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Staff Favorites - William Beare

William Beare
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Reviews

Bapt & Clem 5 Year Old "Foursquare Distillery" Barbados Rum Finished at Darroze in Late Harvest Jurancon Barrels (750ml)
Review Date: 02-08-2019
One of the most unique rums on our shelves-- this Foursquare selection from Bapt & Clem has been on my mind ever since my first sip a few days ago. It is an awesome contradiction of terms. The nose is all Juran├žon-- tropical notes of mango juice and slightly fermented pineapple, and initially I was worried about how sweet of a dram I was in for, but these are just the aromatics, and this rum can't wait to hit you with more. The youthful spirit retains energy and attitude-- balancing the tropical nose with a rich, earthy palate that finishes with an exotically oily texture and flashes of raw pink peppercorn (spice with a touch of tart red fruit).
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "Cuvée Rosé" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
I try to resist the big houses of champagne. I don't succeed very often. Products like this have me inevitably circling back. This is a phenomenal blend of sourced grapes from many different villages (though all grapes used are grand cru). 100% Pinot Noir, this champagne is like a fruit salad on a summers day. Refreshing and crisp, with heaps of strawberries, bing cherries and raspberries mid-palate and a drying finish.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
A wine shop's best friend-- the Billecart Salmon Rose consistently defends its title as one of the best-selling products (not just within champagne) in any wine store. It is composed of all premier cru grapes-- 40% Pinot Noir, 40 Chardonnay and 20 Pinot Meunier, but the pretty light red hue comes not from controlled skin contact with the red grapes, but rather by blending Pinot Noir fully vinified red with the rest of the blend that sees zero skin contact. This Pinot Noir comes exclusively from one very old plot, meaning that the overall production of this wine is strictly capped. The result is a wonderfully complex nose with some earth as well as very elegant red fruit.

2011 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
I love tasting so-called "off vintages" from producers so tuned in to their craft and to their vineyards that they are seemingly immune to these "off years." It confirms the soft voice in the back of my head that likes to doubt the major critics. "Trust your instincts and your palate," the voice says. And I encourage you to do the same. This is an awesome example of a more subdued champagne. Delicate fruit notes are teased out from a vintage that did not achieve high ripeness, the result is subtle cherry blossom and loquat fruit with a current of bright acid running underneath.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
The "brut" from Egrot could not be more different than the "extra brut," but for the fact that they are both very well-made champagnes. while the later sees long lees contact, the former is aged "sur lie" for even longer (over five years), expanding the toastiness and adding dark fruit character-- sweet cherry and black raspberry. A perfect party champagne-- this has clean and refreshing elements as well as a wonderful brioche richness that will suit any tastes.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
This is another producer whose pedigree for grape growing goes far beyond their own label. Egrot sells most of what they grow to larger producers, keeping a small amount for their own production. As is often the case in situations such as these (think Alexander Le Brun), the resulting wines are smashing values with true wine-making mastery behind them. The extra-brut is an excellent food-champagne. Dosed at two grams of sugar per liter, it is an honest-to-god extra brut-- no sweetness whatsoever, but a toasty richness from patient contact with the lees that rounds out the racey qualities. Loads of minerality. Begging for shellfish!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
Oh, how I love Bollinger. It's like an old friend that I don't see often enough, and every time we reconnect all these wonderful memories come rushing back. A champagne for the lovers of the toasty, rich bubbles-- packed with honeyed brioche, warm nuttiness (hazelnut and almond), and a long, refreshing finish. All of Bollinger's champagnes (regardless of format) are aged in magnum-- a pricey undertaking-- all in service of providing a truly luxurious drinking experience. As our champagne buyer is fond of saying-- this is "crazy craft!" 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay & 15% Pinot Meunier.

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Réserve" Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
A powerful champagne from a powerhouse producer! The Brut Reserve is incredibly consistent-- which makes a lot of sense given that they commit to using as much reserve wine as necessary (at times up to 50%) to create a steadily delicious product. It has incredible structure, a gorgeous nose of rich honey and fragrant white flowers, and a soft, elegant finish.

Michel Arnould "Réserve" Grand Cru Brut Verzenay Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
Pinot Noir grown on slopes that don't face south? How could it be? Maybe because an ancient meteor crashed into the hillside years ago, forever changing the soil composition to create ideal growing conditions. Probably because of a strange warm air current that winds around Arnould's slope and breathes life back in to fragile vines of Pinot Noir. The result is a very delicate blanc de noirs that doesn't feel as muscular as others, but still has all the elements that I love from red grape champagne. It retains brightness, while having wonderfully concentrated fruit and a rich nuttiness, and a core of strong acid that make it a great contender for a NV to put away for a bit of time.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
Another absolutely smashing value from Baron Fuente- the undisputed king of the K&L direct import program. This champagne sees a full seven years on the lees- he honest and true way to obtain that ultra-classy texture most champagne drinkers associate with a very high price tag. The nose is wonderfully toasty, and reminds me of baked apple pastry in whole wheat pie crust. There is a soft beaded minerality to the finish, clean and creamy crushed rock balance out that rich fruit and dough beautifully.

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
Enough good things simply cannot be said about Baron Fuente. I first took home a bottle not long after starting with K&L to experiment with champagne cocktails. It seemed an easy choice-- being the most affordable champagne on a price/quality scale. I found a small panel of friends compassionate enough to sit down and accept free booze, and we began by tasting the champagne on its own before mixing. Not much was accomplished in the way of mixology that night-- because we all sat, gob-smacked, discussing the sheer elegance and drinkability of this top value bubbly. Candy apples, golden delicious cider, and a touch of wild sour-cane fill the nose and palate. And if this is a deal-- the magnum offering (priced with no large-format premium) is an absolute steal, and the clear choice for your next large gathering.

Pierre Mineral Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-16-2018
This wine should be a go to for crowd-pleasing, over-performing party bubbles. It far surpasses it's friendly price-point, and is incredibly well-balanced between refreshment and richness. The bottle I took home went down disappointingly quickly-- so maybe keep an extra bottle on hand! Acid is well controlled, there is bright lemon meringue and white peach on the palate, while the nose is filled with deliciously flowery aromatics.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 11-06-2018
A beautiful, textural, classic champagne for all audiences. Plenty of crisp refreshment, balanced by a rich, yeasty undercurrent from long, patient time spent aging on the lees. Organic and biodynamically farmed-- always good to see the big houses set precedent for such trends. Creamy and broad on the palate, with notes of lemon curd, and a pleasant mineral finish.

Laurent-Perrier "La Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-06-2018
Founded in 1812, the Laurent Perrier house has been a pioneer of the use of stainless steel in champagne production. For those who remember an era before the "La Cuvee" brand-- the differences in their entry-level release are subtle, but important. Six months was added to the lees time (for a glorious total of 42 months), in addition to moving the cepage towards Chardonnay (50 Chard, 30 Pinot Noir, and 20 Pinot Meunier). The final product has 9 grams per liter of residual sugar, and is phenomenally well-balanced, delightfully racy champagne. Traces of white peach, citrus blossoms, and sweet grapefruit peel.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

2012 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-12-2018
As much as I love an underdog, classics are classics for a reason. Roederer delivers so consistently, and this is not an exception to that well-earned reputation. This is a supple champagne, delectably creamy, full of honeyed-brioche, and an elegant, saline, earthy tone that brings it all together for a long, memorable finish. This is luxury champagne, at an exceptionally reasonable price.