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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1999 Thiénot "Cuvée Alain Thiénot" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-27-2013
Maturity is a must for me in any wine that would be called great. If a wine hasn't had the time, it can only be potentially great! The 1999 Thienot Cuvee Alain Thienot has been given the time to develop, and last night at the Plumed Horse in Saratoga was a great moment to drink it. This Champagne had so much complexity and depth, but didn't become overwrought or heavy in any way. It was spectacular with the Berkshire pork belly with pickled red onion and spinach as the fatty richness of the pig brought out the mineral edge of this round wine. This is a great bottle for the most special of occasions!
Drink from 2013 to 2019
Price: $99.00 Add To Cart WS 93 BC 0

2005 Thienot "Cuvée Stanislas" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-27-2013
This classic blanc de blancs is so full of chalky drive and kissed with lovely white flower perfume that I had a hard time putting the glass down last night at the Plumed Horse in Saratoga. I loved the pairing of this Champagne with lightly smoked trout and white sturgeon caviar that Chef Peter Armellino had prepared as it brought out the complexity and depth in this amazingly refreshing Champagne.
Drink from 2013 to 2025

Thienot Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-27-2013
Last night I was lucky enough to be invited by Garance Thienot to the Plumed Horse in Saratoga for an incredible Champagne dinner. I hadn't been to this restaurant in more than a decade and the story about it being the biggest fine dining remodel in all of Silicon Valley must be true- it was amazing inside. We started the dinner off with this rich, full bodied, toasty Champagne that still had the snap to make a great aperitif. What a tasty wine!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart ST 90 BC 0

2009 Cambon La Pelouse, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 4-23-2013
What a great value! It is a shame that so much of this super quality Bordeaux will be drunk to young. The 2009 Cambon La Pelouse Haut Medoc has the charm to make it accessible for early drinking and a super fair price, but its best days are ahead of it. This wine is classic, curranty Haut Medoc with plenty of minerality to balance the richness of the vintage. Put some in the cellar- you will thank me for it!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2029

2011 Clos des Lunes (Domaine de Chevalier) "Lune d'Argent" Blanc, Bordeaux
Review Date: 4-23-2013
The little wine from Domaine de Chevalier delivers! The 2011 Clos Des Lune Argent Blanc has a light straw color and a very nice grassy, generous nose. On the palate it is light and bracing- perfect for white fish. I found the finish very impressive for an under $20 white, with the length of a much more expensive wine.
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 La Lagune, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 4-23-2013
If you are looking for great 2009 Bordeaux for your cellar, the 2009 La Lagune Haut Medoc should be at the top of your list. This property sits in the southern part of the Haut-Medoc and routinely out does its neighbors in Margaux with its generous, ethereal aromatics. This 2009 is concentrated, but the power is only part of the story. For me it is the overall balance and finesse of this classic claret that makes it so noteworthy- all it needs is time!
Drink from 2019 to 2049

2000 Daniel Ginsburg "Cuvée Sous Bois" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-23-2013
A slab of pate, a loaf of bread, a bottle of 2000 Daniel Ginsburg Cuvee Sous Bois Brut Champagne is all that was needed to make a spectacular evening! This rich bottle has all the flavor to stand up to the most flavorful pate, and all of the snap to refresh after each decadent bite. So far, this is on my short list of top Champagne experiences for 2013... Don't miss it!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2030
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-19-2013
One of the top wines tasted on my April trip was the 2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne which is a new disgorgement. This current batch has four more years on the lees than the first bottles that we sold, and the dosage has been dropped to 5.6 grams per liter. This wine is so creamy and perfect texturally that it is easy to get carried away with. The honeyed pastry nose has a little hint of vanilla from the barrel vinification, but the chalky drive balances it perfectly. The pineapple like, subtle fruit of this great Champagne remind me so much of Meursault but the mineral finish could only be Champagne. Don’t miss this one.
Drink from 2013 to 2032
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 4-18-2013
This is great Champagne. Louis Roederer has been pushing quality like few others in the region over the last decade, and no wine shows the heights that they have reached as well as the Brut Premier. With massive investment in organic viticulture, including a massive purchase of 1er vineyards from Leclerc-Briant, a return to plowing in the vineyard instead of chemical treatment and obsession with every detail in the winery they have created something here that has no rival among the big names, especially at this price. The 1/3 of the fruit that they buy comes from growers like Benoit Marguet- so you know they are getting top stuff. While most of my time is spent advocating for single origin Champagnes, this bottle is a great argument for blending and the balance that cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon created here is second to none. This wine has a great brioche nose and plenty of vivacious sparkle. It is a perfect aperitif!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

Club Price: $34.99
WE 92 ST 91 WS 91

2005 Pierre Moncuit Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-20-2013
This Champagne has an immensely creamy nose with hints of brioche and ripe pear. On the palate it shows the best of the 2005 harvest in Champagne with plenty of exotic, candied fruit and fancy pastry dough. This is rich and full bodied blanc de blancs and has a very good finish, which is focused but not austere in any way. I can’t wait to try this with some scallops!
Drink from 2013 to 2018

Pierre Moncuit "Cuvée Pierre Moncuit-Delos Grand Cru" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 3-20-2013
This wine has a big nose that is Meursault like in its scale but without the oak. I found it full of ripe fruit and fragrant wild flowers. On the palate it is dry and cutting on the back end but full and ripe up front. This all Mesnil, all estate Champagne really shows its class on the finish, which is very, very long for its low price. So good!

Moet & Chandon "Impérial" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-20-2013
This wine replaced the white star in the US market in the fall of 2009 as Champagne lovers here asked for a drier style. Starting in the summer of 2012 all the Imperial is labeled Brut and the dosage is the same worldwide- 9 grams per liter. They blend four batches of the imperial a year, keeping the winemaking team and bottling lines busy. When I drank this with Moet winemaker Elise Losfelt, she explained that the first blend in January following the harvest uses the most reserve wines- around 30%, while the last blend of the year will use around 20% because of the better maturity of the base vintage. Since they want a fresh style of wine at Moet, they only use one to two year old reserve wines. They age all of the Imperial for 30 months on the lees before release. This was certainly the best Imperial I have drunk, with a discreet nose of bread dough and apple-like Meunier fruit. It was easy to drink, dry and clean and a nice way to start an evening.

2004 Moët & Chandon "Grand Vintage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-16-2013
Cinnamon and I enjoyed this for the aperitif with some black and white truffle popcorn on Monday night this week. I love starting off the week with Champagne, and this 2004 surprised me by being my favorite current release of Moet Chandon Grand Vintage Brut that I have ever tasted. It had everything that makes 2004 such a great year in Champagne- clean, linear fruit, excellent focused acidity and a super long finish!
Drink from 2013 to 2024

1996 Moët & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Oenothéque" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-15-2013
This Dom isfrom one of the greatest vintages of the 20th century. This famed harvest is known as the 10/10 in the region, for combining very high ripeness (10% potential alcohol) with very high acidity (10 grams per liter of acidity). Region wide stats like this are very rare, since usually acidity drops as ripeness increases. This is the same wine as the 1996 Dom Perignon blanc, but with more time on the lees- effectivly an "RD" release. I tasted it yesterday at a Dom Perignon seminar and the boquet was extremely fresh, with lots of white-fleshed fruit touched by a bit of spicy bread character. On the palate the wine had a strong Pinot character with some meaty flavor, but the finish was an all Chardonnay affair, with length and minerality that go forever. The dosage is adjusted down on these more recently disgorged bottles, and that combined with the extra time on the lees make them very worth seeking out- especially in a vintage as great as 1996!

1997 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 3-8-2013
I have been following the wines of Haut Bergey in Pessac Leognan for many years and buy them on pre-arrival with regularity. In the last month I have opened a number of vintages from the cellar and enjoyed them very much, so I was thrilled to see the 1997 come in. This light to medium bodied claret will appeal very much to fans of the more herbal style of Cabernet. I loved its supple, seamless texture and almost Chinon like olive flavors. I bought some right away!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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