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Staff Favorites - Andrew Stevens

Andrew Stevens

Reviews

Auchentoshan "Bartender's Malt Edition 1" Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 05-15-2018
There was a time when certain things were simply not done. One would never mix a fine single malt into something so crass as a cocktail. I come from a bar background and will happily mix up great spirits into great cocktails. Fortunately for me, that rigid way of thinking is becoming more flexible and certain distilleries are embracing this trend. Auchentoshen is a perfect example, a blend of selected casks from different bartenders the whisky itself is beautiful. Soft, clean, supple, with beautiful vanilla, citrus, peaches, and white chocolate plus the texture that triple distilled Auchentoshan brings this is a delightful whisky all by itself. However, this is also a blend created by bartenders and for the bar. It is priced perfectly to allow someone to get creative, or go for a classic scotch and soda. If you are feeling daring maybe do what I am planning on doing this summer and mixing it with lemon juice, ginger syrup and floating a mellow IPA on top for a fantastic shandy.
Price: $44.95 Add To Cart

Caves Messias Santola "Crab Wine" Vinho Verde
Review Date: 05-15-2018
Summer sippin goodness in a bottle. That is what I thought the first time I tried this wine a few years ago and that thought has remained each time I taste it again. Perfect thirst quenching, low alcohol, slightly fizzy sipping goodness. This is the wine to grab by the case and find a reason to open on a beautiful afternoon.
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

Azteca Azul Blanco Tequila (1L)
Review Date: 03-08-2018
Coming from a bartending background, in Texas no less, this is exactly the type of product I wish I could have gotten my hands on for margaritas. From undeniable pedigree, this is a perfect mixing Blanco. Big rich fruit hits the nose immediately reassuring you of all that agave goodness in the bottle. The palate is surprisingly clean and light with a touch of earth and spice. This taste, for this price, in this size bottle is basically a bartending dream come true.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

Gilbert Jacquesson "Cuvée Eugénie" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-07-2018
New DI Champagne is always exciting to me, mostly because it means I get to taste Champagne and no matter what that is great. Still better when I find ones I really like. This new Rose is definitely our best priced Rose Champagne, but just because it is less expensive does not mean it is less drinkable. Bright fruit with some lovely structure from a little skin contact this all Pinot Meunier rose is a spectacular buy and a tasty bottle.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Reserve" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 02-07-2018
There is only one thing that everyone in Champagne agrees on, that is their wine tastes best out of a magnum. There are several reasons for this, but rest assured that it is true. Getting to taste Champagne side by side out of different sizes always confirms this, also who doesn't want to show up at a party or event with a large format Champagne? So here we have the best-priced magnum Champagne you will see and it delicious! The extra aging on the lees shows up as big rich yeasty notes with tons of breadth and complexity. There is a lovely golden pear and vanilla note here as well as a dry and long finish. Spectacular bubbles.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Piùcinque Gin 750ml
Review Date: 01-18-2018
There may a problem with this gin in that it goes down a little too easily, dare I say that this is a super crushable gin. A beautiful nose that is resplendent with botanical notes still manages to come off as soft and clean. There is a lovely nutty and floral balance happening here with some sweet citrus and a line of clean acid driving the body. What really struck me about this gin was how the softly sweet floral, almond, bergamot, and juniper all managed to work so well together by giving lots of flavor that is clean and far to easy to drink.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Amici Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-19-2017
This is another fantastic bottling from Amici, which has had a string of great Napa Cabs for the previous couple of vintages. Amici represents what people want and love about Napa Cab these days for a far better price than almost anyone else for the quality. Big, rich, lush berry flavors are met by herbal and floral notes to keep the wine from being flabby. There is plenty of structure here, giving this wine the ability to stand up to any good holiday dinner. The tannin is already integrated, balances the wine, and works in harmony with the red fruit. This is a wine where every part of it works together and easily over-delivers.
Price: Hidden View Price

Golden Devil "K&L Exclusive" Dark Navy Strength Rum (750ml)
Review Date: 12-07-2017
Just in time for Holiday party's (and to be honest for a Sunday Funday) this beautiful little bottle of Dark Overproof is exactly what is needed for cocktails, punches, and parties. Seriously, this is excellent, especially given the price, for those who need a good dark and strong rum for winter cocktails. Dark chocolate on the nose with a little coffee on the nose leads to a lighter palate than I was expecting. Caramel and fudge pudding with a rising heat and spice from the proof all come together here. Fantastic!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Jax "Y3 Taureau" Napa Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 11-11-2017
Holy cow!(See what I did there) just in time for Holiday season the Jax Y3 blend is back and it is even better than I was expecting. I really enjoyed the 2014 and 2013 bottlings from our friends at Jax but this is the best one I have tasted. Beautiful cherry and spice on the nose lead to a silky, seamless palate. The wine has a lushness that never falls into jam and coats the mouth with very soft fully integrated tannins. What is so spectacular about this bottling though is the balance and freshness it delivers even as the warm red fruits are at the front of this wine. This wine is not overly rich and definitely not flabby, there is a sophistication and balance not often found in red blends at this price point here in California. A perfect bottle to have around for this time of year.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2014 La Chablisienne Chablis 1er Cru "Beauroy"
Review Date: 10-17-2017
The lightest and cleanest of the three Premier Cru Chablisienne we are carrying the 204 Beauroy is a lovely bottle of wine. Bright citrus fruits are met with some flashy minerality and cutting acid. Minerality drives this wine and helps it to finish strong, however all of the have a beautiful balance and poise.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars "Faultline" K&L Exclusive Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 10-05-2017
I have been hearing about this gin since its inception and have been eagerly awaiting its arrival. Finally our new Faultline gin is here and it is downright delightfully delicious!! The aromatics leap out immediately, but like all of the Four Pillars Gin everything is in balance, lots of different aromas all acting in harmony with each other. There is some fantastic spice notes in here to bolster the juniper and the texture from the nuts adds a wonderful creamy layer. Finally the gin ends with a burst of lemon and spice that keeps the mouth fresh. I was planning on drinking wine tonight but I think I may do Negroni's instead.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-29-2017
I recently took a bottle of this home, not having tasted it in a couple of years, and I was struck by just how good this offering from our only Direct Import negociant truly is. The long aging on the lees give this wine a natural toastiness while maintaining plenty of bright acid. Notes of baked apple, creme brulee, and lemon zest make this a wine that pairs with food especially well in the fall. An absolutely lovely bottle from our friends at Baron-Fuente.

Four Pillars "Bloody Shiraz" Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 08-30-2017
I was willing to buy this bottle based on the aromatics alone, well that and the fact that Four Pillars seems incapable of making a bad gin. Watching this come in and getting to finally taste it makes me do a happy dance. The aroma juniper, sweet orange, bitter herb, red berry are all present here and hint at the tastiness hiding within this bottle. The flavor here is reminiscent of a SloGin but brighter and drier than most I have tasted. The beauty of the Four Pillars botanicals are still here just surrounded and submerged in sweet red fruit, more spice and a perfect amount of sweetness. I can't wait to try it in a Negroni and I feel I won't even need the sweet vermouth.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Paranubes Oaxacan Aguardiente de Caña Agricole Rum (1L)
Review Date: 07-18-2017
Wow, I mean seriously wow. This is one of those spirits that just makes me sit up and take notice. The nose immediately hits you with a fairly big grassy and slightly woody note. However, as powerful as the aromatics here are the body is light and balanced. Beautiful oxidized fruit, a touch of earthiness, much less aggressive than many agricole. Although David has just been sipping it this is the kind of spirit I cannot wait to start making cocktails with. I love when I get to play with something new and this is going to be a very good summer with this spirit I feel.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

El Silencio Espadin Black Bottle Mezcal (750ml)
Review Date: 06-08-2017
This is a perfect addition to my rotation of Mezcal that I can cocktail with and I am excited to see how it plays in my favorite drinks. The El Silencio has classic big notes from the Espadin, rich waxy rounded fruit with plenty of smoke. This is an unctuous fruity Mezcal that holds nothing back, but not in an overwhelming style. All of that big fruit typically play so well in cocktails and are necessary to stand up to other flavors when I make my Mezcal Negronis. Add to this the fact that the bottle is under $30 and we have ourselves a winner.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-08-2017
Bollinger is one of my immediate go to houses for people looking for a known name that delivers stunning wine for the price. The special cuvee from them is the perfect place to start with this all family owned estate. Lovely fruit notes of early plum, red fruit, and green apple with a little wood and spice are all firmly in balance here. The level of complexity is impressive and the finish is soft but does not fall flat in any way. There is also a beautiful tartness to the wine from the acid that serves to enhance the overall experience.

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-08-2017
The Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle is one of the most selective Tete Cuvee in production today. Given the scale of Laurent Perrier the fact that so little Grand Siecle Brut is available speaks to the selectiveness of the process. A blend of about 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay done in stainless steel the wine presents a lovely earthy note on the nose with hints of early orchard fruit. Earthy pear, yeasty notes, lingering acid, and a long finish help to create a truly compelling wine.

Laurent-Perrier "La Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-06-2017
If you are a Champagne House that carries the name recognition and appeal of Laurent Perrier how do you change your signature offering? Easy, you introduce a wine like the new La Cuvee. Taking on new vineyards and changing the basic cepage Laurent Perrier also decided that a longer lees time was also just what this new cuvee needed. The result being a continuation of what they are capable of and I believe a treat for all of their customers. This new champagne features a slightly creamier nose than the Brut and is filled with delectable stone fruit, cream, and plenty of balancing acid. I am fairly confident that those who are already familiar with this house will be delighted with this change and the handful of people who haven't tried them yet here is exactly where you should start.

2014 Provenance Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 04-04-2017
This was definitely one of our top sellers last year and it is good to see it back in the new vintage. For those looking for a little more elegance and honesty in their Cab this is the wine for you. Good acid, red berry and bramble, and a touch rustic this wine showcases the grape over manipulation. All of this and the wine is still only $35 which is almost unheard if these days. I believe that this wine may just fly out of here as fast as it did last year.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2013 Fuenteseca Huerta Singular "El Maguey" Blanco Tequila (750ml)
Review Date: 02-18-2017
This is truly a spectacular tequila, one that helps me to realize how good tequila can be and lure me away from my sweet brown booze. I do not take home bottles of expensive tequila because I am really only interested in turning them into a paloma. However, I must admit I am looking forward to taking home a bottle of this blanco. The balance and purity of the agave are singularly impressive, Although I have not actually gotten to bite into blue agave as David has, I can well believe him when he says that this tequila is what that tastes like. As good as the nose and taste of this tequila is perhaps the finish is what truly sells me, long, beautiful, and elegant. A finish that seems to linger on the palate and in your mind.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Santa Teresa 1796 Ron Antiguo de Solera Rum Venezuela (750ml)
Review Date: 01-30-2017
This wonderfully rich, but balanced Solera style rum is one of my go to's for those just getting into rum or those who have been long time fans. Dark, warm fruits and notes of toffee are not cloying, but rather they compliment each other and the strong streak of vanilla that brings this rum to a close.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Capurro Estate Grown Single Vintage Moscatel Premium Pisco (750ml)
Review Date: 11-29-2016
Like some other distillates Pisco seems to have suffered from the fact that until recently only the bottom end stuff has been on the market here in the US and so beyond the occasional Pisco Sour no one has had much to do with it. Fortunately brands like Capurro are coming in now and changing the way some of us think about Pisco. The single vintage Moscatel from this family owned and operated company opens with a beautiful floral nose with hints of citrus blossom. Clean and dry on the palate with a pleasant spice note this spirit also contains notes of red apple and pear. Certainly one of the most interesting and best Pisco's I have tasted this will be fun to play around with especially at this time of the year.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

La Petite Marquise Crémant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 11-01-2016
This is one of our most popular sparkling wines throughout the year because it is delicious and super affordable. Now with the prospect of holiday parties, get-togethers, and long evenings, this is the perfect everyday bubbly. Stone fruit, citrus notes, a creamy mouthfeel, and lots of tiny bubbles mean this wine can be the start of any evening.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Kilkerran (Glengyle) 12 Year Old Campbeltown Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 10-21-2016
One of only three active distilleries in Campbeltown, this new offering created in the revamped Glengyle is created using old techniques, and the dedication shows. Beautiful white fruit and spice layer the peat, showcasing the uniqueness of Campbeltown. Lovely layers of smoke move throughout this whisky and bring it to a finish with medium heat and spice. Full-flavored yet balanced, this is a cool new offering for those who love every different expression of peat, smoke, and of course, Campbeltown.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

La Petite Marquise Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé
Review Date: 08-08-2016
Reading over all of the reviews for this delightful bottle of bubbly I realize that I have nothing new to add except to ditto everything that has been said about it. Is it a fantastically fun summertime bottle resplendent with notes of strawberry and citrus and a tantalizing tart taste on the tongue? In a word, yes. Basically this is a perfect little bottle to toast success, friends, BBQ's, picnics, and Monday's with. Enjoy!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Westland Sherry Wood American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-08-2016
The fact that this bottle comes from perhaps the coolest distillery in the United States right now, and the fact that it is priced at under $75 are only really relevant if it is good. Fortunately for everyone involved, from the makers to the drinkers, it is very good indeed. A rich nose of loads of dense fruit, hints of smoke, a little vanilla and nuttiness and this all in the initial sniff. The body holds all the the smell of this whiskey promises, the sherry casking adding it's compounding notes of pecan and mocha to the toasted vanilla and baked fruit of the whiskey. Spices on the finish with some heat keep this whiskey long in the memory. In short, it is beautiful.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Westland Peated American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-06-2016
The Westland Peated Single Malt tastes like it is from somewhere else and commands a much higher price tag. Seriously, this whiskey is good. While the comparison to a distiller like Springbank is apt, this is also it's very own spirit that is not pretending to be anyone else. Peat and a touch of brine comingle with some chewy fruit and layered with smoke. The finish is a little spicy but the heat dissipates quickly while leaving the flavor and a sense of happiness for having tasted such a delightful whiskey.
Price: Hidden View Price

Westland American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-06-2016
The fact that Westland makes an amazing whiskey is no longer knew news, but hearing about it and tasting it are two different things. The Westland American Oak is reminiscent of many of my favorite single malts from Scotland and still it's own animal. Vanilla and a hints of fruit in the nose lead to a creamy vanilla, butterscotch, and coffee palate. This does not taste like a new distillery from the US, this tastes like someone has been crafting this whiskey for years in some country older than ours.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Michel Couvreur "Peaty Overaged" K&L Exclusive Malt Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-24-2016
For those who missed out on the Compass Box "5th and Harrison" K&L Exclusive, for those who are starting to realize how good blended whiskey can be, or for those who simply love good Scotch here is a bottle for you. From Michel Couvreur comes a truly beautiful peated smoky whisky that is elegant, balanced, smooth, and just so good. A rich nose resplendent with notes of caramel, toffee and a hint of butterscotch lead to a full, rich Scotch. There is a lot of good baked fruit notes here with the peat accenting them and swaddled in smooth smokey notes. Despite the richness of this whiskey it is well balanced and never feels to full of itself and leads the palate to a lovely soft finish that fades slowly. Get a bottle of this now and buy another for a gift. This is completely worth it.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 06-19-2016
I, like so many others, really like a lot of what Suntory has to offer. There are so many wonderful whiskeys they put out, unfortunately many of these have gotten super expensive and rare. Fortunately, they are trying to fill in the gap with a more everyday whiskey, and the Toki is just the product to do that. A lightly fruited nose reminiscent of caramel apple and vanilla leads to a smooth and somewhat fruity whiskey. Baked apple and stone fruit notes are rounded with touches of vanilla and a somewhat creamy mouthfeel. Low heat finish rounds out the delightful little whiskey.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 05-28-2016
Some people want to reinvent Gin while others simply want to perfect it, at Four PIllars they go for the latter. This has all the elements that make gin so good, citrus, juniper, spices and balances them. Fresh and clean with a dry finish this is the kind of gin you can just keep as the standard, always on hand. Mix it, sip it, prepare it any way you like Gin, just enjoy it.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 05-28-2016
Complexity and balance is always what I am most excited about in a Gin and this delivers these two attributes. The citrus notes from the limes off just the right amount of snappy citrus to overlay the backbone of juniper. This gin is surprisingly smooth for its proof offering up its power in complexity and flavor as opposed to burn on the finish.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

St. George Bruto Americano Bitter Aperitivo Liqueur (750ml)
Review Date: 05-24-2016
I am a big fan of pretty much everything St. George Distillery does and one of my favorite things about them is all of their liqueurs and brandies. Seriously, the people over there are never satisfied with just sticking to gin, vodka, or whiskey (although they do all of those things well) and now they have added an Americano! I bought a bottle immediately and it is delicious, as is expected from them this is not an attempt to re-create Campari but rather it's own beast. Clove and cinnamon add a much spicier component to this spirit, with a lovely dry and herbaceous finish. This is delicious on its own or with soda water and a twist and I cannot wait to try making it into a Negroni.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart

Kilchoman "Sanaig" Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 05-09-2016
I am so glad I finally got to try a couple different expressions from the newest distillery on Islay, and I am so impressed with this whisky. A lovely whiff of smoke on the nose lets you know you are getting into an Islay; however, the sherry casking lends it a smooth and rich body without being brooding. Slightly nutty and fruity notes play against the smoke and lead to a long finish with low heat. This whisky does not need an age statement at all, it stands up and delivers incredibly well for a newer, younger blend.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Mas Codina Cava Brut Reserva Penedès
Review Date: 05-09-2016
This is one of the best bottle of bubbles in the store for its price. The fact that we directly import this sparkler and that it is from Spain means that it drinks far and above its price point. This Cava is very clean and enhanced by bright acid while still having some weight and richness on the mouthfeel. A lovely balance of ripe fruit and citrus make this one that can easily turn heads at a party and is priced to keep a case around the house.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Frederiksdal Kirsebaervin "Vin af Kirsebaer: Reserve" Cherry Wine, Denmark (500ml)
Review Date: 03-07-2016
Is it a dessert wine, is it a late harvest wine, is it a cordial? This cherry wine from Denmark has recently been making a bit of a splash in Europe and it made us curious to taste it. I had a few preconceived notions about what it would probably taste like going into it, and this wine did not fit neatly into my categories. I was expecting it to be sweet, and while there is sweetness there, it was not as much a dessert wine as I was expecting. Instead the tartness of the cherries helps keep this wine from going into a syrupy style. The flavors are almost reminiscent of the ripeness of an Amarone with some of the herbs of a kirsch. It can stand up to chocolate as a dessert wine, or before dinner with charcuterie. It is odd and tasty and worth trying.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart

Guzman Riestra Sidra Natural Cider, Asturias (700ml)
Review Date: 02-12-2016
I am very new to the world of Spanish Cider, so I am not sure if this is a typical example of what they do. However, I do know that it was cool, interesting, and enjoyable. The nose definitely had some brett and there was a vinegar note underlying the green tart apple, which totally worked for me. A good food cider, this paired well with the beans, peppers, and rice I prepared. Fun and funky.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Brasserie Lebbe "L'Amalthee" Saison, France (750ml)
Review Date: 01-15-2016
Recently during a cold rainy evening I made broccoli-cheddar soup and I looked through my wines to see what I was going to serve with it. I found this bottle of Brasserie L'Amalthee Saison that I had picked up and forgotten about. Fortunately I decided to open it and it was perfect. Light and easy drinking with just the right amount of bitter to cut through the rich and creamy soup, this is simply a tasty beer. Sometimes I do not want a super complex, interesting beer, sometimes I just want a great beer to drink with my meal, and this is one I will keep around for such occasions.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

Alexandre Le Brun "Tradition" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-29-2015
This is a fantastic tradition to get into for those seeking a richer more decadent Champagne. Alexandre gives big name Champagne houses a run for their money at a fraction of the cost. Wonderful bread aromas on the nose and a serious baked fruit middle with hints of spice. Grab one for celebrations or for food and let it impress you as much as it has impressed us.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-18-2015
The best priced Champagne in our store and an amazing offer especially with the upcoming holidays. This beautiful Grande Reserve has an amazing mid-pallet that is toasty and full with a hint of almond and dried fruit. This makes it ideal as a Champagne to serve with dinner, it has enough weight to enjoy before and with food. Fantastic finish and flavor make for a truly beautiful Champagne and with the price you can afford to pick up several.

2013 Twomey Anderson Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-11-2015
This is a beautiful and polished Pinot Noir that captures how good an Anderson Valley Pinot Noir can be. Ripe red fruit and a nice amount of acid lend body and flavor to this wine. Not as dark and rich as the Russian River Valley version, this one is brighter and has a longer finish. Perfect for many food dishes and for smooth, mellow evenings.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart