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Staff Favorites - Rachel Alcarraz

Rachel Alcarraz
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Reviews

Laurent-Perrier "Cuvée Rosé" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
Laurent Perrier has been one of my favorite Grand Marquee producers since I had the pleasure of writing about their La Cuvee when it first appeared on the scene. Their rose is impressive with a combination of vineyards all given Grand Cru status. The 100% Pinot Noir is more feminine with lovely notes of sweet summer berries that bounce along a richly texture palate.

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
One of the best priced Grand Marque Champagnes we have on the shelf, especially when taking account the quality of the wine. More than one third of the wine is barrel fermented and more than one third is reserve wine aged for a minimum of 10 years in magnums before blending creating possibly one of the most complex champagnes I have tasted yet. Some cracker or fresh brioche aromas mixed with fresh yellow apples draw you into a textured yet lively palate that doesn't stand still!

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
There is a reason the Billecart Salmon rose is one of the top selling rose's in the store. The darker pink color comes from the Premier Cru Pinot Noir grapes that also impart the wonderful aromas and flavors of sweet cherry and strawberry. A polished style champagne with a long finish filled with summer berries!

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Réserve" Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
One of the great things about Grande Marque Champagnes is the consistency of house style. You know that the Billecart Salmon Brut you are opening tonight will have the same fresh and focused character you remember from before. Billecart has had a long, cold fermentation practice since the late 1950's aiding in their bright and lively personality. Over two years on the lees gives some texture to the tart apple and dry stone finish.

2011 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
The first aromas of the wine brought me back to my childhood eating apples with cinnamon. While many people snub their nose at the 2011 vintage, the Egrot finds its beauty. The round, fullness of the wine shows on the fruity driven mid palate. Notes of yellow and red apples steer you into spicy undertones.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
Based on the impeccable 2008 vintage with reserves of 2006 and 2007 as well, the Egrot has a pretty weighted mid palate with a richness of toasted brioche and cinnamon. Like their extra brut, all notes about this wine will say it is aged for 3 years on the lees (already twice the legal minimum), but it is usually much more- sometimes up to 8! The textural palate is still focused with a long, mineral driven finish which to me, shows the power of the 2008 vintage.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
While this wine is wonderfully lean and dry, my first thought on the aromas was cinnamon toast. This is the result of the extended lees aging. Although it is noted the wine is aged for three years on the lees (already double the minimum) it is normally much more (sometimes as much as 8 years!). The lower sugar level on the dosage allows for the fruit to show its pure cherry beauty while the lovely textured and concentrated toasted qualities add depth before reaching the long balanced finish.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Michel Arnould "Réserve" Grand Cru Brut Verzenay Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
One of the longest running Direct Import champagnes at K&L is Michel Arnould. Their reserve is a beautifully composed, rich style champagne that is bold with toasted brioche matched by a beautiful, lengthy, citrus driven acidity. The ripeness of Pinot Noir comes from the Northern facing hills of Verzenay and is balanced with just 25% Chardonnay. A round, textural palate with a long lasting finish.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
With twice as much aging on the lees then required, the Grand Reserve has a rich toasted nose with scents of brioche and broad inviting earthiness. Mostly Meunier brings soft elegance and fineness along side deep fruit characters by adding depth and complexity to the wine. A bit of red apple fruit and fresh sweet citrus carry the warm palate from start to finish.

Nicolas Maillart "Platine" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-30-2019
The deepest, toastiest wine in the Maillart lineup. This rich Champagne is not without its complexities of dry, chalky minerality, delicate florals, Meyer lemon (like its counterparts) and wonderful acidity. Each sip makes you feel like freshly baked bread just came out of the oven. It is textural, deep, and filled to the brim with lovely brioche notes. I'd pair a bottle of this wine with a roasted chicken, creamy tortellini, or roasted mushrooms any day of the week!

Nicolas Maillart Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 01-30-2019
Imagine taking a big whiff of a freshly baked raspberry tart on a summer's day and when it cools down, adding fresh whipped cream to take a big bite. The bite is creamy and toasty with loads of baking spices from the crust and cream. The raspberries are sweet but tart in the middle, making all the flavors pop. That is how I experienced my first sip of the Maillart rosé. A rich, creamy, spice filled nose and palate is heightened by tart red summer berry flavors. Brambly, but rich with hints of orange zest and classic chalky minerality.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 10-10-2018
I have special memories of the Roederer Brut Champagne. Two years ago on New Years Eve, my friends and I opened a Jeroboam of this lovely wine. We enjoyed the bottle during our flavorful dinner and poured the final glasses out of the bottle just in time to ring in 2017. The richer, toasted brioche character went well with our winter dinner menu but it is also well balanced enough to easily drink on its own.

2012 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-09-2018
If I could think of a perfect textbook definition of Champange, I think this 2012 Roederer would be it. All vintages Roederer wines come from vineyards own by the estate since the 1770's. The original property in Verzenay makes the Pinot Noir that dominates this vintage Grand Marque. It is classic in every way- toasted brioche fills the nose and mimics on the palate while the long, focused acidity keeps it lively and defined.

Fallet-Dart "Clos du Mont" Brut Champagne (2004)
Review Date: 05-08-2018
In my review for the last bottling of the Clos du Mont, I mentioned that it was emailed before I was able to try it. A customer came to ask me questions about the wine and when I read the description Gary had written I fell in love with it before even trying. The last bottle was based on two great vintages, 1999 and 2002, this time is solely 2004. A fantastic vintage that was characterized by the dry winter and spring that brought ripeness and concentration to the grapes. The high amount of chardonnay has kept this wine vibrant, fresh and long on the finish. The barrel fermentation gives the wine it's spice and complexity while the outstanding 13 years on the lees gives nuance and texture you can't imagine. The nose is filled with limestone and each time I try this wine I am blown away by its subtle characters of this unique wine.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2015 Arnaldo Caprai Montefalco Rosso
Review Date: 05-01-2018
Montefalco Rosso's are often described as less austere and more approachable than the well known Montefalco Sagrantino. This is mostly due to the fact that the Rosso's are only required to have 10-15% of the thick skinned, high tannin and powerful grape, Sagrantino, but has 60-70% Sangiovese and in the case of the Caprai a bit of Merlot. So yes, it is much more approachable with a juicy mid palate, high tannins, ​but is by no means light or non-expressive. A nuanced and spicy nose with deep purple and red fruits compliments the lingering flavors on the palate and the high, long lived acidity that creates a dynamic and lasting finish.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Reserve" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 02-06-2018
There are many delicious Champagnes at $49, but there are very few in magnum at $49! Baron Fuente ages their magnum over a year longer than their 750s--which are aged twice as long as required--so you are getting a solid 4+ years of lees contact in the bottling. It has the same great richness and toasted brioche that we love from the 750, but being a larger format, that oxygen aging has been delayed. This brings a beautiful freshness and longevity to the wine and really makes the magnums ready for aging!

Gilbert Jacquesson "Cuvée Eugénie" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
As I mentioned in my review for the Jacquesson Blanc de Noir, one of my one of my favorite things about Meunier-dominant Champagnes is the depth, fullness and polish it adds to a wine (and there are a lot of things I LOVE about Meunier-dominant Champagnes!). This rosé is 100% estate-grown Meunier that is specifically pressed for rosé with skin contact for flavor and color. Abundant aromas of white and red cherries, fresh raspberries and flowers are repeated on the palate with elegant balance in this medium-bodied wine. The finish of the wine is unexpectedly flavorful and never-ending.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2007 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 02-06-2018
All of LP's vintage Champagnes are 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir and always all Grand Cru fruit. 2007 had a lot of Champagne houses pacing with an extremely warm spring and early bud break, but luckily enough, the season was frost free! Early harvest kept the grapes nice and acidic while having a creamy suppleness on the nose. A chalky base to the wine adds contrast to the softness on palate and touch of savory earth for dynamics brings this wine up another notch.
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart

Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Champagne Magnum (1.5L)
Review Date: 02-06-2018
Literally 10 minutes after trying the Billecart Salmon BdB from 750, I purchased one of the magnums we have in store. I was blown away with this wine, as I've often skipped over the any of the Billecart Salmon Champagnes that weren't their Brut Rose, thinking they were a one trick pony. However, this Blanc de Blanc really stood out to me. ​A richer style for the house, this 100% Chardonnay goes through partial malolactic fermentation to bring a creamy citrus character, almost like lemon meringue pie (just without the nutty, pastry aspect you may find in oaked Blanc de Blanc as this doesn't see any oak). A balanced acidity keeps the wine elegant and active from start to finish. I decided to purchase the magnum since the vintage blend is often a few years older than that of the 750 and currently the base vintage is 2008! Grab them before the staff buys them up!

Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
I've often skipped over the any of the Billecart Salmon Champagnes that weren't their Brut Rose, thinking they were a one trick pony. Today I was proven wrong. We tried five of their bottlings that we carry in store and each one was elegant and complex in its own right. However, this Blanc de Blanc really stood out to me. ​A richer style for the house, this 100% Chardonnay goes through partial malolactic fermentation to bring a creamy citrus character, almost like lemon meringue pie (just without the nutty, pastry aspect you may find in oaked Blanc de Blanc as this doesn't see any oak). That richness is elegantly balanced with long lived acidity that keeps each sip active on the palate. An undertone of chalky minerality from the Grand Cru soils adds just the right amount of depth needed to complete the wine. 10 minutes after tasting, I bought myself the magnum!

Piùcinque Gin 750ml
Review Date: 01-09-2018
What intrigued me most about this Italian gin is the elegance and soft sense of presence it has from nose to palate. This not due to lack of flavor by any means! The gin is boosting with Italian botanicals- 10 in total, that create a unique and unmatched flavorful gin, but it is not overwhelming in its presence. It is clean, clear and comforting in it's perfect approachability. The use of bergamot gives you the freshness of lemon but the sweetness of orange while the addition of sage gives a slight savory herbal note. A wonderful gin to sip on it's own, mix with tonic, or create a wonderfully aromatic cocktail!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Gilbert Jacquesson "Cuvée Tradition" Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-05-2017
One of my favorite things about Meunier dominant Champanges is the depth, fullness and polish it adds to a wine. This brut from a new, all estate grown producer is 100% Meunier and brings that alluring full body character to the glass while inviting us into a complex, expansive and elegant experience with lots of fruit, spice and a touch of fresh earth. Another great Champagne to add to your collection!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

Canard-Duchêne Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-06-2017
One of my favorite characteristics of great rosé Champagne is the complementing flavors of sweet red berries and minerality. The Canard-Duchene Rosé beautifully encompasses those classic qualities with a mixture of fresh strawberries and raspberries intertwined with limestone structure while keeping its personality with texture and floral character. Absolutely delicious.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "La Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2017
Sometimes change it difficult, sometimes it is good, very good. The change we see from Laurent Perrier as their Brut label moves into their La Cuvee comes from the addition of Cote de Blanc vineyard sites to their already impressive holdings. The Cote de Blanc, located in the Marne, is known for growing almost exclusively Chardonnay and doing it well (as seen by the 6 Grand Cru villages!) With many options at their fingertips, LP decided to create the La Cuvee as their new entry level label with more, higher quality Chardonnay than the Brut and an extra six months on the lees to keep the texture we know and love. Elegant aromas of yellow apple and baking spice mirror that of the Brut while notes of sweet meyer lemon and hints of anise show this new label's complex nature. The grace and softness of palate from both the lees aging and blend of Pinot Noir and Muenier is not lost from the additional Chardonnay but a soft acidity lifts it slightly while carrying the wine to a long, delicate finish. And as always, Laurent Perrier is bringing all this at an incredible price!
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Grande Sélection" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-13-2017
As my colleagues have said- this wine is all about the lees. 7 years give this wine an elegance of weight down the mid palate while the Pinot Noir dominance gives a tart fruit character. That small addition of high quality chardonnay brings bright meyer lemon flavor and enough acidity to keep the wine long lived on the palate. I can see this wine being extremely food friendly- a grilled swordfish or a baked chicken would be perfect pairings!
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Cuvée de Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-10-2017
Most often Pinot Meunier is the backup dancer to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Champagne, but Fallet-Dart has taken the chance to bring it center stage in their Grand Reserve! I fell for PM-heavy Champagnes last year when I had one from Michel Loriot, and they continue to stun me with their suppleness, bold aromatics and concentration while still being fresh, long lived, and elegant. The Grand Reserve checks off all those desired characters and is extremely food-friendly. My fiance and I enjoyed this with a rotisserie chicken, fresh bread and cheese—absolutely delicious! It is weighted enough to stand up to the rich meal while the unanticipated acidity refreshes the palate. With that said, I think the wine is extremely versatile and could be paired with lighter dishes such as sautéed white fish with a white bean and tomato salad or even a grilled chicken salad. Either way, I will be drinking it again soon!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Mas Codina Brut Rosé Cava Penedes
Review Date: 06-09-2017
How many hand picked, hand riddled sparkling wines can you find for $12.99? Not many I think! We have all been lucky enough to enjoy the Mas Codina brut for the past few seasons and now we can enjoy the rose! Being from the hot, dry region of Penedes, the Pinot Noir grapes are picked in early August to keep the sugar levels down and the acidity up to create a dry, fresh rose. The wine is filled with the classic Pinot Noir notes of fresh berries and ripe cherry with a dry, chalky backbone that makes the wine non-stop!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-14-2017
The Chardonnay dominant champagne has the perfect amount of Pinot Noir to give weight, texture and depth of fruit to the zesty acidity. It is aged on the cork for five years which adds a creamy complexity and a long, spiced filled finish.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart