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Staff Favorites - William Beare

William Beare
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Reviews

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Tom's Foolery Cask Strength Single Barrel #121 Ohio Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 02-25-2019
Lift up a glass, inhale deeply, and first enter the wood-shop. Cedar and sandalwood come tumbling out, chased away by candied sugar, puff pastry and apricot jam. Now we're in the kitchen, foraging for treats, and as the whiskey hits the palate-- said treats are found. Some bitter candied citrus, and a dark chocolatey semi-sweetness give the whole thing a tangy-mole vibe (would likely pair well with a mole chicken burrito). Finishes long, and leaves the mouth fully coated. This is a unique, well-crafted Bourbon that should not be missed.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Aberlour Casg Annamh "Batch #1" Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-25-2019
Such a great example of integrating different types of oak into one glorious whiskey. The sweetness of the Oloroso and the spicier, more savory elements from the American Oak marry well here. Sherry, candied nuts and winter spices on the nose, and on the palate lots of bracing wood kicks things into a higher gear. It certainly does not lack intensity, but has a gentle finish that brings you back in for more.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Laird's "Single Cask Selection" Barrel 14E15#1 Cask Strength Single Barrel Apple Brandy (750ml)
Review Date: 02-23-2019
Awesome single barrel selection! The arrival of these offerings from Laird was an unexpected surprise -- the classic Laird's is a constant bar staple for me, but I've never thought about what more might be out there. Well, now I have my answer, and consequently a recommendation to give: buy some. This was my favorite between the two, with a nose full of spicy clove, pepper, and baked apples and pears. There is a savory intensity, that of dried apple slices and sandalwood, both in the nose and palate. A very interesting and unique addition to a serious drinker's home collection. I would happily drink this straight, or in a simple, old-school cocktail.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Laird's "Single Cask Selection" Barrel 14E15#4 Cask Strength Single Barrel Apple Brandy (750ml)
Review Date: 02-23-2019
It's always amazing to me the stark differences between any two given single barrels. They are, for all intents and purposes, the same thing, aged in the same way, for the same amount of time in a space that might seem too small to have "micro climates" of any degree. But distilling is just as much sorcery as it is science, so I'll accept what I cannot fully understand and just get to drinking. The second barrel from Laird is higher-toned than #1, with a nose that shows a bit more of the alcohol, as well as some clean, cider aromatics. The palate though is richer, more viscous than #1, with less overall fruit and an awesomely dry finish that shows more wood influence than its companion.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1988 Cambus 29 Year Old "Sovereign" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-22-2019
What a bright and lively nose for such an old-timer. There is a ton of tangy fruit and a spun-sugar sweetness hiding in the wings that come out quite a bit more noticeably after your nose has had a moment to adjust. There is also a savory edge to these candied qualities -- for which we can thank long and patient aging in refilled barrels (minimizing the influence of foreign flavors and preserving the personality of this unique whisky). Even the color shows restraint-- a pale gold the shade of honey-syrup. It is incredibly smooth on the palate, showing big ripe orange, and dries to a beautiful finish with mild, warming spices.
Price: Hidden View Price

1990 Port Dundas 28 Year Old "Sovereign" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-18-2019
Coconut cream pie with candied grapefruit peel! Big coconut on the nose, and the rich, slightly bitter candied grapefruit coming front-palate. I'm quite instantly captivated-- and I think I've found my favorite of our impressive selection of aged single grains. Every bit as smooth as it's cohorts, this expression has far less savory and woody traits, instead serving as an ode to tropical fruit (this would be a perfect whiskey to drink on a South-American beach). The finish is harmonious-- tied together nicely with some notes of red rooibos tea.
Price: Hidden View Price

1987 Strathclyde 30 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-16-2019
Have you ever had a friend in your life that just made you feel good? Full of optimism and affirmation? I sincerely hope that you have, because we should all get to have that experience. However-- if you haven't-- I offer this 30 year Strathclyde as a surrogate for that feeling. It's just so damn-well balanced. The nose is rich and warming, showing some savory cedar, some spice, and baked orchard fruit. The palate is remarkably light for a thirty-year spirit, but any flavors that might initially seem too hot or intense are smoothed out notes of browned-butter oatmeal cookie dough, leaving you with a pleasant little fire in the belly. Smashing value for what you get!
Price: Hidden View Price

2014 Saint Jean du Barroux "l'Argile" Ventoux
Review Date: 02-15-2019
A seriously well-made wine if I've ever had one. This cuvee from Saint Jean du Barroux is awesome-- both highly enjoyable to drink and incredibly complex. It is a wine deeply connected to it's place of birth-- Mont Ventoux, and to the clay soils upon which the grapes were grown. The nose is full of mineral and earthy fruit-- the sort of clean, pure smell that comes to a forest with the first few rains of spring. The palate is restrained, fruit balanced by pepper and another big dose of clay minerality on the finish. This could easily stand up to the old-school big boys of the southern Rhone. Great value!
Price: Hidden View Price

1988 North British 30 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Grain Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 02-11-2019
Have you ever been sprayed in the face with citrus oil? Neither have I. But I imagine it's an experience that shares a decent amount in common with putting your nose into a glass of this whiskey. It smells as though someone rubbed a generous piece of orange skin all around the edges of the glass. That bittersweet citrus quality mingles really well with big cedar-y spice, and the combination makes me think of orange-glazed savory foods cooking over an open fire (and of certain famous Patagonian chefs, but that might just be me). The palate is clean and bright for a 30 year whiskey, there is real elegance to the lighter, more floral flavors that balance and justify the sweet backbone of honey syrup.
Price: Hidden View Price

Bapt & Clem 12 Year Old "Savanna Distillery" Réunion Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 02-08-2019
It's painful learning about this historic distillery and the many transcendent products they put out as I drink through my first and likely my last little sample of Savanna's inimitable talent. This is some magical rum-- more like a sugarcane-based bourbon than any rum I have ever tasted. It is by pure coincidence though that the island used to be called "Île Bourbon--" for its integral role in the early Vanilla trade (the island is a bit south of Madagascar). There is serious complexity on display here, and phenomenal integration of the natural sweetness of the spirit and the savory influences of the barrel. The marriage of exotic agricole rum and ex-cognac barrels creates a spirit that embodies a hot summer night-- energetic, wild, perfumed with richly grassy notes, sweet on the front with a wonderfully dry finish.
Price: Hidden View Price

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

2012 Michel Arnould "Memoire de Vignes" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
This is pretty incredible stuff-- regardless of vintage. So much so that many of my colleagues buy by the case months before they'll even have a chance to taste. Such was the case with the 2012-- and it would be an understatement to say that no one was disappointed when we finally got around to opening a bottle last week. There is a wonderfully concentrated frutines to this release, like dried apricot and honeysuckle nectar. The nose smells like a candy-store kitchen, caramelising sugars, bright green apple sours. Texturally magnificent, it embraces the palate like a fluffy cloud.
Price: $69.99 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.

2012 Franck Bonville "Pur Oger" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
These three single-village champagnes from Franck Bonville are such fabulous examples of how expressive terroir can be. The nose of the "Oger" takes me back to Grandma's lessons on peach cobbler. Crushed stone fruit and baking spices, citrus zest and sweet cream waft out in tantalizing fashion. This seems to be the richest of the three, but is not unbalanced in any way. This is a sultry champagne, it feels like it sashays across the palate before you quite have a chance to take it all in. There is a flash of grapefruit blossom on the finish.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart
RP 94 WE 93

2012 Franck Bonville "Pur Mesnil" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
These three single-village champagnes from Franck Bonville are such fabulous examples of how expressive terroir can be. The "Mesnil" is a very impressive and unique cuvee-- unsurprising given that Mesnil-sur-Oger is inarguably one of the greatest chardonnay growing regions in all of champagne. The nose on this one is more restrained, with a very clean freshness, like the crisp smell of a snowy alpine morning. Then the fruit explodes onto the palate, expanding out to every corner-- powerful and direct. This shares the same lightly saline qualities as the "Avize" but here it comes across a bit more spicy, creating an exhilarating and long-lasting finish.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart
WE 94 RP 93

2012 Franck Bonville "Pur Avize" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-08-2019
These three single-village champagnes from Franck Bonville are such fabulous examples of how expressive terroir can be. The "Avize" bottling is one of the most elegant champagnes I have ever tasted. The nose is pure floral aromatics-- inhaling deeply feels like awakening springtime. Six years aging on cork gives it a richness that belies the extra brut classification. Sweet brine, nectar, and flower petals on the front end, and a beautifully mineral-laden finish. You'll want to buy these three as a set, but I think the "Avize" might be my favorite in a close race of phenomenal wines for texture alone-- it is one of the most lusciously creamy champagnes I've had the pleasure of tasting.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart
WE 94 RP 92

Michel Arnould "Reserve" 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: $32.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2010 Caol Ila 8 Year Old "Old Particular" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 01-29-2019
This Caol Ila bottling from Douglas Laing is a fun and refreshing change of pace from what I've come to expect from Caol Ila-- namely, the monstrously peaty reputation that precedes it. The nose is full of savory vegetal characteristics that follow on to the palate-- bell pepper both green and yellow spring to mind, along with some spicy sweet notes that remind me of a pepper-jelly. Very light traces of pear and smoke mingle on the finish.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2016 Mas Karolina Côtes du Roussillon-Villages
Review Date: 01-25-2019
This is not a wine short on character! The Cotes du Roussillon AOC produces some spectacularly bold and spicy reds, and this 2016 release from Caroline Bonville (cousin of K&L champagne legend Olivier Bonville) does not break from this trend. The wine is aged for 12 months in barrels of varying sizes (3,4, and 500 liter), 15% new oak. Grapes are organically farmed and fertilized, on soils of red marl, granite, and schist. It's a big, layered wine with a good helping of vanilla and baking spice, great, earthy texture, and very silky tannin. Another great example of more modern wines coming out of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Long decant recommended.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut
Review Date: 01-12-2019
I refer to this champagne as "liquid silk." It is a texturally magnificent (and not to mention wildly unique) champagne, and the only of its kind that I have ever been able to get my hands on. And when it comes to champagne...I'm handsy. But even if you are not a hardcore collector of bubbles, this is not a bottle you want to miss. The nose is restrained and subtle, but take a moment to let it wash over you and you will be rewarded with vibrant waves of chalky mineral, tropical melon and tangerine. This wonderful panoply of flavors and smells carries through to the palate (joined by pineapple and papaya), earning the liquid silk nickname with an effortless mousse that slips across the tongue with cat-like grace. If you're quick enough to beat me to the punch-- I highly recommend stocking up.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine des Escaravailles "La Ponce" Rasteau
Review Date: 01-12-2019
One whiff and this wine clamors for your attention-- and deservedly so. Tapenade, pepper, and wild berry fruit tumble forth, with that fruit taking the lead onto the palate with a wonderful silky texture. Graphite and earth on the close, with some herbal qualities (sweet anise) that linger through the finish. Fantastically well-balanced for a sub $30 red!

2016 Guy Farge "Harmonie" Cornas
Review Date: 01-08-2019
The nose of this wine is powerful. Dark and brooding, like the cozy excitement of being inside during a crazy mountain storm-- wind whipping and branches scratching at the windows. This is a wine that sidles up to the drinker in seductive fashion, but it comes from a place of true wildness. That bewitching stranger at the bar you feel at once drawn to and wary of. On the front end, there is more bright fruit than the nose would suggest, lots of ripe tart cherry and blueberry, and there is some fantastic spice on the finish. I re-visited the '15 release recently for comparison-- the bacon fat and smoked meat elements from the previous vintage are extremely subtle (probably due to the perfect ripeness of the 2016 harvest disguising it), but will likely emerge more after a few years as the acid quiets. I am very excited to finish my first bottle with something rich and meaty, and even more excited to open the rest of them after a bit of time in the cellar.

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

2016 Chateau de L'Ou "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 12-10-2018
What a fabulous winter-weather cuddle-buddy! This is a great bottle of Syrah that plays to both sides of the aisle. Sophisticated, yet friendly and inviting. Concentrated, without being weighty or sluggish. Right out of the gate big, bold layers of warming black fruit and clove spice burst forth. The pepper and earth that linger through the finish, however, will keep the more old-world Syrah enthusiasts engaged. An all-around crowd-pleaser at a great price.

2015 Domaine de la Janasse Côtes-du-Rhône Reserve
Review Date: 12-07-2018
This is another absolutely smashing Rhone value! One of the most immediately engaging and pleasing Cotes-du-Rhones I have tried from the 2015 vintage (and if you've been drinking along with me-- you know this is saying A LOT). Right from the opening, this wine welcomes you with arms wide open. Creamy and silky-smooth on the palate, with an awesome bundle of sweet herbs on the finish. The fruit is dominated by fleshy, not-too-sweet strawberry (and a bit of tart cherry) with very light traces of that classic pepper. When that vibrant fruit and soft spice meet, it gives the impression of aerosolized strawberry-pepper preserve-- a beautiful mist you want to live and drink in forever. Grapes are all sourced from a single plot just East of Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
JD 92

2016 Château de L'Ou "Secret de Schistes" Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 12-04-2018
My original draft of this review was simply the word "wow" jotted down on a piece of paper surrounded by telltale wine stains. I thought it might be prudent to add more specificity, but I maintain that "wow" is a very apt reaction. This is some seriously tasty old-world Syrah with a bit of new-world flair. The name literally translates to "Shale's Secret," an homage to the mineral-laden terroir. Vines grown on shale (or "schist") must work long and hard to dig through layers of the metamorphic rock, providing the structure and elegance on display here. Dusty and spicy in the nose with traces of leather and dark chocolate. On the palate the wine has incredible dimension, and has a long finish full of fragrant pepper and earth.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 95 RP 91

2017 Domaine de la Bila Haut "Les Vignes de Bila Haut" Côtes du Roussillon Rouge
Review Date: 12-01-2018
The "Vignes de Bila Haut" comes to us from the Agly valley, grown on soils of gneiss and schist. Mainly Syrah and Grenache, and the remainder Carignane, grapes are hand-harvested, entirely de-stemmed, punched down, macerated 2-4 weeks and brought up in vats. Far more formidable than the price might suggest, this wine has serious dimension-- very velvety layers of dark fruit brightened by white pepper and herbs. A rich, medium-full body and a finish dominated by those herbal, more savory characters.

Kilchoman "Machir Bay" K&L Exclusive Vatting Batch #2 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-27-2018
It amazes me how such a slight edit to the cask influence can create such a different scotch!! I have long been a fan of the Machir Bay, and did not expect this exclusive bottling to have so much unique personality. The slight shift towards sherry influence in an otherwise bourbon-dominated finish brings so many exotic notes back to the table, while retaining the rich backbone of fruity & vanillin bourbon influence. Here the nutty, buttery texture shines much brighter, and the salty Islay sea-breeze wafts in to the picture. When I close my eyes I feel as though I'm in a Scottish barn with a peat fire burning outside. Still not for the faint of heart, this is a must-have for the serious peated whiskey aficionados who have come to share our love for Kilchoman. Slainte!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

2017 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "Domaine d'Albas" Coteaux de Peyriac Blanc
Review Date: 11-24-2018
What a fabulous blend! I was immediately curious to try this as the blend is atypical (though promising), and oh boy did it deliver! The blend is 45% Vermentino, 45% Viognier, and 10% Roussanne. The Vermentino gives the whole package a light, fresh and crisp demeanor, and definitely takes first chair. But the presence of Viognier is what most impresses me-- and what elevates this into more serious wine. It adds a spice and textural richness that is incredibly well-integrated (Viognier can be a tricky collaborator). The Roussanne brings up the rear bringing creamy qualities that tone down the acidity. A multi-faceted wine at a stunning value.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$9.99

Savage & Cooke "Second Glance" K&L Exclusive Cask Strength American Whiskey
Review Date: 11-23-2018
​The nose on this whiskey is absolutely intoxicating, rich, sweet elements from the Zinfandel, light fruity and aromatic notes from the Grenache, and a zesty, vibrant core to keep things bright and in harmony. On the palate-- the first bundle of flavor lands with a shot of smokiness and a viscous texture, that then bursts open with sweet cream accents and a silky finish. This is high energy stuff, lively and fun. This is however a cask-strength expression, so a dash of water greatly aides the accessibility.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Ground Breaker Brewing (Gluten Free) "IPA No. 5" Dry Hopped IPA, Oregon (16oz) cans
Review Date: 11-19-2018
​I was excited to try this new truly gluten free addition to the beer lineup, but I had my doubts. It's a difficult (and expensive) proposition to create such a product, which is why the category is largely underserved. On top of that, several beers geared towards the gluten free crowd offer "gluten removed--" which is different than truly gluten free, and leaves the Celiac afflicted still at risk for exposure to the gluten molecule. The Ground Breaker line is crafted in a dedicated gluten free facility with a creative mix of substitutions, and oh boy does it deliver! Rich copper color, pleasant malt sweetness that doesn't overpower the dry, light-hopped finish. A full bodied IPA that offers a genuine beer experience for the strictly gluten free.
Price: $4.49 Add To Cart

McKenzie Bottled-in-Bond Wheated Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 11-18-2018
"Why don't I drink more wheated Bourbon?" I ask myself, as I sit gleefully tasting this delicious spirit. The answer is complicated by brands like Pappy lending an unreasonable premium on anything in the category, but it does mean that talented distillers are doing fascinating things in the wheated style. The absence of rye in the mash leaves the corn a lot more room to shine through. Aromas of ground and roasted maize come tumbling forth, softened by creamy, almost butter-scotch like tones-- like moist cornbread and honey butter. The higher proof is perfect here-- it keeps the sweetness from overwhelming the panoply of complex cereal flavors.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2010 Domaine de la Jaufrette Vacqueyras
Review Date: 11-18-2018
Far and away one of my favorite Vacqueyras offerings in the store right now, the 2010 Jaufrette is a stand out wine. It certainly doesn't hurt that the vintage was fabulous across the board for France, but the attention to detail here is not to be overlooked. This is a very mineral and terroir-driven Vacqueyras. The nose is filled with roasted herbs and light calfskin leather, showing all the rustic qualities expected from a region so heavily affected by the famous Mistral (the strong Mediterranean winds that blow through the Rhone valley). The finish is long, with bramble, pepper, and light touches of ripe raspberry. Wonderful now, but given the longevity of the vintage and the amount this wine opened up over 24 hours, I would be very interested to revisit a few years down the line.
Price: Hidden View Price

1997 Hector Macbeth (Glenfiddich) 21 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Blended Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-18-2018
Smells like it rained scotch all over my mom's nice flower patch. Read-- delicious! The nose on this beauty is packed with soft flowers, sweet, wet earth. I'm reminded of the rich smell of a garden nursery-- soft leathery smells marrying flower petal and earth aromas. On the palate, this is a creamy delight, with notes of soft caramel candy and saltwater taffy.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

1997 Macduff 21 Year Old "Hepburn's Choice" K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 11-18-2018
The nose on this single malt is a new experience for me-- the familiar layers of sherry are bulked up by malty, sweet wood spice and loads of raw honey. Familiar flavors swap with exotic ones, and then back again. On the palate, it is a robustly smooth scotch, with controlled spiciness, mouth coating waxiness, with some elegant savory notes that show up late to the party-- but stick around for a long, obsession-inducing finish.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine la Garrigue "Cuvée Romaine" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 11-13-2018
I first tasted this awesome little Rhone moments after the bottle was opened, and was immediately impressed. Over the following hour, it only gained more depth and character. The nose is an intensely herbal experience, brambley, with notes of black tea and wild mountain fruit. I smell breeze wafting through a dew-covered Southern Rhone countryside-- wet earth, fragrant sage and lavender. The finish is long and pleasing, with silky, well-integrated tannin. This is an absolute stunner for under 15, and a far more serious wine than your average entry-level Rhone blend.
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
JD 93 RP 90

2014 Château Bouscassé Madiran
Review Date: 11-11-2018
This tannat-driven wine goes on for days. It has all the tanic intensity typical of a Madiran, but softened and balanced in this case by the presence of both varieties of Cabernet (20% apiece). The nose is dominated by dry earth, intoxicating and reminiscent of leather and old books. On the palate, considerable fruit lies waiting to reward the adventurous drinker who picks up a bottle-- rich plum and blackberry with a hit of coffee grounds on the finish. It has me wanting sweet glazed short ribs.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

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.

1997 L'Encantada 20 Year Old "Bellair #36" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 11-06-2018
Tasting l'Encantada Armagnac is always like a mini vacation for me. These spirits are so uniquely terroir driven and personality laden that each one takes you on a journey through the Gascony countryside. The Bellair '97 is an immediately friendly, warming presence-- the ABV hides subtly in a foundation of dank cedar aromatics. This quickly gives way to layers of waxy honey, candied orange peel, and almond. An Armagnac for those who like to stray away from the dessert-substitutes that often dominate Cognac and Armagnac selections. This is a bracing, fire-in-the-belly, sparring-partner of a digestive spirit with a deep, rich color that puts any artificially colored spirits to appropriate shame.
Price: Hidden View Price

1987 L'Encantada 30 Year Old "Del Cassou #14" Bas-Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 11-06-2018
What a classic Armagnac!! And I'm still just smelling it. Nose of graham cracker pie crust, toasty, with malted honey and golden-delicious apple. Okay. I've tasted it now. Spoiler alert-- it holds up. The three decades of age are really showing on this beauty-- creating a more viscous texture that coats the mouth in a warm blanket of complex flavor. The first half of the experience is ultimate luxury, waves of soft, almost maple-ey caramelized sugar, but it shifts about mid-way through on the palate to pleasantly bitter apple skins and the rustic woodiness of the Gascony Oak casks used. This Armagnac would very much like to make friends with your finest cigar.
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2015 Domaine L'Ostal "Grand Vin" Minervois La Livinière
Review Date: 11-06-2018
This is a wonderfully bold Minervois-- the Syrah certainly steals the show with big doses of pepper, dark, richly tart fruit and mild hints of candied orange (blossom aromatics with a hint of bitter peel on the finish). The rest of the blend is Grenache, with Carignane and Mourvedre bringing up the rear. Tanins are strong but smooth, lasting well through the finish. A textural Languedoc blend that stand out from the pack. Try with pot roast and hearty root vegetables!
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WS 91

1990 L'Encantada 27 Year Old "Domaine le Parre #18" Tenarèze Armagnac (750ml)
Review Date: 11-05-2018
It breaks my heart to review something this delicious with the knowledge hanging over my head that each sip taken further depletes stores that will never again be replenished. The Parre estate saw its last distillation in 1995 (this offering is from 5 years previous), from vineyards that were made up of Baco and Ugni Blanc. The resulting 27 year old Armagnac is pure aromatic pleasure, from the nose all the way to the last lingering notes on the tongue. Fruity and spicy, it begins with a soft nose of citrus blossoms and a rich caramel that carries into the palate, joined by savory baking spices (cardamom and nutmeg). A gorgeous and delicate offering sure to impress you and any guests that might be lucky enough to share in it with you. At a steal of a price!
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2016 Mas de Sainte Croix "Douceur de Fruit" Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 10-14-2018
60% Grenache, 20% Cinsault, 20% Carignane. The 2016 "Douceur de Fruit" is a beautifully light, delicate and aromatic offering. "Douceur" in french translates to "sweetness" or "pleasantness" and it certainly offers that in spades-- the wine is pure fruit, notes of strawberry, raspberry and hibiscus. It is a refreshing change of pace to have a Rhone blend that omits Syrah. Don't get me wrong-- I absolutely love Syrah, but it's peppery, vanilla qualities can overwhelm more floral grapes such as Cinsault. Excellent value, perfect as a cocktail wine or with light appetizers.
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

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$9.99

2009 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Dilection" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-12-2018
A rose champagne with zero dosage? Sign me up. The total lack of added sugar in the "Dilection" lets the richness of the fruit shine without sacrificing a dry pointedness. This wine is focused, with beautiful strawberry-rhubarb quality on the palate, well-balanced by softer, savory tones, perhaps due to the use of french oak for the entire fermentation.
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2007 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Fascination" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 10-12-2018
If, like me, you are big fan of Bollinger, this should be on your short list. In fact, this should just be on your short list. No qualifier. It's just that good. It's nutty, creamy, yeasty, and has a seductively savory edge to the nose (almost like a fine cheese). This is small-production, lovingly produced vintage champagne that stands up in every way to the big name brands. Oh how I'd love to find a bottle of this in my stocking this holiday season.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Solemme "Nature de Solemme" Blanc de Blancs 1er Cru Brut Nature Champagne
Review Date: 10-12-2018
Fans of dryer than dry champagne, rejoice, for the "Nature de Solemme" is here. This wine undergoes no malolactic fermentation, and as a result is a totally fruit and terroir-driven wine-- tropical aromatics, high acid, zippy, and begging for oysters or seared scallops. Another beautifully elegant wine from this new addition to the K&L lineup.
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