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Staff Favorites - Aaron Hughes

Aaron Hughes

Reviews

2018 Franck Millet "Insolite" Sancerre
Review Date: 02-18-2020
Each six-pack wooden case of the Insolite comes with actual rocks from the vineyard itself, a testament to the pride that Franck Millet has in their terroir, and you can see why when you drink the wine. A beautifully full nose rife with tropical fruit, citrus and wet stone opens this stunner of a Sancerre. The palate is rich and ripe with a gorgeous acidity and mouthfeel, white peach, apricot with notes of grapefruit and lemon zest blend together and then give way to an incredible mineral finish. For the price this is an absolutely delightful Sancerre and a really pleasant surprise, and I definitely would recommend.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

2016 Sidewood Estate Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills South Australia
Review Date: 02-17-2020
A pretty and earthy nose on this medium bodied Pinot Noir gives promise of what's to come. There's plenty of ripe and soft fruit as well, with pie cherry, pomegranate and cranberry notes but there's also notes of cedar, graphite and hints of tobacco. The palate is brighter with dusty fruit from the nose, just with a touch more presence and just the right amount of acidity. For people who like an earthier Pinot Noir, this is a tremendous value and a must-buy.
Price: Hidden View Price

2004 Domaine Les Pins "Nos Peres Hiers" Bourgueil
Review Date: 02-17-2020
This wine from 2004 is an excellent example of aged Cabernet Franc from the Loire, especially from Bourgueil. The age has allowed a lot of the tertiary aromas to come and boldly evidence themselves. There's a mushroomy and earthy savoriness from the get-go, with dried tobacco leaves, pencil shavings, bay leaf all accompanied by soft fruit - savory dried fig, dried blackberry, stewed strawberries and plum skin. The finish is intensely earthy with plenty of tannins for food pairing. This is an interesting wine worth trying, especially if you're curious about older Cabernet Franc.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine Les Pins "Les Rochettes" Bourgueil
Review Date: 02-17-2020
The nose is deep and dark with savory undertones from the first sniff. There's lots of dark black fruit - blackcurrant, blackberry with hints of pomegranate all mired in an earthy nose filled with a green peppercorn driven herbaceousness. The medium body still has a healthy amount of tannins, but despite its youth it's very approachable. The fruit on the palate is bright and lighter than the nose, with raspberry and cranberry and bits of black cherry that meld into a lingering and enjoyable earthy and lightly spiced finish.
Price: $14.99 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

2018 Cellier des Dauphins "Réserve" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 02-16-2020
I didn't know what to expect from this wine at the outset, but wow is it impressive. Immediately after opening this wine was perfumey and full of dark stewed fruits. Marionberry and deep black cherry dance and flit about with violets with hints of chewy tobacco. The palate is lively and expressive with a delicious and ripe acidity that doesn't overshadow the fruit and earth. With a medium to light body this wine has all the promise of summer with all the delight of spring and for under $15 this is an absolute stunner of a wine.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2012 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
Wow, this was one heck of a treat. This was absolutely gorgeous out of the gate with a floral and citrus-y nose that enticed me in from the start. The palate was full of ripe and crisp apples and that delightful brioche-y quality with a finish that had just the softest hint of grapefruit zest and pith. I'm excited to see how this Champagne ages, and is an easy recommendation on a great Champagne to stock up on to lay down.
Price: $124.99 Add To Cart

Krug "Grande Cuvée" 167 Ème Édition Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
Even in difficult years, the best winemakers are able to craft something extraordinary and special and the 167 seems to epitomize this. Based on the more difficult 2011 harvest, this is a showcase to the blender's art. A toasty and full nose that opens into florals and hints of quince and Asian pear with just a bit of lemon custard. The palate is amazing, with a texture and finish that has to be experienced to be fully understood. It's been said that Krug is King of Champagne and if you want to know why, buy this bottle.

Krug "Grande Cuvée" 168ème Édition Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
I recently had the good fortune to taste both the 168 and the 167 back to back and I have to say that I finally understand the hype. Krug has been spoken about in hushed and reverent tones for years and I've never had the opportunity to avail myself, and gosh I really have been missing out, haven't I? This highlights the blending art of the winemaker, with the goal being to create consistency and greatness every year from the tools that are given to them. The 168 is based on the highly lauded 2012 vintage and comes out of the gate swinging with a deep and intense nose with pretty floral edges. The palate is amazingly clean with a soft and voluptuous mousse-y mouthfeel and that mineral finish that we have come to crave from Champagne. Buy this and share it with someone you love.
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart

2008 Le Brun de Neuville "Grand Vintage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
This is a really interesting Champagne being 96% Chardonnay with just 4% Pinot Noir, not percentages that you normally see. It makes you feel like maybe the know something that other producers don't, and the result is pretty exceptional. The bouquet is deep and intense with gobs of pear and lemon zest and a hint of sugar cookie, despite being a very crisp and dry Champagne. The palate is clean and racy with just a hint of spice on the finish. Really delightful.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2013 Franck Bonville "Millesime" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
Yet another stunner from Franck Bonville, this one being a vintage Champagne for under $50. Apples and orange blossoms on the nose with a clean and crisp mineral-driven finish on the palate. This is a wine that makes me want to get a case and just open a bottle each year to see how it ages and progresses.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
K&L has a few Champagne producers that impress me every time I taste something new from them. Franck Bonville is assuredly amongst this group, with wine after wine being a new reminder that great things come in 750ml packages. The nose is toasty and nutty with a fruit-driven core. The palate is rich and creamy to the point of opulence. This is an excellent Blanc de Blancs Champagne that is very impressive for the price.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
Such a pretty and inviting nose on this Grand Cru from Franck Bonville. There's a gentle florality to it, but around that is softly wafting around a core of pear and a melange of citrus. The palate is clean and crisp and the fruit shines through from the first sip, the minerality shines through and contributes to the lingering and satisfying finish. All of Franck Bonville's wines have been a pleasant surprise and this is no exception.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2014 Louise Brison Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
While Champagnes are in different styles and appeal to different palates, I've found this Louise Brison Brut to be something that everyone can enjoy so far. The nose is rich and slightly lees-y, with generous fruit and the palate is clean and crisp with a delicious driving acidity and minerality that make this an absolutely incredible value. I'm astounded again and again at the quality of wines that we have here at K&L and the affordability of them. Do yourself a favor and grab a bottle of this.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie Reserve (formerly Carte Blanche) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
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: $29.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
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.

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Nature Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
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.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2009 Baron-Fuenté "Grand Millesime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
I recently tasted this alongside some other Champagnes and was incredibly impressed at how it stood up to bottles twice the price. A rich nose filled with what you expect from classic Champagne, the depth is impressive and I kept finding nuances here and there. The palate has enough fruit but also embraces the toasty and brioche-y qualities that some people really crave, and the finish hangs on for an impressive time. The price to quality ratio is absolutely insane and this is an easy pick again and again for people who want something to celebrate without dipping too far into their pockets.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-16-2020
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.

2017 Domaine de l'Amandine Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret
Review Date: 02-15-2020
An elegant and understated nose slowly opens as you allow it to fill the glass, the perfume of this wine is delicate but absolutely lovely. Bright red fruits wrap around a darker core of macerated bramblefruits. The palate refined while the darker core presents itself much more readily, chewier and earthy with a lingering finish. There's more than enough acid to make this a very friendly wine to pair against. For the price-point this is a drop-dead amazing deal, and a wonderful entry point for Côtes du Rhône.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Markovitis Xinomavro Naoussa Greece
Review Date: 01-25-2020
A bright nose with lots of red fruit intermingles with an earthy minerality, intermingling with hints of black tea leaves, and fennel. The palate is light, but with darker, dried fruit on the palate that then gives way to nuances of black olive, and a dusty but enjoyable and lingering finish.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine de l'Ermitage "Victor" Costières de Nîmes Blanc
Review Date: 01-19-2020
An alluring nose with bright crisp apple and hints of apricots and a stony minerality draw you into this incredibly appealing little wine from the Western Rhone. The palate is clean with apricots, peach and pear and a gently mineral finish. This is a delicious wine for the price and eminently quaffable, inviting glass after glass with a cheese plate or lighter seafood dish.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2018 Montmassot Picpoul de Pinet
Review Date: 01-19-2020
Letting the wine sit in the glass for a moment, I was greeted with a tropical nose filled with pineapple, grapefruit zest and hints of white flowers. As often happens, the palate is not quite as fruit-forward as the nose, but still echoes of sweet tropical fruits mixed with grapefruit and floral notes. All in all a very pretty wine and a beautiful expression of Picpoul De Pinet.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine de la Ganse Vacqueyras
Review Date: 01-18-2020
Opening with a bouquet that is slightly dusty with hints of cocoa and anise and very ripe dark berries. The palate echoes berry and dark fruit notes but with hints of creaminess and food-friendly tannins, there are touches of iron in the soft but pleasant finish. All in all, a wine that I would enjoy with a slightly rich and comforting meal rather than by itself.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2007 Lopez de Heredia "Viña Tondonia" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-14-2020
While the nose has generous amounts of dried cherries and raspberries with hints of fresh fruit showing through, there's also a hint of menthol and subtle green peppercorn. The palate has bright acidity with fresher fruits than the nose, albeit the same fruits in the bouquet. It has a clean and lingering finish. This would be an amazing wine for a rich meal or a hard cheese and cured meat plate.

2016 Thistledown "Cunning Plan" Shiraz Langhorne Creek
Review Date: 01-12-2020
A generous nose of ripe cherries and blackberries with hints of sage and tobacco give this wine an impressive entrance. Dark in color and palate, there's a depth and richness that you can't often find at this price point. As it sits in the glass, the fruit gets slightly candied notes while the wine itself remains on the edge of austere. While not without tannins, this wine doesn't need a meal to cut through and would be approachable by itself. The finish lingers pleasantly and in the end what you have is a well-priced Shiraz that doesn't disappoint.
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Chateau de L'Ou "Infiniment" Côtes Catalanes Rouge
Review Date: 12-10-2019
A dense bouquet filled with earthy and smoky elements that threaten to overpower the blueberry and black cherry notes that end up shining through. The palate is an explosion of fruit, dark and just slightly chewy, with a long and lingering finish. Relatively balanced tannins and acidity lend this toward a hearty meal.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2018 Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet Côtes de Grandlieu Sur Lie
Review Date: 12-10-2019
Opening with a pretty and rich bouquet inundated with stone fruits and hints of river rock. The palate is bracing in the best of ways with an intense and cleansing acidity wrapped around a core of quince and white peach. The minerality suggested by the bouquet follows through and is tied in with just the lightest hints of an herbal complexity. 95 points from Decanter and one heck of a screaming deal.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2017 Domaine des Rémizières "Cuvée Christophe" Crozes-Hermitage
Review Date: 12-10-2019
Bright and lively nose rife with dried blackberries and a hint of brushy sage complements and intermingles with tobacco. Juicy black and red fruits on the palate with rich tannins and a healthy acidity makes this an excellent candidate for richer meals and cheeses. A really delicious pure Syrah from the Northern Rhone.