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Staff Favorites - Rachel Alcarraz

Rachel Alcarraz
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Reviews

2018 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 02-13-2019
Vintage to Vintage this is one of the staff's favorite Sauvignon Blancs and it is not hard to see why. This stellar wine is sourced from three vineyards all fermented in stainless steel with a small amount finished in neutral french oak for texture and spice. The warmer 2018 vintage brought more depth to the elegant nose and more ripe tropical fruits on the palate. However, the fresh lime and citrus fruit character and generous acidity are not hidden by the warm vintage, but enhances the wines complexities.

2016 Viña Olartia Crianza Rioja
Review Date: 02-05-2019
A new Crianza to challenge our Direct Import favorites! From the same winemaker as our star, Senor de Lesmos, the enticing wine starts off with notes of eucalyptus and Balaton cherry. It is fruit forward while still have the savory, spicy notes you find a great Tempranillo! Not only is it full bodied, and it is the first of the incredible 2016 vintages to hit the shelves!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "Cuvée Rosé" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
Laurent Perrier has been one of my favorite Grand Marquee producers since I had the pleasure of writing about their La Cuvee when it first appeared on the scene. Their rose is impressive with a combination of vineyards all given Grand Cru status. The 100% Pinot Noir is more feminine with lovely notes of sweet summer berries that bounce along a richly texture palate.

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
One of the best priced Grand Marque Champagnes we have on the shelf, especially when taking account the quality of the wine. More than one third of the wine is barrel fermented and more than one third is reserve wine aged for a minimum of 10 years in magnums before blending creating possibly one of the most complex champagnes I have tasted yet. Some cracker or fresh brioche aromas mixed with fresh yellow apples draw you into a textured yet lively palate that doesn't stand still!

A.D. Coutelas "Cuvée Louis Victor" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
I was surprised to see that I didn't already have a review for this wine since it is one of my favorite champagnes in the store! The first time I had this champagne was at a dinner with my coworkers. I was blown away by not only the story of the wine, but its concentration and complexity. I guess that is what happens when you have the best juice from over a decades worth of vintages in one barrel! While the texture screams aged champagne and some of the savory notes agree, there is a freshness that is describable.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
There is a reason the Billecart Salmon rose is one of the top selling rose's in the store. The darker pink color comes from the Premier Cru Pinot Noir grapes that also impart the wonderful aromas and flavors of sweet cherry and strawberry. A polished style champagne with a long finish filled with summer berries!

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Réserve" Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
One of the great things about Grande Marque Champagnes is the consistency of house style. You know that the Billecart Salmon Brut you are opening tonight will have the same fresh and focused character you remember from before. Billecart has had a long, cold fermentation practice since the late 1950's aiding in their bright and lively personality. Over two years on the lees gives some texture to the tart apple and dry stone finish.

2011 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
The first aromas of the wine brought me back to my childhood eating apples with cinnamon. While many people snub their nose at the 2011 vintage, the Egrot finds its beauty. The round, fullness of the wine shows on the fruity driven mid palate. Notes of yellow and red apples steer you into spicy undertones.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
Based on the impeccable 2008 vintage with reserves of 2006 and 2007 as well, the Egrot has a pretty weighted mid palate with a richness of toasted brioche and cinnamon. Like their extra brut, all notes about this wine will say it is aged for 3 years on the lees (already twice the legal minimum), but it is usually much more- sometimes up to 8! The textural palate is still focused with a long, mineral driven finish which to me, shows the power of the 2008 vintage.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

Michel Arnould "Reserve" Brut Verzenay Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
One of the longest running Direct Import champagnes at K&L is Michel Arnould. Their reserve is a beautifully composed, rich style champagne that is bold with toasted brioche matched by a beautiful, lengthy, citrus driven acidity. The ripeness of Pinot Noir comes from the Northern facing hills of Verzenay and is balanced with just 25% Chardonnay. A round, textural palate with a long lasting finish.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
The Esprit is Baron Fuente's next step from their top-selling "Grand Reserve." The 100% estate fruit spends 7 years on the lees, much like their esteemed "7" and is equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier. The toasty nose has notes of fresh lemon leaves that leads into a medium bodied wine the depth and texture. The brioche character broadens the flavor of the wines while the hints of lemon peak up every now and then keeping the longevity of the wine.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-05-2019
With twice as much aging on the lees then required, the Grand Reserve has a rich toasted nose with scents of brioche and broad inviting earthiness. Mostly Meunier brings soft elegance and fineness along side deep fruit characters by adding depth and complexity to the wine. A bit of red apple fruit and fresh sweet citrus carry the warm palate from start to finish.

Nicolas Maillart Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-30-2019
To me, extra brut Champagne always have a sense of purity on the nose. While the Maillart also has a beautifully perfumed nose, a sense of tropical fruit, a zip of lime, and a slight toasted oak character, the wine is clean and focused. The palate mimics the complex nose with full intensity, high toned citrus acidity and medium texture.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$34.99

2012 Nicolas Maillart Vintage Champagne
Review Date: 01-30-2019
With more than half Pinot Noir, the star of the 2012 vintage, this Champagne is driven with minerality, focused with lemon zest, and textured by toasted oak. The nose and palate are filled with toasted baking spice and yellow apple that lean on the bright acidity for length. It is absolutely delicious and will be the new competition for our staple DI vintage Champagnes.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 10-10-2018
I have special memories of the Roederer Brut Champagne. Two years ago on New Years Eve, my friends and I opened a Jeroboam of this lovely wine. We enjoyed the bottle during our flavorful dinner and poured the final glasses out of the bottle just in time to ring in 2017. The richer, toasted brioche character went well with our winter dinner menu but it is also well balanced enough to easily drink on its own.

2007 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Fascination" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 10-09-2018
From only two rows of vines, Alexandre Le Brun has created a deep and toasty Blanc de Blanc that is entirely barrel aged. The first breath in will send aromas of freshly baked broche into your senses. The gentle spice from the oak plays heavenly with the breath and power of wine while the subtle minerality is not lost but gives the wine backbone and direction.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2012 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Revelation" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-09-2018
One of my favorite (and there are many) things about a Champagne made from entirely Menieur is the finesse and character the grape will bring to the wine. It will bring a depth of red fruits into the racey acidity Champagne is known for. The Cuvee Revelation has all those wonderful characteristics plus the depth and breadth of being aged in small barrels. I found notes of bosque pears and soft baking spices. It is balanced, layered and beautiful as ever.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

2009 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Dilection" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-09-2018
I;ve rewritten this review a few times because I felt like I wasn't doing the wine justice. This is only the second time I have had the pleasure to try Le Brun's Dilection rose and both times I was saw how special this wine is. Coming from a small plot of vines that are over 100 years old, the depth and terroir of the wine is unmatched by anything else I've had. There is a slight savory element to the wine, similar to dried raspberries and cherries. The nose is elegant with aromas of rose and raspberries. It is pretty and finessed with the perfect touch of gentle citrus acidity for balance.
Price: $58.99 Add To Cart

2012 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-09-2018
If I could think of a perfect textbook definition of Champange, I think this 2012 Roederer would be it. All vintages Roederer wines come from vineyards own by the estate since the 1770's. The original property in Verzenay makes the Pinot Noir that dominates this vintage Grand Marque. It is classic in every way- toasted brioche fills the nose and mimics on the palate while the long, focused acidity keeps it lively and defined.

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-14-2018
Emblematis, which can translate as "symbolic", to Trudon expresses the house's "historical style" while featuring 70% Meunier that thrives from the Festigny soils. 60% of the wine is from the difficult yet concentrated vintage of 2012 while the rest of the wine is a reserve blend. The wine is driven with mouthwatering acidity mixed with a finesse of floral undertones and is held on the back palate with chalky minerality. An award winning champagne at an award winning price!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2017 Torti Pinot Noir Pavia
Review Date: 07-31-2018
Finding a sub $20 Pinot Noir worth any merit is difficult these days, but finding a sub $15 that is undoubtedly enjoyable is near impossible. Torti has taken a grape uncommon in Italy and made it worth while. We took their motto "No Torti, no party" to heart the other night at our staff BBQ and cracked open a bottle or two. It was fresh, lively and great with all the foods and fixings we had before us. It is smooth with juicy red plums and a hidden bit of spice from time in barrique. Easy to enjoy as your next bargain red!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-03-2018
The romance of the Cuvee Rare starts at the beginning of its reign. The first vintage came from the hot '76 vintage where the winemakers made magic by being able to balance the ripe, opulent grapes to give us a generous but balanced wine. While the 2002 vintage is the first of the Cuvee Rare I have been able to get my hands on, the story holds true. The wine is lush with lees texture and ripeness of fruit. Although the lavish wine is filled with texture it is not stagnant or heavy. A crisp apple like acidity is there to balance the longevity of the beautiful palate.

2016 Planeta Etna Rosso
Review Date: 06-27-2018
While many Etna Rosso wines benefit from long aging, the Planeta is fresh and approachable soon after release. It is more supple filled with sweet cherries and medium structure. It is food friendly and maybe too easy to enjoy. Like drinking a Nebbiolo Langhe while you wait for your Barolos to age, you drink the Planeta while you wait for your single vineyard Etnas to come around!

2016 Biondi "Outis" Etna Bianco
Review Date: 06-19-2018
From the South East corner of Mt. Etna comes a concentrated and textured white from Biondi. It is ripe and full of flavor with a bit of skin contact for color, texture and character. The nose is filled with honeycomb and green apple skins. It is matched on the palate with great acidity from only seeing stainless steel. It is complex but graceful.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Clos du Mont" Brut Champagne (2004)
Review Date: 05-08-2018
In my review for the last bottling of the Clos du Mont, I mentioned that it was emailed before I was able to try it. A customer came to ask me questions about the wine and when I read the description Gary had written I fell in love with it before even trying. The last bottle was based on two great vintages, 1999 and 2002, this time is solely 2004. A fantastic vintage that was characterized by the dry winter and spring that brought ripeness and concentration to the grapes. The high amount of chardonnay has kept this wine vibrant, fresh and long on the finish. The barrel fermentation gives the wine it's spice and complexity while the outstanding 13 years on the lees gives nuance and texture you can't imagine. The nose is filled with limestone and each time I try this wine I am blown away by its subtle characters of this unique wine.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Reserve" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 02-06-2018
There are many delicious Champagnes at $49, but there are very few in magnum at $49! Baron Fuente ages their magnum over a year longer than their 750s--which are aged twice as long as required--so you are getting a solid 4+ years of lees contact in the bottling. It has the same great richness and toasted brioche that we love from the 750, but being a larger format, that oxygen aging has been delayed. This brings a beautiful freshness and longevity to the wine and really makes the magnums ready for aging!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Baron-Fuenté "7" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
From one of our best-priced Champagne producers come a bit of a higher-end bottling. The "7" is aptly named for the 7th generation of family winemakers, 7g/l of sugar at the dosage (which is nice and dry!) and 7 years on the lees! (just a reminder, the minimum is only 18 months). The 7 is made with 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Meunier - all estate fruit. The portion of Chardonnay is barrel fermented for a richer mid-palate with a beautiful acidity giving characteristics of lemon preserves spread on warm brioche buns. Absolutely delicious!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
The Franck Bonville Blanc de Blanc was the first Champagne I bought on the first night I worked at K&L, and it will always have a special spot in my heart. What makes it so special is the care and quality Olivier Bonville pours into his wines. Based on 2015, the Blanc de Blanc is half reserve wine from all estate fruit. Some time in barrel gives this Chardonnay a creamy, sweet citrus character, like that of a Meyer lemon or pink grapefruit. The chalky soil is not lost in this wine, either. A soft structure of dry white chalk elongates the palate and adds an extra level of complexity. It is a wine that never disappoints.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2018
I've often skipped over the any of the Billecart Salmon Champagnes that weren't their Brut Rose, thinking they were a one trick pony. Today I was proven wrong. We tried five of their bottlings that we carry in store and each one was elegant and complex in its own right. However, this Blanc de Blanc really stood out to me. ​A richer style for the house, this 100% Chardonnay goes through partial malolactic fermentation to bring a creamy citrus character, almost like lemon meringue pie (just without the nutty, pastry aspect you may find in oaked Blanc de Blanc as this doesn't see any oak). That richness is elegantly balanced with long lived acidity that keeps each sip active on the palate. An undertone of chalky minerality from the Grand Cru soils adds just the right amount of depth needed to complete the wine. 10 minutes after tasting, I bought myself the magnum!

2013 Bersano "Mantico" Barbaresco
Review Date: 01-16-2018
Our best value Barbaresco is back! At $20 this ruby color wine starts with a perfect blend of fresh fruit and earth aromatics while hints of anise intensify the savory aspect of the wine. A bright acidity meets the medium body and medium tannin structure on the palate. A touch of toasted oak spice keep the wine fragrant with coriander and fennel seeds while the dense red fruit keep the mid-palate gently weighted.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

Piùcinque Gin 750ml
Review Date: 01-09-2018
What intrigued me most about this Italian gin is the elegance and soft sense of presence it has from nose to palate. This not due to lack of flavor by any means! The gin is boosting with Italian botanicals- 10 in total, that create a unique and unmatched flavorful gin, but it is not overwhelming in its presence. It is clean, clear and comforting in it's perfect approachability. The use of bergamot gives you the freshness of lemon but the sweetness of orange while the addition of sage gives a slight savory herbal note. A wonderful gin to sip on it's own, mix with tonic, or create a wonderfully aromatic cocktail!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Canard-Duchêne Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-06-2017
One of my favorite characteristics of great rosé Champagne is the complementing flavors of sweet red berries and minerality. The Canard-Duchene Rosé beautifully encompasses those classic qualities with a mixture of fresh strawberries and raspberries intertwined with limestone structure while keeping its personality with texture and floral character. Absolutely delicious.
Price: $34.99 Add To Waiting List

Canard-Duchêne Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-06-2017
One of my favorite things about working at K&L is hanging out after close and drinking great champagne. The other night I had the pleasure of sharing a bottle of the Authentic Brut with my coworkers. It is fresh and textured with flavors of sweet meyer lemon and brioche. An undertone of dry stone and earth makes this a great (stinky) cheese or mushroom dish pairing (in my world, the stinkier the cheese the better!); and a long, refreshing finish keeps you going back for more!
Price: $29.99 Add To Waiting List

Trudon "Rosephile" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 08-14-2017
If you've read some of my other reviews, you may have noticed my slight obsession with Meunier dominant champagne. I think the grape adds a little depth and suppleness to such high acid wines, but by no means has the driven, mouthwatering acidity been lost in the fineness of the Rosephile. More than half of the wine is from the tough, yet highly valued 2012 vintage mixed with reserve wine. It is concentrated and complex with an undertone of floral elements that interact ceremoniously with a chalky minerality that sticks to the back palate.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 08-08-2017
To be under the "Authentique" label from the Le Brun de Neuville, the wine needs to be aged on the cork (instead of bottle cap) for at least 3 years (the rose is 3.5), and to be a majority of Chardonnay. This rose is about 2/3 Chard and 1/3 Pinot Noir. A portion of that Pinot Noir brings us the beautiful pink color and fresh raspberry flavors. The Chardonnay keeps is lifted with notes of citrus zest while a small barrel fermented portion adds a touch of spice and nuttiness. Layered with complexity, the rose screams quality and elegance.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$34.99

Laurent-Perrier "La Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-06-2017
Sometimes change it difficult, sometimes it is good, very good. The change we see from Laurent Perrier as their Brut label moves into their La Cuvee comes from the addition of Cote de Blanc vineyard sites to their already impressive holdings. The Cote de Blanc, located in the Marne, is known for growing almost exclusively Chardonnay and doing it well (as seen by the 6 Grand Cru villages!) With many options at their fingertips, LP decided to create the La Cuvee as their new entry level label with more, higher quality Chardonnay than the Brut and an extra six months on the lees to keep the texture we know and love. Elegant aromas of yellow apple and baking spice mirror that of the Brut while notes of sweet meyer lemon and hints of anise show this new label's complex nature. The grace and softness of palate from both the lees aging and blend of Pinot Noir and Muenier is not lost from the additional Chardonnay but a soft acidity lifts it slightly while carrying the wine to a long, delicate finish. And as always, Laurent Perrier is bringing all this at an incredible price!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-17-2017
The top of the top, the cream of the crop. The Grand Siecle is the "tete de cuvee" which means that it is produced from the very first pressing of the grapes. It is a blend of the very best juice from the very best vintages. The older vintages create the aromas of fresh brioche and a soft weight on the palate. Younger vintages keep the wine fresher with notes of bright lemon and white stone. The two characterics brought together to create a balanced and complex champagne.

1999 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-16-2017
While I tend to be very impatient with my champagnes, the 1999 is a perfect example of good things coming to those who wait. The '99 vintage is more similar to the more recent 2006 vintage- a little more ripeness and softness in the bottle- but the wine has not lost a sense of young acidity from start to finish. It is accompanied by developed fruit and a sense of apple skin on the palate. Complex spice and earth characters peak through creating more intrigue as the weight and texture of the wine brings a sense of elegance on the palate. Absolutely perfect!
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Grande Sélection" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-13-2017
As my colleagues have said- this wine is all about the lees. 7 years give this wine an elegance of weight down the mid palate while the Pinot Noir dominance gives a tart fruit character. That small addition of high quality chardonnay brings bright meyer lemon flavor and enough acidity to keep the wine long lived on the palate. I can see this wine being extremely food friendly- a grilled swordfish or a baked chicken would be perfect pairings!
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Cuvée de Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-10-2017
Most often Pinot Meunier is the backup dancer to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Champagne, but Fallet-Dart has taken the chance to bring it center stage in their Grand Reserve! I fell for PM-heavy Champagnes last year when I had one from Michel Loriot, and they continue to stun me with their suppleness, bold aromatics and concentration while still being fresh, long lived, and elegant. The Grand Reserve checks off all those desired characters and is extremely food-friendly. My fiance and I enjoyed this with a rotisserie chicken, fresh bread and cheese—absolutely delicious! It is weighted enough to stand up to the rich meal while the unanticipated acidity refreshes the palate. With that said, I think the wine is extremely versatile and could be paired with lighter dishes such as sautéed white fish with a white bean and tomato salad or even a grilled chicken salad. Either way, I will be drinking it again soon!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Mas Codina Brut Rosé Cava Penedes
Review Date: 06-09-2017
How many hand picked, hand riddled sparkling wines can you find for $12.99? Not many I think! We have all been lucky enough to enjoy the Mas Codina brut for the past few seasons and now we can enjoy the rose! Being from the hot, dry region of Penedes, the Pinot Noir grapes are picked in early August to keep the sugar levels down and the acidity up to create a dry, fresh rose. The wine is filled with the classic Pinot Noir notes of fresh berries and ripe cherry with a dry, chalky backbone that makes the wine non-stop!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-14-2017
The Chardonnay dominant champagne has the perfect amount of Pinot Noir to give weight, texture and depth of fruit to the zesty acidity. It is aged on the cork for five years which adds a creamy complexity and a long, spiced filled finish.