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Staff Favorites - Lauren Seward

Lauren Seward

Reviews

2016 Chateau de Vaudieu "Val de Dieu" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 08-01-2020
The Val de Dieu ("Valley of God") is an extremely elegant, richly-styled CDP from one of the greatest southern Rhone vintages of all time. It is dark cherry red in color with a scarlett rim, and impossibly thick in color. Aromas of cigar smoke, graphite, garrigue, and vanilla bean are luscious and generous, and prepare the palate for notes of red and dark berries, baking spices, additional garrigue, and sweetened fruit. A quick burst of acidity greets you early on the palate, then the wine mellows and finishes quickly. While this is lovely to drink right now, it could only do better with a few more years of age.

2012 Jean-Jacques Lamoureux "Alexandrine" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 07-28-2020
This is not a Champagne for the faint of heart. It is bold in bead, expressive in acidity, and remarkable in its long finish. Hailing from the hills of Aube in the south of Champagne (an area renowned for growing Chardonnay and for a geological resemblance to Chablis), it is pale straw in color and consists 100% of Chardonnay. The aromatic profile is elegant and classic with notes of slate/minerals, fresh bread (without being "yeasty"), lemon zest, and freshly fallen rain. The mouthfeel is FULL with massive bubbles/bead, and prepares the palate for notes of yellow apple, more lemon zest, and a hint of a lemon/lime soda spritz. At $39.99 this is a stellar cost-for-quality Champagne and is a worthy contender for your go-to "next level" Champagne without breaking the bank.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2017 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 07-20-2020
Another high value stunner from Chateau de Montfaucon - a favored Rhone producer among staff. 2017 was a particularly difficult vintage for Grenache in the southern Rhone that resulted in low yields and inconsistent quality, but you wouldn't know it when tasting this Grenache-forward CDR (50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Carignan, 10% Cinsault, and 5% Counoise). I was drawn into its fruit-tastic aromatic blend of stewed strawberries (a hint to grenache-forward wines), super ripe plum, light minerality, and hint of something hearty, like a barbecued portobello mushroom. Upon first sip the taste profile is equally as fruit-forward as the bouquet, but herbaceous notes of mint, pine, and lavender emerge as the sip evolves. Overall it is a delicate but expressive red that I would consider to be appropriate for most palates. The wine's easy finish and light acidity make it particularly suitable for casual wine-drinking settings, as well as among lighter fare or appetizers on the dinner table. A must-buy for those looking for casual and affordable reds!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2018 First Drop "Mother's Milk" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 07-13-2020
Not an Australian Shiraz fan? Have no fear! This isn't the punch-in-the-face kind of Shiraz that can often be found in southern Australian. The beautifully textured 2018 "Mother's Milk" Barossa Valley Shiraz from First Drop is exponentially more silky smooth than you'd expect, and goes down easy from first sip to the very end of its finish. It is both juicy and syrupy at the same time, with a stunning aroma profile of cooked meat, rich plum, clove, and very ripe blackberries. Its textured palate is well-rounded with notes of blue and black fruit, but isn't inherently fruit-forward. A mouthwatering acidity perfectly balances out the richer notes and fuller mouthfeel, encouraging you to partake in a second glass... and maybe a third.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2019 L'Aigle À Deux Têtes Trousseau Côtes du Jura Rouge
Review Date: 06-21-2020
I haven't had any Trousseaus that make me stop in my tracks quite like this one did. Its stunning bouquet walks the line between rich & earthy and bright & fruity. Upon first sniff, an alluring blend of blood orange, clove & nutmeg, toasted orange rind, cola, and stewed cherries is so prepossessing that I am almost encouraged to keep sniffing and skip the tasting step altogether. However a flavor profile of cola spice, blackberry jam, plum, and Juicy Fruit brand gum makes me happy I continued. I hadn't considered chilling the wine until reading Keith's review, but I agree that this would be a lovely red to chill for the warmer months. It will hold up well to dinner tables, but can also be enjoyed on its own due to its light body and almost-effervescent acidity.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine de l'Aigle À Deux Têtes "Les Clous" Savagnin-Naturé Côtes du Jura Blanc
Review Date: 06-21-2020
This is a beautiful example of how elegant and intelligent the Savagnin grape can be when properly tended to. It has a creamy, rich nose that is almost akin to an aged Champagne. While it is barrel-fermented and rich in aromas, the wine is also home to a beautiful acidity and boasts alluring flavors of bright citrus, tropical fruit, and toasted almonds. It has a salty minerality that leaves your palate wanting more. As with most natural white wines from the Jura region there is a little funk in the wine, but in a good/interesting way that really diversifies this bottling from the rest. Overall this is a super refreshing, acidity-driven white that would pair fabulously with lighter fare or fatty appetizers.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine de l'Aigle À Deux Têtes "Les Clous" Poulsard Côtes du Jura Rouge
Review Date: 06-16-2020
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Red-fruited and herbacious aromas galore! This 2018 Poulsard from the ever-loved Les Clous vineyard in Jura is a generous light-bodied red. This is one of those wines that keeps on giving, glass after glass. While light in body and color, it is super full in flavor. Bright fruit notes like tart strawberry and ripe cherry jump out at first sip, while a sparkling minerality and the faintest hint of earthy mushrooms really elevate the wine. It is bursting with an agreeable acidity that I believe will strongly aid in the wine's aging potential.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2016 Seresin "Leah" Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 06-13-2020
A beautiful, modernly-styled Pinot that is deserving of a spot on your dinner table. Spicy fruit, blackberry, warm earth, and rich plum aromas pave the way for a harmonious flavor combination of blue and red fruit, baking spices, and the tiniest hint of oak. The all-organic fruit is an incredible expression of Marlborough Pinot.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

Canard-Duchêne Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-19-2020
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A toasty, fuller-bodied Champagne with a zingy acidity and well-rounded palate. The Canard-Duchene Brut is super concentrated in lemon zest and brioche flavors, and impresses with a salty minerality and generous stone fruit finish. This is a stunning bubbler that will impress those with a penchant for quality Champagne. This would be an incredible dinner pairing and would just sing if enjoyed alongside a spread of cheeses.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2017 Mount Langi Ghiran "Cliff Edge" Shiraz Grampains
Review Date: 03-23-2020
A stunning, fleshy Shiraz with such an expressive bouquet! Aromas range from bright and awake (raspberries, blackberries, lilac, snappy black pepper) to dark and broody (cigar smoke, dust, wet earth, stewed dark fruit). There is some presence of oak that really rounds it out. The full mouthfeel is rich of similar flavors as its aromas, and is witness to a sparkling acidity that gives it a youthful kick. We opened this about 45 minutes prior to drinking, and thought it had opened up well in that time. Great to the last drop!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Broken Shed New Zealand Whey Vodka (750ml)
Review Date: 03-02-2020
I sampled this at a recent tasting in our store and was really delighted! In general I am not a fan of sipping spirits, but I found this vodka to have enough body and smoothness that it was quite enjoyable on its own. There was very little burn, and it didn't even need to be chilled to go down smoothly. This would be a great base for a vodka martini.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine de Verquière Côtes-du-Rhône
Review Date: 02-25-2020
The new vintage is in! Domaine de Verquiere is one of the most consistent value producers we sell at K&L, and the latest vintage of their Cotes du Rhone is another great example of their attention to quality without sacrificing affordability. Estate-grown organic fruit (80% Grenache and 20% Syrah, the same make up of the 2017 vintage) comes together harmoniously in this aromatic CDR, showing aromatic notes of red fruit, wet rock, stewed strawberries, and rosehip oil. On the silky smooth palate I notice wild strawberries, a light minerality, wet earth (classic to the region) and a subtle hint of mint. There is a particularly interesting/flinty kick in the wine's acidity that really wakes up the palate and lengthens the wine's finish.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine Giraud "Tradition" Châteauneuf-du-Pape
Review Date: 02-25-2020
Another lovely addition to our CDP offerings. This Grenache-heavy GSM is full-bodied, super velvety, and has a seductive aroma of black cherries, washed stone, cool mint, anise, and candied plums. There is a noticable oak presence, without it taking over the flavor profile. Notes of licorice, dark fruit, and wet rock flavors swirl about as the wine opens up - I suggest a short decant of about half an hour for it to reach its peak.

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-18-2020
Baron-Fuente does it again! This wine took an insanely long time to make, and deserves some genuine appreciation. A balanced blend of equal parts Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay from three vintages, the Esprit Brut has a delicate dusty apple and brioche component to its bouquet that is wonderfully contrasted by zippy citrus, almond, and minerally flavors.

2018 Franck Millet "Insolite" Sancerre
Review Date: 02-18-2020
When the Insolite is in stock, I would bet a hefty sum that this is the most recommended Sancerre from our staff. Heck, even when it is out of stock it is still pretty highly recommended! Ripe in mineral, tropical fruit, and grassy aromas, the Insolite from Franck Millet is consistently crisp, clean, and classy. With a fuller mouthfeel and a flavor profile of light stone fruit (think apricots and white peaches), pithy lemon, white strawberries, and a dry, minerally finish, the 2018 is no exception.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2019 Allan Scott Family Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 02-17-2020
One of the newest products to hit our shelves is this aromatic, fresh, and BRIGHT Sauvignon Blanc from Allan Scott Family in Marlborough. This is a super racy wine, but doesn't overwhelm the senses like a lot of young SBs out there. There are a ton of stone fruit and tropical fruit notes on the insanely expressive bouquet, complemented by some minerally and herbacious aromas. The real winner is the wine's complicated and lengthy finish, running the gamut in flavors with notes of passionfruit, hay, cream cheese, and toasted almonds. This really has me dreaming of summer afternoons (although in California, its kind of always summer, so pop this open any time of the year)!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
Don't let the price fool you! This is one of the best deals in our entire Champagne collection and is THE go-to for K&L staffers looking for a last-minute bubbly. A Muenier-forward blend from far-western Champagne that spent 3 years on the lees, this bottle is toasty and nutty on the aromatics, with a fruity palate and very balanced acidity. Looking to spice it up at your next party? Consider purchasing this in magnum format - it is even better and was aged for an extra year on the lees.

2018 Cellier des Dauphins "Réserve" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 02-16-2020
"Oh my that smells incredible" was all I could utter among first sniff. One of the best value wines to land on our shelves in the past few months, this CDR from Cellier des Dauphins is sure to impress. This wine is hyper-fragrant with a combination of fresh red fruit, rich dark berries, pepper, violets, and enough earth to compete against all of that. The palate is sweetly-fruited, a little spicy, silky, and of a fairly delicate mouthfeel that will lend itself well to all sorts of drinking activities: a casual dinner, time with friends on the patio in warm weather, a post-work glass, the opportunities are endless! Do yourself a favor and come purchase a cart full of this 97-pointer before it's all gone.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2017 Nor'Wester by Greystone Pinot Noir North Canterbury
Review Date: 12-31-2019
Another stunning Pinot hailing from the lesser-known North Canterbury. At $20 a pop, this earthy and savory red is a real steal. The richer tones are met with bright red fruit, some spiciness, and a fresh acidity, rounding this out as a truly food-friendly wine. This would be a option to buy by the case and not worry about popping open on a Tuesday night – while still genuinely enjoying what’s in the bottle.

2017 Chateau de L'Ou "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 12-10-2019
This is such a beautiful bottle. I thought the 2016 vintage was as good as they come, but I have been proven wrong! The bouquet explodes with young, fresh dark berry notes, wet rock, and a touch of dark floral (maybe lilac). Insanely silky, this medium-bodied Syrah has a delicate acidity that balances out some of the richness and paves the way for a tasty palate of sweet fruit, vanilla, and a touch of spice.
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine des Rémizières "Cuvée Christophe" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 12-10-2019
This is a fairly rich Syrah with aromas of cooked meat, espresso, and a touch of dark chocolate. Each sip brings to mind a steak dinner followed by an affogato. It could use a little aging time, but it will develop very nicely over the next 3-6 yrs. On the tongue you’ll find a rich but subtle profile of dark fruit (blueberries or plum), with a lingering taste of cooking spices, cool herbs, and wet earth. There is a prevalent French oak, which helps to soften out the intensity and will smooth out over time. This will be a great Rhone addition to your cellar and is a worthy purchase.
Drink from 2021 to 2021