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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Cain "Cuvée NV10 " Napa Valley Proprietary Red
Review Date: 9-18-2014
Wow! I have always loved the Cain NV releases, and this NV10 did not dissapoint. Instead of manipulating young wine to make it drinkable early, they blended two vintages to make a Cabernet blend that is naturally ready to go. The deft combination of even parts 2010 and 2009 has made for a curranty, fresh, medium bodied, fabulos drink!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart JS 92 BC 0

2012 Mount Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Rosé of Cabernet Franc
Review Date: 9-12-2014
I have been waiting for four long years for Mount Eden to make another Rose of Cabernet Franc! As soon as we tasted it, Cinnamon and I bought a case... Last night I drank a bottle out of that case with some fried rice that I made with leftover rib-eye and a selection of hot and savory peppers from our local farmers market. This easy to drink wine has a lot more depth and power than your average rose, and my dad, who I was enjoying it with said that it had a pronounced rhubarb flavor. I think that is a dead on description! This is vinous stuff, and reminded me of old fashioned, light Cote du Rhone. I am glad we have 11 more!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Talley/K&L Wine Merchants Edna Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 9-10-2014
This was one of the big stars from our comprehensive California staff tasting yesterday. This Chardonnay from Talley has a smoky, high toned nose and great richness that doesn't go over the top into heaviness. It is medium bodied, concentrated, dry and long finishing. I was very impressed by how much it reminded me of Chassagne-Montrachet and I think it is one of the best California Chardonnays in the store. Don't miss it!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2018
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Mount Eden "Estate" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 9-10-2014
For me, the Mount Eden Estate is the best Pinot Noir in California. No other producer has a track record of great, age-worthy wines that is as long or as deep. If you have read down this far, you are already aware of how great the 2012 vintage was in California for Pinot... And this may prove to be the best wine of this great vintage. On the nose, it has a kaleidoscopic complexity that puts it among the best young wines in the store. In the mouth the texture is perfect, the finish is firm, and goes on forever. It is high class stuff. It will be hard to stay away from, but the patient will be rewarded!
Drink from 2014 to 2042

2011 Ridge Vineyards "Monte Bello" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 9-10-2014
Tear up your vintage chart! Paul Draper and the team at Ridge have made a classic Monte Bello in 2011. This huge Cabernet blend has a great mocha and black currant nose, and a packed, leathery, dense feel in the mouth. If you are looking for something to drink standing up in the kitchen, THIS IS NOT IT. If you are looking for a great bottle for the future, YOU FOUND IT!
Drink from 2021 to 2041

2013 Bedrock "Old Vine" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 9-10-2014
This is California soul wine, and just the sort of thing that I like to bring with me to France as a gift for wine producers there. Zinfandel is our heritage vine here in California, and the Bedrock folks have made a classic in this 2012 Old Vine. It has tons of big, spicy, dark, wild berry fruit, and the acidic and tannic structure to back it up. This is not sweet, but it sure is rich, with plenty of texture and flavor. I can't wait to have it with some BBQ!
Drink from 2014 to 2023
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 9-10-2014
What a value! The folks at Ancient Peaks know how to manage the Paso Robles heat, and have come up with a Cabernet that tastes like a Napa bottling at double the price. It is rich, ripe and powerful, but also polished and seamless in the mouth. I think that anyone looking for mid-week Cabernet will be very impressed with this tasty wine!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2019
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Kronsberg Scheurebe Kabinett Trocken (Dry)(ships as 3L)
Review Date: 8-28-2014
This super exotic white wine was one of my favorites from yesterday's staff tasting. Hans Wirsching is one of the very top producers in Franconia, and this Scheurebe Kabinett from the Iphofer Kronsberg is a great example of why. It is rare to find a white wine with so much complexity and aromatic intrigue that also has so much electricity.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2002 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 8-28-2014
This Champagne is beautiful to look at and has a pale pink color and the kind of streamers that you only get with very long aging on the lees. When we first opened the bottle it was very yeasty and leesy, so much so that it put me off. The bouquet developed really nicely over the course of the meal, offering up chalk and Rainier cherry fruit as well as toast. In the mouth, this wine is so elegant and subtle that it wouldn’t be hard to miss its depth in a quick tasting. Like Cristal and Salon, it is a treat for the jaded palate, with lots of depth to offer, but no obvious, showy flash. It is ethereal, weightless and haunting stuff--and I would guess that the Sillery rouge has a lot to do with its delicacy. The Dom Ruinart Rose is the most elegant Champagne that I have drunk this year, and will no doubt prove to be one of my top Champagne experiences this year. If you have an occasion to spoil yourself with a very special bottle, this would be a great choice.

2013 Peter Lauer "Barrel X" Riesling
Review Date: 8-27-2014
Peter Lauer is part of a new breed of German wine producers who are trying to escape the confusing labels of the past. I like to joke that old fashioned German wine labels are the original "over sharing" since they contain so much information they become illegible. This producer keeps it simple, offering a wonderful example of the Saar's delicate, mineral driven, high electricity style of Riesling with his Barrel X. It has a touch of residual sugar, but just enough to bring out the fruit in this very refreshing wine!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Hogl Schon Gruner Veltliner Federspiel Wachau
Review Date: 8-27-2014
The Gruner Veltliner from Hogl has a wonderful nose of honey and peaches to go with the white pepper stamp of the varietal. I thought it was a real standout from our Austrian staff tasting because of these great aromas, as well as its excellent richness.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Venus Spirits Gin 750ml
Review Date: 8-27-2014
This one is coming home with me! I love it when a local, small production product delivers not just quality, but also excellent value. The wonderful, creamy texture of this gin is balanced by high toned citrus and grounded by clean juniper. I can't wait to get some fever tree tonic, lime and obnoxiously large ice cubes into this... It will be hard just to have one.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1989 Lanessan, Haut-Medoc
Review Date: 8-25-2014
I am glad that I wasn’t given this wine blind, because I would have missed it entirely. It was an impressive dark color and looked quite young in the glass. The bouquet had an amazing aroma of lavender in it, and that combined with a warm earthiness made it a dead ringer for old-fashioned Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Since my experience has taught me that first impression is always the most accurate when tasting blind, I would have blurted out Châteauneuf-du-Pape… And been dead wrong! The seamless, medium-bodied texture of the wine was all claret, and it lead into a mineral strewn, lively, long finish. I have often heard the term “exotic” applied to the very warm and ripe 1989 vintage, and now I know why. This is a truly exotic Bordeaux, but without the excess baggage of alcohol, wood and clumsy thickness that one usually has to endure to get that exoticism. If you have occasion to drink a special bottle of claret, this is a great candidate!
Drink from 2014 to 2029
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart WS 90 BC 0

2012 Baricci Rosso di Montalcino
Review Date: 8-21-2014
I drank this very good Rosso Di Montalcino last night with Cinnamon's divine eggplant Parmesan. This wine is perfect for any dish that calls for something big and Italian, and has plenty of ripe, extroverted Sangiovese cherry fruit. The texture is lush, without going all the way over to the heavy side. The folks at Baricci have delivered again!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Grey's Peak (Greystone) Pinot Noir Waipara
Review Date: 8-19-2014
Wow! I often tell customers that Pinot Noir is just too difficult to grow, too temperamental to make, and in far too high of demand for there to be great deals in it. The Greystone has proved me wrong. This reminded me of some of the best Pinot of the Russian River with its ripe, wild berry fruit and bacon nose and full body. This impressive, showy, long-finishing wine is a real discovery, and because of our direct relationship with the producer, a fantastic value.
Top Value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 96

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