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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Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-21-2014
Non-vintage Champagne does not get better than this. The Paillard family makes a statement with this great cuvee and show how very serious that they are about quality. All of the details have been studied and sweated over to make this wine, from planting only massal selected vines, to working towards an organic certification. This is Champagne that has power without losing its drinkability, and richness without sweetness. If you are only going to try one new Champagne this year, this should be it!
Drink from 2014 to 2019
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart WS 92 BC 0

2004 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Vintage Champagne
Review Date: 3-21-2014
Cinnamon and I drank this with some seared Ahi tuna and roasted vegtables and we were blown away by the quality. When we sat down, the first thing I noticed about the Champagne was how good it looked in the glass. The wine has a light gold color and a fine streamer of compact bubbles that form quite a nice halo on the top of the glass. Aromatically the 2004 delivered on the promise of top vintage Champagne with a complex array of dried fruit, pie crust and walnut on the nose. In the mouth it is concentrated and authoritative without being heavy, and has the kind of texture that rarely comes for under $100. The finish showed off the best features of the 2004 vintage, with chalky focus and a finish that I can almost still taste the next day. The Pierre Paillard went very well with the Tuna, with the rare Ahi bringing out the deep cherry fruit of the Pinot Noir and the tangy soy almost mirroring the chalk on the finish. I wish that Quentin and Antoine Paillard had been over to check it out, as the combination was far from a traditional French pairing! As usual with a great bottle of Champagne, Cinnamon and I thought it disappeared to quickly… I am looking forward to the magnums being released next year!
Drink from 2014 to 2034
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

Henriot "Souverain" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 1-30-2014
This is one of the last great deals in grand marque Champagne! The house of Henriot is one of the last of the big name negociants to stay independent, and that independence has allowed them to focus on quality in the bottle. This Champagne is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay from 25 crus within the region, many from their own 87 acre estate. The Souverain has a lovely toasty quality that is nicely balanced by a refreshing zing. It is a perfect aperitif!

Lost Spirits Distillery 68% California Navy Style Rum 750ml
Review Date: 1-29-2014
Today we were treated to our rum ration here at K&L courtesy of Lost Spirits, and I was very impressed. Not only will this 136-proof Navy strength not stop your gunpowder from igniting if you spill some on it, it will also warm your heart without burning your mouth. This high-test rum is very well integrated and has some nice rancio notes from the sherry treated casks as well as lovely round sweetness from the authentic molasses. Another round for the crew please!!!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Te Whare Ra (TWR) Chardonnay Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 1-29-2014
This Te Whare Ra was one of the stars of our New Zealand tasting. I found this Chardonnay to have a serious Chassagne-like nose and robust richness in the mouth. The wine comes together very nicely on the back with great focus, acidity and tremendous length. I think this would make a great ringer in a $50+ white Burgundy tasting!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Proprieta Sperino "Uvaggio" Costa della Sesia
Review Date: 1-29-2014
This super bottle of wine hails from the Northern Piedmont village of Lessona and is composed of 70% Nebbiolo, 15% Vespolina and 15% Croatina. I loved the generous, red rose aromatics of this wine and full dark fruit on the palate. This wine has some good black tea tannin, but just the right amount for drinking now with some hardy fair. I can't wait to have a bottle of this with some crock pot short ribs!
Drink from 2014 to 2025
Price: $26.95 Add To Cart RP 92 BC 0

2012 Mt. Beautiful Pinot Noir Cheviot Hills
Review Date: 1-29-2014
Finding great value in Pinot Noir is never easy. This grape variety is famously difficult to grow, and can never be made to yield high enough to meet a price point without compromising quality. This Mount Beautiful is a great exception to that rule, and shows great aromatics of cranberry and beet; complexity that I never hope for at a wine that is so reasonably priced. In the mouth it is medium to light bodied and has great fruit as well as a certain amount of earthiness. Yum!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Te Mata "Cape Crest" Sauvignon Blanc Hawkes Bay New Zealand
Review Date: 1-29-2014
What an impressive wine! This wonderful Sauvignon Blanc blend has the structure of great white Bordeaux, with lovely lanolin texture balancing its bright, grassy snap. The Te Mata Cape Crest has enough body to be enjoyed on its own, but will make a fantastic partner to lobster or scallops. Yum!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1999 Fugue de Nenin, Pomerol
Review Date: 1-22-2014
Mature Pomerol for $35? Thanks Clyde for finding us another great deal in aged Bordeaux! This wine has the plummy fruit and fancy mocha oak nose that seduces so many wine lovers. It is a ripe, full bodied wine that still keeps enough tension and balance to be good claret and not just another "international style" wine and will make a fine partner to an array of meat dishes.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2001 Malescasse, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 1-22-2014
I love my claret, and I am so pleased that I can have it often with fine values like this 2001 Malescasse. This quite nice vintage has been over looked by the critics has had the time to develop a real bouquet and the seamless texture that mature claret is famous for. I love the expressive leather and earth nose and the fully integrated black currant and oak flavors in this Haut Medoc. The long mineral finish had much more to offer than one should expect from a wine so reasonably priced. This is not a big wine, but it is a very well balanced one for your next steak dinner!
Drink from 2014 to 2021
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Larrivet Haut-Brion, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 1-22-2014
What an elegant Pessac! This bottle of Bordeaux is drinking very nicely at 10 years old, and delivers a classy experience for a small price. With a combination of poised, ripe Cabernet fruit and the earthy, leathery flavors that Graves is famous for, this wine delivers the goods. All it needs is a juicy New York and a loaded baked potato!
Drink from 2014 to 2024

2004 Malmaison, Moulis
Review Date: 1-22-2014
My top value steak wine in the store! Bordeaux, often demonized for being to expensive, offers some of the finest deals in the store- just don't go looking for the 20 biggest names! This bottle is really singing at 10 years old and has so much to offer the wine fan that doesn't need a bunch of extra fat and thickness in their Cabernet. This wine has an open, expressive bouquet of currants and some nice ripe fruit in the mouth. I love the focus of this wine and can't wait to have it with a simple steak & frites dinner!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2024
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Ca'Viola "Vilot" Dolcetto D'Alba
Review Date: 1-22-2014
Nothing beats a good bottle of Dolcetto for Tuesday night pizza night! Cinnamon and I took a break from cooking and ordered up some pizza, and while we were waiting for the pizza man decanted the Ca Viola Vilot. This wine had great dark, ripe fruit and fine balance thanks to some good black tea tannin on the back end. It was a charming, open drink that came alive with the pancetta combo that we had ordered. I can't wait to have it again!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart RP 89 BC 0

2011 Joseph Swan "Cuvée de Trois" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 1-16-2014
Joseph Swan is my favorite of all Sonoma Pinot Nois, and the wines from this small producer are great across the board. This 2011 Cuvee De Trois is light in color and alcohol and big on savory flavor. The nose reminded me of chocolate cherries and catnip, and the flavor was wonderfully dry, serious, earthy Pinot Noir. This will make a great partner from everything from roast chicken to rack of lamb, and older vintages have proven that this wine develops wonderfully in the cellar. Great stuff!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2031
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Hanzell "Sebella" Sonoma Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 1-16-2014
The top notch Hanzell Sebella would make a great ringer in a Puligny-Montrachet tasting. I found this medium to light bodied Chardonnay to have fantastic lime like raciness and excellent length. What a good bottle!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

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