Staff Favorites - Aaron Hughes

Aaron Hughes


2017 Voyager Estate "Girt by Sea" Cabernet Merlot Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 09-26-2023
The 2017 Voyager Estate "Girt By Sea" Cabernet/Merlot blend is an absolute knockout, ESPECIALLY at this pricing. There's everything you want from a Cabernet Sauvignon focused blend: It's a beautiful deep, garnet color in the glass, with just a touch of age starting to show at the edges. The nose exhibits a generous bouquet of fresh black and red fruits intermingled with trademark Margaret River earthiness, hinting at what is to follow. On tasting, the wine unfolds in layers, with bright pomegranate immediately giving way to dried cherries and stewed blackberries. The deep fruit finishes with elegant notes of earth and oak, adding complexity and backbone. What sets this blend apart is its soft, velvety tannins – they yield a gentleness that makes for a wine that is hard-to-resist, especially at this pricing.

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Nature Champagne
Review Date: 11-02-2022
The Brut Nature from Baron-Fuente is a racy and delicious little acid-bomb of a Champagne that manages to not come across too austere or overly acidified. The extra time that the Champagne has spent on the lees has softened and complexified the palate into something special. The lack of dosage does mean that this is exceptionally crisp and cleansing on the palate, but there's a delicious and creamy core of toast and rich tropical notes to be found. This is the kind of Champagne that is easy to pair with and a joy in the glass.

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-02-2022
As the lowest cost Champagne that we have, this can safely be called a budget entry into that wide and effervescent world. A double whammy of being easy on your wallet while satisfying your palate makes this a no-brainer buy for people looking for a little bit of bubbly. Clean and toasty with a classic nose. Apple and pear on the palate with a finish that has lemon zest and hints of stone fruit. This is an incredible value for a Champagne of this caliber!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-02-2022
The second Baron-Fuente "Esprit" that I recently tasted - This Champagne, as opposed to its leaner cousin, does receive a dosage. With seven years on the lees, this is an amazing value for the price. Just think about the time that has been invested into this wine before it even gets to you, and yet it's under $40. With an easy-drinking mouthfeel and still brisk acidity, this Champagne invites sip after sip, and at under $40 a bottle. It's an astronomical deal, especially when you think about the work and effort that went into producing this wine. The nose is rich and inviting with baked apples and lemon candy, the palate is clean and ends with just enough acid to make you yearn for your next sip!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-02-2022
When I first came here to K&L the supply on this was low and its absence was spoken of in somber and melancholy tones. I can see why, now, because it's an absolutely gorgeous Champagne at an excellent price. This is a rich and brioche-y nose that straddles the line between rich and cloying with amazing finesse, always staying on the right side while remaining opulent and luxurious. Rich apple and pear with hints of cream and vanilla and lovely toast on the finish. A must-buy for anyone trying to experience the best that Champagne has to offer!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Calumet Farm 16 Year Old "Single Rack Black" Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-16-2022
I was pleasantly surprised by how fruit-forward this bourbon was - after 16 years in oak it still came off a bit spritely, there was ripe and caramel apples alongside stewed pears, orange oil and then touches of burnt sugar towards the end. The palate was savory and spicy in the best of ways, with a vanilla custard and pie spice competition happening in the back palate, somewhere in the finish there's this whisper of herby licorice that kept me searching in my glass. I always like it when a beverage evokes curiosity. The finish manages to be dry and oaky without being overly tannic, just urging you onto the next welcome sip. A couple drops of water in what was left in my glass made the florality pop on the nose and left the palate a touch sweeter. Definitely highly recommended and a beautiful sipper however you choose, I didn't think it needed water or a rock in it, but I wouldn't have objected, either.
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart

Ragnaud-Sabourin "Fontvieille #35" K&L Exclusive Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 03-02-2020
Wow. That's almost all this review said, just "wow" because this absolutely impressed me from first sight. A really beautiful color in the bottle and in the glass, showing its 35 years. The nose is full and rich, with very little alcohol on the nose encouraging long and wistful inhales as this is savored. Just gobs of fresh-cut apple and peach are accompanied with an orange-blossom florality and then quickly overshadowed by a rich vanilla. The palate is absolutely phenomenal with that fruit and vanilla accompanied by toasted herbal spices and rich barrel spices. I thought that the #20 was smooth but this puts that to shame. This might just be a benchmark spirit, setting the bar for all Cognacs to follow. I'll let you know.
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart

Reisetbauer Carrot "Karotten" Eau de Vie (375ml)
Review Date: 02-16-2020
When Andrew our spirits buyer showed me that we had a carrot eau de vie, I didn't know what to think. How weird I thought to myself while smiling and nodding politely. I was a fool and this is absolutely amazing. It's everything that a carrot should and could be, but it's an eau de vie. It is the very essence of carrot, a study of carrot, a thesis on carrots written by a Professor of Carrotology. It's absolutely bizarre and yet at the same time makes complete and absolute sense. It is carrot, and my life will never be the same. Serve neat, chilled if you prefer and get ready to go for a wild experiential ride.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart