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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2002 Ruinart "Dom Ruinart" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 8-27-2014
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

2013 Hans Wirsching Iphöfer Kronsberg Scheurebe Kabinett Trocken (Dry)(ships as 3L)
Review Date: 8-27-2014
This super exotic white wine was one of my favorites from yesterdays 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

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

2012 Mount Trio Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot Great Southern
Review Date: 8-19-2014
Please ignore the word "Merlot" on the label--this is 94% Cab and tastes like it! This Great Southern Cabernet Sauvignon from Mount Trio is the best deal in ripe, curranty wine in the store, and folks looking for a good value in this variety should by a case right away! While it has plenty of ripe fruit, it isn't jammy or overwrought... It will have you coming back for more.
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Sittella Verdelho Swan Valley Western Australia
Review Date: 8-19-2014
Serious wine lovers should take note of this extraordinary and very serious Swan Valley Verdelho from Sittella. Out of 33 wines from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in our staff tasting, I thought this was the most compelling. Be prepared--it is a high acid style and the last thing I would recommend for folks who prefer buttery, soft whites. I reminds me very much of the best, old vine Aligotes from Burgundy with its concentration, high-toned fruit and laser-like focus... All it needs is some oysters!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart JH 92 BC 0

2012 Framingham Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 8-19-2014
Today's staff tasting was full of some of the best values in Pinot Noir I have tasted in a long time. The Framingham was one of the stars of the day. This big, spicy bacon and maple, ripe black fruit Pinot showed that their is more than just subtle style being made in Marlborough. If you like the wines of Santa Lucia, but are open to spending $25 instead of $50, you should check this big, charming Pinot out!
Top Value!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart WS 90 BC 0

2013 Springvale Vineyards "Melrose" Pinot Noir Tasmania
Review Date: 8-19-2014
Most of the time, when Pinot Noir is under $20, we only hope that it is red, wet and tastes OK. This Tasmanian wine from Springvale Vineyards breaks the price barrier with very good quality, generous, beet and cherry aromatics as well as good weight and fruit on the palate. A must try for Pinot Noir lovers looking for everyday wine!
Top Value!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Sittella Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 8-19-2014
This clean, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon blend from Margaret River in Western Australia offers incredible value. The Sittella is very poised, light bodied exceptionally long finishing. I loved the subtle honeyed notes and poised texture and can't wait to server it with a lobster roll or just by itself!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cut Spike Nebraska Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 8-15-2014
This rich, layered whisky shows just how good young craft malt can be. I am not a believer in paying a high price for young stuff just because it comes from a small hands-on distillery. It has to be in the bottle, and the Cut Spike has the stuffing to justify the price. It is rich and textural without being over the top, and has layers of complexity that caught me by surprise. If you are interested in seeing how good a new distiller can be, check it out!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-14-2014
The Louis Roederer Cristal is a famous Champagne, and deserves to be an even more famous wine. This all estate grown Champagne comes from fifty hectares of the chalkiest, oldest vine sites on Roederer's 240 hectare estate. They farm these vineyards especially for Cristal, restricting the yields, and for many of the plots farming organically. This 2006 reminds me very much of the 2002 when it was this age; creamy and very mineral at once. It manages to have a full body and retain an extraordinary chalky freshness--I think this will be one of the greats.
Drink from 2014 to 2056

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