Staff Favorites - Gary Westby

Gary Westby
Gary Westby  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
I started at K&L in February of 2000, after 4 years of working down the street for another retailer, and although I take care of the Champagne buying here at K&L, I love to drink wine from all over the world. I prize authenticity in wine, and love representative examples of many different styles, whether it is a spicy dry creek zinfandel or a mineral driven Manzanilla. I almost always drink my wine with food, and am drawn to food wines rather than the softer styles that are good for drinking on their own. My wife Cinnamon and I cook a lot of Italian & French food at home, and my list of wines reflects those food choices. I also love value, at every price point, and can't stand "prestige" labels that under deliver in the bottle. I love honest wines for the table. If you love good wine to go with your good cooking too, I think that by joining my personal Sommelier list you will be treated to a wide variety of wines that represent a strong value for money at what ever price range you feel comfortable with. Give it a try!


Reviews

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1989 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien
Review Date: 4-1-2015
This 1989 is still very dark and young, and I am glad that we gave it an hour and a half to air in the decanter. The nose shows off the purity and power of Cabernet Sauvignon from this hallowed area with some of the best dark cassis aromas that I have smelled. In the mouth, the wine is medium bodied, with great texture that has the potential to get even better with more time. The tannins are firm and the acidity fresh- I was very happy to have thick slices of marbled, prime New York steak to act as a foil to this big wine. Our bottle was also layered and complex with a nod to Pauillac showing through in pencil lead hints. Best of all it was super easy to drink despite its size and complexity; a virtue that only wines of great breed have.
Drink from 2015 to 2029
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Calera Central Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-20-2015
This Pinot is full of cool, brooding black cherry fruit and framed by high quality savory flavors. It is great to see a wine of such depth and character at this price in the current Pinot Noir market. Calera has delivered richness, power and length for a fair price with this excellent wine.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

2011 Ravenswood "Big River" Alexander Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 3-20-2015
If you like Zinfandel, you have to take advantage of this incredible deal. The single vineyard selections from Ravenswood are blue chip California soul wines, and all the more interesting in a cool vintage like 2011. This big, serious, manly wine has all of the brambly blackberry fruit and tannic structure that one could wish for in a Zin. It is also free of any jammy, overripe flavors or aromas. This bottle is crying out for a smoky pork shoulder tonight with a few hours of decanting, but should develop for a good number of years in your cellar as well!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

2013 Calera Central Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 3-20-2015
It is hard to believe how much wine the folks from Calera have delivered here for under $20. This robust Chardonnay is kissed with oak, but not dominated by it. It is rich and full bodied, but not flabby or heavy. The most impressive feature of this wine is the long finish- dry, mineral and serious!
Top Value!

2013 Mercer Canyons Columbia Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 3-20-2015
This light, clean, soft and easy Chardonnay is a real crowd pleaser. The folks at Mercer Canyons have delivered a real value with this- it has enough flavor for Chard fans to hang onto, but is dry enough not to weigh a drinker down.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

2012 Nalle Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 3-18-2015
This is the kind of wine that I want to bring to France to share with my winemaker friends there... Real California soul wine! Yes, it is sunny in California and yes, our wines should be rich and fruity. But that doesn't mean that our wines have to be heavy or hot! This nuanced, balanced Dry Creek Zin has great poise and elegance without loosing its wild berry fruit. Tasting Zin this good made me proud to be a Californian!
Drink from 2015 to 2022
Price: $37.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Nalle "Vinum Clarum" Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 3-18-2015
I thought that Zinfandel in this style had gone extinct. Luckily our California team is out looking for great stuff all the time, and their recent trip to Dry Creek reacquainted them with a classic; Nalle. This is perfect barbecue wine, with lots of wild, brambly fruit, low tannin, good acid and excellent poise and balance. The long finish on this wine surprised me- it has California soul!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2007 Joseph Swan "Trenton Estate" Russian River Valley Syrah
Review Date: 3-18-2015
I love it when Bryan Brick finds wines like this- aged to perfection, and priced to drink! This suave Syrah from Swan has a steak au poivre and blueberry nose and a supple texture from time-resolved tannin. If you are looking for a complex, multi-layered Syrah, look no further!

2012 Joseph Swan "Trenton Estate" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-18-2015
The Trenton Estate is always top notch, but often a backward wine that needs a lot of time to show its stuff. The precocious 2012 is an exception and shows very well not, and should have the legs to age for as long as you want to cellar it. This is one of the very best California Pinot's that we have at any price, made in the old school way, with plenty of savory, brambly intrigue to go with its solid California fruit. The finish is almost endless. This is a must try for any Califoria Pinot lover.
Drink from 2015 to 2027
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart ST 92 BC 0

2014 Banshee Sonoma County Rosé of Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-18-2015
This was a knockout, and perhaps my favorite wine from our domestic staff tasting this past Tuesday. I don't like many domestic rose's as they are usually to heavy and way to expensive compared to their French counterparts. Not this Banshee Sonoma County Rose Of Pinot Noir! This has the high toned fruit and mineral drive of a great Sancerre Rose, but with more mid-palate presence. This is top notch stuff!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-17-2015
I have been telling everyone who will listen that the 2004 vintage in Champagne is one not to miss. The region used to get "classic" vintages like this twice a decade, seasons that offered even weather, cool conditions and produced wines that are streamlined, bright and mineral. Not anymore... A vintage like 2004 has not come along since 1988, and there have been none since. This LP has all of the virtues of the vintage; spectacular length, elegance and lift, as well as the toasty richness that one expects from a long-aged vintage bottle from a great house. Don't miss this!
Top Value! Drink from 2015 to 2029

1999 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-9-2015
This Champagne is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and is 1/3 barrel fermented. It is aged for three years on the lees and is dosed at a tiny 3g/l of sugar. It has a pretty white gold color and an incredible bouquet of cream, high quality toast and even some Nutella. It is rich Champagne with plenty of texture, but the very low dosage snaps it right into focus. It has all the complexity one could ask for in a Champagne.

Drappier Charles de Gaulle Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-6-2015
The Charles de Gaulle might be the best deal in top notch grand marque Champagne at K&L. It is composed of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and is one of the most leesy, layered powerhouses in the building. If you like wines like the Bollinger vintage and the Pol Roger Winston Churchill, you should definitely try this Champagne. I found it to be very complex, with hazelnut, fine toast and Kimmeridgian minerality all in great balance. The texture and bead are as good as it gets. This is the first batch of this wine that is non-vintage, the last vintage dated Charles de Gaulle was the 2006. I am guessing that this is based on 2007 with reserves, but I don’t know for sure.

Lamoureux Rosé des Riceys
Review Date: 3-6-2015
This still, 100% Pinot Noir rose is made in tiny quantities in the town of Riceys in the heart of the Aube department. This manages to have both the bright, tannin free high tones of cool climate rose and the fuller, darker cherry fruit of a near-red Pinot Noir. This is an absolute must try for any complete imbiber of the wines of the Champagne region. To quote a great customer, it is a “Unicorn Wine”.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Drappier Rose Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-6-2015
This all Pinot Noir Champagne is made with a three day long maceration, rather than more common method of adding red wine for color and flavor. It is vinified in only stainless steel vats and moved by gravity to avoid oxygen and preserve freshness, and dosed at a fairly low 7g/l. This Champagne has a wild nose with plenty of black cherry Pinot authority and savor. In the mouth it is spicy, extroverted and fresh.

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More Favorites

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2011 Ravenswood "Vintners Blend" California Shiraz ($10.99)

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2010 Stonestreet "Estate" Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($34.99)

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2012 Neumayer Engelberg Grüner Veltliner Traisental ($18.99)

2013 Ebner Ebenauer Birthal Grüner Veltliner Weinviertal ($15.99)

2013 Philippe Tessier "Le Point du Jour" Cheverny Rouge ($22.99)

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2012 Nicolas Joly Les Vieux Clos Savennières ($36.99)

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2013 Eric Cottat Sancerre ($18.99)

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2012 Champy Bourgogne Chardonnay "Signature" ($19.99)

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2012 Bodega Mendel "Estate" Malbec Mendoza ($24.99)

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2013 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.99)

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