other similar baked delights!
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

2006 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-09-2011
At our last staff tasting, the 06 Domaine de Chevalier Rouge was really singing after having been open the better half of the day. The nose was all classic Pessac leather, graphite, and black fruit aromas, leading to a medium-bodied palate framed by fine-grain tannins and a tannic, grippy finish. This wine is undoubtably young, but you will thank us when you check back in on this wine after laying it away for another 5, and then another 10 after that. It is just going to get better.

Latitude 50 N Sekt Trocken Rosé
Review Date: 05-06-2011
I was pleasantly surprised by this dry sparkling rose from Germany, made from Portugeiser, dDornfelder and Pinot Noir. It has delicate and and high-toned red fruit aromatics, and the palate is textured, fruity, and broad but framed with great acid structure. I enjoyed this immensely with a charcuterie and Spanish cheeses, where the acidity, fruit, and subtle earthy notes of the wine complemented the savory, salty, and earthy flavors of the food, and the acidity cut through the fat. An excellent food wine!
Price: $15.99 Add To Waiting List

Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 12-16-2010
It's finally back in stock after months of waiting! My favorite Champagne look-alike, the Deligeroy Cremant de Loire, is a must for entertaining. However, it is also sophisticated enough to stand on its own as an apertif, gift for a sparkling wine lover, or simply as a bottle to share with someone special. The blend of Chenin and Chardonnay provide floral and mineral aromatics as well as weight and a backbone of refreshing acidity; Cabernet Franc adds complexity and fruit notes. A no-brainer this holiday season, but with this sparkler on hand, any reason is an excuse to celebrate!
Price: $11.99 Add To Waiting List

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-27-2010
This is one of my all-time favorite Champagnes, suitable for any occasion. The nose offers a medley of berries and baked puff pastry. The palate is full and round, with ample fruit supported by balanced acidity. The finish is very dry and long, with lingering berry and mineral notes. Divine!
Price: $39.99 Add To Waiting List

Quartz Reef "Methode Traditionelle" Sparkling Wine Brut Central Otago
Review Date: 03-03-2010
Wow! Here we have a classy, traditional method sparkling from cool-climate Central Otago that can give some competitors in Champagne a run for the money. With a complx nose of minerals and creamy lees, lemon and leesey flavors and creamy texture on the palate, and clean, refreshing acid on the finish, there is a lot to love in this bubbly. For the price, it is simply outstanding. If you are looking for an elegant sparkler to serve at a wedding reception or other large party, I highly recommend giving this a try.

Noah's Mill Bourbon 750ml
Review Date: 11-06-2009
This Bourbon is distilled to proof, which means that no water is added to bring the proof down after distillation. The benefit (and joy) of this is that when you drink it on the rocks, it changes dramatically with each sip as layers of flavor are unleashed by the melting ice. It starts out with intense, earthy aromas of peppercorn and chocolate, which are echoed in the mouth at first sip. What struck me about tasting this Bourbon for the first time was how the flavors exploded with intensity in the mouth without the sensation being hot or burning, as can happen with such a high proof spirit. Each sip thereafter was a surprise, as chocolate and vanilla became toffee, became hazelnut, became sweet soy and even some stone fruits made an appearance. What fun!
Price: $54.99 Add To Waiting List

West County Cider "Redfield" Cider, Massachusetts 750ml
Review Date: 09-23-2009
YUM! This pink-colored cider is made from an heirloom vareity of apples that actually have red flesh. The flavor is like a cross between Bugey Cerdon (a sparkling wine from the Savoie that is fresh, grapey, and a little sweet - one of my all-time favorite light bubblies) and green apples, and the overall effect is dry and refreshing. Since I can't drink beer, I am constantly on the look-out for dry, fresh and distinctive ciders - I LOVE IT!!!!
Price: $16.99 Add To Waiting List

Kanbara "Bride of the Fox" Junmai Ginjo Sake 720ml
Review Date: 07-28-2009
For an accessible sake that has a forward nose of bananas and tropical fruits, with creamy, nutty undertones, the Kanbara "Bride of the Fox" certainly promises to please a crowd. Don't let the fruit-driven aromas fool you, however - this sake is structured and very well balanced. The smooth finish hints at sweetness, which is ideal for pairing with a variety of sushi rolls, especially the more complex ones featuring spicey and umami flavors.
Price: $32.99 Add To Waiting List

Ginga Shizuku "Divine Droplets" Junmai Daiginjo Sake (720ml)
Review Date: 07-28-2009
A very elegant sake, driven by delicate aromas of almond, sweet cream and lychee fruit. The palate is tangy, and shows more of a white pear flavor. Overall, this is a dry sake with mineral structure and acidity, that hints at saltwater taffy on the long, dry finish, and would be ideal with sashimi.
Price: $64.99 Add To Waiting List
ST 94

Sorelle Bronca Prosecco DOCG
Review Date: 05-19-2009
I am impressed by this prosecco's delicate, fresh mousse, lively minerality, and mouth-watering green apple flavors. Can you smell sunshine? It's in there too. Perfect bubbles for summer. Or in the middle of winter, when you want to be transported to summer. Makes a wonderful, lighter alternative to Champagne, too.
Drink from 2007 to 2007
Price: $17.99 Add To Waiting List

J. Laurens Brut Cremant de Limoux
Review Date: 04-10-2009
Cremant de Limoux, the AOC for budget-friendly Champagne-esque sparkling wines, is in itself cause for a toast. The NV Cremant de Limoux, J. Laurens Brut is one of our most popular party bubblies. It looks like Champagne with sparkly light gold and a lovely bead. Creamy mousse and delightful yeasty/toasty flavors on the palate. Bone dry, and at only 12% abv,this is a no-brainer for a big event, but can make Monday night special too!
Drink from 2009 to 2009
Price: $13.99 Add To Waiting List

Schramsberg "Mirabelle" California Brut Rosé
Review Date: 02-15-2009
Schramsberg has a special place in my heart as it was the place where I started my career in the wine business. If you haven't visited Schramsberg, I strongly recommend you do - tucked up in the hills just south of Calistoga, it is a historical landmark with some of the oldest caves in the Napa Valley, and it is one of the only places where you can see the traditional (and highly labor-intensive) methode champenoise process of making sparkling wine without going all the way to Champagne. Mirabelle is Schramsberg's non-vintage label. Composed of 64% Chardonnay and 34% Pinot Noir, this June '08 release of the rosé might be the best yet: clean and crisp, it exhibits a nose of fresh strawberries and very very subtle vanilla notes. The palate is vibrant, amplified by a fine mousse and delicate flavors of red berries and sweet-cream that I want to describe as...flirty? Try one and see for yourself.
Drink from 2009 to 2009
Price: $19.99 Add To Waiting List
RP 90

More Favorites

Chiara Shannon is also a fan of the following items. To become a fan of Chiara Shannon, click here to join Chiara Shannon's Personal Sommelier Service.
2009 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien ($129.99)

2006 Friggiali Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99)

2006 Trabucchi Amarone della Valpolicella ($74.99)

2009 de Birot, Côtes de Bordeaux ($9.99)

2009 Clos du Val Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.99)

2009 Plaisance "Cuvée Alix" Bordeaux Supérieur ($14.99)

2006 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien ($89.99)

2007 La Lecciaia Brunello di Montalcino ($34.99)

2004 Lanessan, Haut-Médoc ($19.99)

2010 Antica Terra Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($54.99)

2008 Chasseur Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($39.99)

1997 Potensac, Médoc ($24.99)

2010 Joh. Jos. Prüm Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Auslese ($49.99)

2007 Beaulieu Vineyard "Reserve" Carneros Pinot Noir ($19.99)

2008 Pyramid Valley Vineyards "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic) ($39.99)

2007 Poujeaux, Moulis ($34.99)

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Reserve" Champagne ($44.99)

2008 Coho "Headwaters" Napa Valley Red Blend ($39.99)

2005 d'Angludet, Margaux ($64.99)

2004 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac ($129.99)

2006 Hall Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($59.99)

2007 Léoville-Barton, St-Julien ($64.99)

2007 Cousiño Macul "Antiguas Reservas" Cabernet Sauvignon Maipo Valley ($29.99)

2006 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc ($39.99)

2008 Melville "Estate-Verna's" Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($39.99)

Bruno Michel "Les Roses" Brut Rosé Champagne ($49.99)

2005 La Tour Blanche, Sauternes (375ml) ($29.99)