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.


Reviews

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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
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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 "Quartz" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-17-2016
The Quartz is the leaner, more focused entry level wine from Launois and it might be my favorite. Underneath the fruit you get down into the minerality and the oyster shell notes that you expect from a fine Chablis. It's just that this wine has bubbles and it makes you feel like you're floating on air. Stunning.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

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

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 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-04-2016
Just a gorgeous wine both on the nose and on the palate. There's a ruby red core of sweet fruit and secondary flavors of rose petals and mineral notes that add complexity to that ripeness. A stunner and another notch in the ever-lengthening belt of Cantemerle's successes. Sure to be the staff favorite once the wine arrives two years from now. Make sure you get in early.

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 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.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JS 94 RP 91

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!

2015 Bourgneuf, Pomerol
Review Date: 04-28-2016
If you’re looking for something a little more old school and less fruit-forward, then the 2015 Bourgneuf is the wine for you. There was more pronounced oak on the palate that will need to integrate over the next five years and a dustiness to the tannins that helped balance the lush fruit. This is a wine that should evolve beautifully over the next decade; a real cellar candidate.

2015 Lafleur-Gazin, Pomerol
Review Date: 04-28-2016
This was one of the better deals I tasted from Pomerol. The Lafleur-Gazin coated my palate with plush purple fruits, but finished dry and fine on the back end. It’s the kind of wine that gives Merlot a good name; a wine that’s almost too delicious to wait on. I’ll be interested to see how it develops though. These Pomerol wines have tiny production levels (compare the 21 acres of Lafleur-Gazin to the roughly 160 of Latour). I find it's best to grab these first during the pre-arrival campaign as they're the most likely to sell through.

2015 Haut-Brisson, St-Emilion
Review Date: 04-15-2016
This wine has an intensely aromatic nose of cassis and dark raspberry with a mouthful of juicy fruit balanced by great acidity. The tannins were gritty and chewy on the finish, and the flavors were overall fresh and satisfying. We all thought this was a great deal at the chateau, and I'm excited that value wines like the Haut Brisson are part of the 2015 vintage en primeur launch. A case of this is likely going into my cellar as well.

2015 Tour St-Christophe, St-Emilion
Review Date: 04-15-2016
Tasting the 2015 next to the 2012 was a great way to contrast the vintages. The 2012 is an elegant and rounded wine with lovely highlights of red fruit, whereas the 2015 is a darker beast, full of fleshy Merlot and intensely concentrated black fruits with highlights from the oak and ripe tannins. The terraced slopes of Tour St. Christophe's vineyards are a very special place, capable of creating truly expressive wine, and this 2015 cuvee is just another example of that fact.

2015 Enclos Tourmaline, Pomerol
Review Date: 04-15-2016
This wine knocked my socks off. This is serious Pomerol on every level, deeply concentrated with a brooding note of dark red fruit. The palate is lithe and supple, elegant really, with perfect balance between the ripeness of the fruit and the mineral notes from the terroir. Enclos Tourmaline's vineyards are between Le Pin & Trotanoy, serious names in the Bordeaux hierarchy. This is top-tier wine.

2012 d'Issan, Margaux
Review Date: 01-12-2016
This wine is absolutely gorgeous in every possible way: delicate violet notes, soft plum, subtle structure, and an elegant finish. It's everything I expect from high-end Bordeaux, especially from Margaux. The caveat here is you're getting a wine that, in my opinion, completely outshines the 2009 Issan, yet is priced $30 less per bottle. It will easily hold up for a decade or more and should offer stunning complexity once the layers begin to unfold. This wine is a clear and shining example of why vintages must be assessed on a producer-by-producer basis, rather than as general blanket statements.

Henry McKenna 10 Year Old Bottled in Bond Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 09-17-2015
McKenna is one of those under-appreciated gems of the booze industry. A throwback Bourbon made by Heaven Hill (the home of Elijah Craig, Evan Williams, Rittenhouse Rye, and many other great brands) that's all from a single barrel, bottled-in-bond at 100 proof, and well-priced to boot. There's not much of a reputation for it out west, so it tends to go rather unnoticed, but the quality is highly-regarded by those in the know. Our inventory on McKenna is inconsistent and spotty so we tend to load up when it becomes available again. I taste inferior Bourbons every week that sell for $40, $50, and $60 per bottle based on hype and perceived rarity. But this guy just keeps truckin' along. What a deal. What a whiskey.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
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Potocki Polish Rye Vodka (750ml)
Review Date: 09-02-2015
The best vodka in the world. Period. Next!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
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Cut Spike Nebraska Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-13-2015
When I first tasted the Cut Spike whiskey, I thought it was simply the best American single malt out there; a true revelation for the domestic category. However, as I'm now tasting the newest batch from the Nebraskan producer, I'm realizing that the whiskey is starting to morph into something very particular and unique to the brand. That classic creaminess is still very pervasive, but for the second time in a row there's a pronounced note of pine that soon mutates into ginger and Asian spices before quickly turning back into rich vanilla and oak on the finish; smoothly seeping its way into my taste buds as that last little sip goes down. What we're starting to witness here is the development of a house style--a flavor that defines this distillery. It's very exciting, and it's becoming infectious.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Macallan "Rare Cask" Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 06-16-2015
I'm one of those guys who would rather drink the richer, more robust flavor of sherry on the palate rather than an age statement or a number. There's no 12 or 18 on the label of the Macallan Rare Cask because the distillery uses a variety of ages, from top quality sherry butts, to create the Rare Cask. If you can get past the uncertainty, you'll be rewarded with fudge, decadent cocoa, and spice cake. If you like Macallan, there's no way you'll be disappointed.
Price: $269.99 Add To Cart

San Venanzio Prosecco Valdobbiadene Superiore Brut
Review Date: 06-10-2015
This is stunning for the price. Light, airy, a touch of stone fruit with a hint of what seems like sweetness, but really is just ripeness. It's fresh and dry and lovely. And the price!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
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Chokaisan Junmai Daiginjo Sake (720ml)
Review Date: 05-14-2015
This is one of the best sakes we carry at K&L - period. I would bring this bottle to a dinner party and just drink it like a bottle of white wine or rose. We need to get out of the habit where we only drink sake when we eat Japanese food. This is the bottle that should prove to serious wine drinkers that sake can easily hang with a great Sancerre or an Alsatian pinot gris. Crisp, vibrant fruit on the entry with hints of pear on the finish. Made with a unique yeast derived from flowers, the sake is one of the most aromatic and delicious we carry, as well as one of the most special.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Glenlivet 15 Year Old "French Oak Reserve" Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-28-2015
One of the last great deals in age-statement whiskies. At a time when maturity labels are dropping like flies, Glenlivet still has the 15 year French oak reserve for $40. That's something to hang your hat on!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
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Limit of 3 per customer

Glenlivet 12 Year Old Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-28-2015
Glenlivet is removing the 12 year old from many major markets in favor of the new "Founder's Reserve", which has no age statement and a higher price. Get your Glenlivet 12 before it goes the way of the Dodo.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
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Ketel One Vodka (750ml)
Review Date: 04-28-2015
$20 is a hot price for the biggest brand name in all of vodka. Get it while the gettin's good.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
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Westland American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 04-24-2015
The great American single malt has finally arrived and it's being made in Seattle, Washington. Don't believe me? Get a bottle and see for yourselves. This is made on real Forsyth pot stills just like in Scotland, aged in bourbon and sherry casks, and brimming with Macallan-like flavor. It's still a bit young, but man is it going to get better.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
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El Dorado 12 year old Demerara Guyana Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 04-23-2015
A must-try-before-you-die spirit. One of the all-time greatest deals in all of spirits in general.
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart

El Dorado 15 Year Old Demerara Guyana Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 04-23-2015
The best rum on the planet for under $50. It's made mostly from DDL's old wooden pot still with more of that funky molasses note through the mid-palate. Love it. All day, every day.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

El Dorado 21 Year Old Demerara Guyana Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 04-23-2015
Made from older stocks of DDL rums before the big transition into one consolidated Guyanese distillery, this is the ultimate aged rum. Rich oak, pure cane flavor, a bit of funky molasses, and a spicy, robust finish. I can't believe it's still $99.99
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

Bulleit "Frontier" Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 04-20-2015
Four Roses makes this lovely little number for the boys at Bulleit. It's still a great bargain for a light, easy drinking, mixing bourbon.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
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Glenmorangie "Lasanta" 12 Year Old Extra Matured Range Sherry Cask Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-20-2015
This is the original 10 and 2 whisky--10 years in bourbon casks, with 2 years finishing in sweet sherry wood. Glendronach, Balvenie, and Aberlour all do it down, but Glenmorangie did it first and they're still the best at it. Lovely spice cake and dark toffee notes round out the finish.
Price: $47.99 Add To Cart
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Basil Hayden's Kentucky Bourbon (750ml)
Review Date: 04-20-2015
The best and the most classic of the Beam bourbon portfolio. Big oak flavor, smooth and rich on the palate, and a finish that brings baking spices and vanilla goodness. YUM!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
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Bulleit 10 Year Old Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 04-20-2015
Bulleit 10 offers big spice and rounded oak flavors to bourbon fans looking for polished and balanced nuance rather than power and high proof. Good stuff.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
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Bulleit "95 Rye" Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 04-20-2015
Of all the LDI-distilled bargain ryes on the market, the Bulleit has reigned supreme due to its low price and high quality of flavor. It's hard to justify buying more Templeton when Bulleit is the same stuff for almost 10 dollars less.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
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Auchentoshan 18 Year Old Lowland Single Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-19-2015
I LOVE this whisky. This is my new Glenmorangie 18. A classic sweet barley and vanilla flavor, but with extra viscosity and more weight on the palate. It's thick and chewy. You can almost bite into it. The Glasgow distillery is becoming relevant once again. Watch out other distilleries!
Price: $119.99 Add To Cart
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Springbank 15 Year Old Distillery Bottling Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-19-2015
All the great richness and weight of the 10 with more sherry and more spice cake. A true classic.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
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Springbank 10 Year Old Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 04-19-2015
Does it get any better than Springbank 10? I don't know. It's still my favorite whisky all these years later. There's nothing out there that combines the peat, richness, and oily nature of the Springbank spirits. There's also no other distillery that still does every step of the process from scratch.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
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