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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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

Lot 40 Single Pot Still Canadian Rye Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 1-15-2014
Great rye whiskey is not easy to come by at any price and great Canadian rye is even harder to find. This Lot 40 is clearly the best rye in the store and one of the best that I have tasted in a decade. With a wonderful bouquet of Christmas spice and a complex array of flavors, this Canadian will please the pickiest of whiskey fans. The fact that it still comes across as easy going and moreish even with the wild rye flavor and layers of complexity made a big impression on me. I will make room in my cabinet!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Graham's Vintage Port
Review Date: 1-8-2014
What a classic! This great vintage port is a must for anyone who has an anniversary or child born in 2011. It not only has the classic black fruit sweetness of Graham, but layers of Spanish root complexity. I found this 2011 to have both the richness of the vintage and the great vinous character of the very best of wines. This will be a great one for the future, with grip, acidity and length for the ages!
Drink from 2021 to 2061

Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-6-2013
I can't think of a single bottle of Champagne at K&L that has brought me such consistent pleasure as the Ariston Aspasie Carte Blanche. The Ariston family has worked very hard to deliver this great bottle to the Champagne lovers of the world. Most producers age their Champagne for less than three years in the bottle before shipping, but the Carte Blanche gets five years. It is entirely estate grown by one of the most careful growers in the business. On top of all that it is made in one of the most modern, temperature controlled wineries of any small producer that I have visited. The result is one of the best aperitif bottles that we sell; toasty and full, yet refreshing and crisp, a perfect balance between aged complexity and youthful vigor. And then there is the price--so fair that Cinnamon and I have had the opportunity to impact the world supply with our consumption! Don't miss it.
Top Value!
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Glenmorangie 18 year old Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 11-21-2013
If you are a fan of single malt, this whisky should not be overlooked. We tasted this blind at our staff spirits tasting and it impressed me with its sweet and savory nuttiness, rich oily texture and long, polished finish. This is top notch unpeated whisky that will please the connoisseur without alienating the initiated.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Croix Mouton, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 11-5-2013
The precocious 2011 Croix Mouton has all the virtues of the best Bordeaux Superieur and made me feel like I was in a Paris bistro eating steak frites as soon as I tasted it. This plummy, soft wine is so approachable and fun without being flabby or weak in any way. Bordeaux isn't all expensive, and this bottle is far superior to domestic Merlot blends at this price or even the $20 mark. Yum!

Russell's Reserve 10 year old Small Batch Bourbon 750ml
Review Date: 10-29-2013
My Bourbon of choice for sipping after dinner, the 10 Year Old Small Batch from Jimmy Russell is one of the great values in our extensive collection. The high toned savory rye flavors balance the sweetness of the corn to make this one of the most grown up, focused Bourbon's that we have at any price. I am never without a bottle in my liquor cabinet!
Top Value!
Price: $33.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon 750ml
Review Date: 10-29-2013
The best value in Bourbon might be the best value in any spirit! If you haven't had this in a while, you owe it to yourself to pick up a bottle, you will not be disappointed. This spicy whiskey has plenty of sweet corn bread aromatics and flavors and a full rich texture. This is my go-to Bourbon for all of my drinks, and great neat as well. Don't count out the kick'n chicken!
Top Value!
Price: $20.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1989 Couly-Dutheil "Baronnie Madeleine" Chinon
Review Date: 10-29-2013
I love having mature wine on the shelf at reasonable prices. This special Baronnie Madeleine bottling from Couly Dutheil made a huge impression on Cinnamon and I. She had prepared a white bean soup with a smoked ham hock, along with some Gruyere gougers for our Saturday night meal and requested a Chinon to go with it. When I saw this on the shelf, I couldn't resist! It turned out to be the best Loire red that either of us has ever had, with incredible sweet rosemary and black olive aromatics, completely resolved tannin and light, elegant, lifted body. The finish went on and on, and this Chinon went perfectly with the dinner. Wow!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 Basilio Izquierdo "Acodo" Blanco Rioja
Review Date: 10-25-2013
Wow- I have never had white Rioja like this before! On a scale similar to the best white Bordeaux, this complex white is full of lanolin in the mouth and has one of the longest finishes of any wine that I have tasted this year. The Basilio Izquierdo Acodo has persistence that one wouldn't even hope for in a $100 bottle of wine, so if you want something adventurous and exotic, it will not disappoint! What a bottle!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 10-17-2013
This luscious blanc de blancs is very different than the laser precise 2004 that preceded it and fans of wines like Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne are going to flip for it. Made from two plots of over 50 year old vines, one in the Grand Cru of Oger called the Chenys and one in Mesnil called the Derriere Maison, this is one of the ultimate expressions of Chardonnay that we have to offer. These plots pre-date the clones, and are selection massal, giving the wine more complexity at the cost of yield and ease of farming. When I opened this for the staff on Tuesday we were knocked out by the nutty opulence of this Champagne and its generous croissant nose. This should continue to improve until 2025, but my first bottle won’t last the night… I have a Dungeness crab ready to pair with this in just a few hours!
Drink from 2013 to 2025
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1997 Potensac, Médoc
Review Date: 10-8-2013
Cinnamon and I are on a very strict diet, and one of the most important parts of that diet is eating steak and drinking claret once a week. Bordeaux is magic with steak. I know that many of you might think it is less than cutting edge, but this pairing is a classic for a reason. Recently we picked up ¼ of a steer from Fred Manas at Double Bar O ranch in Esparto, CA and this past Friday we indulged in a T-Bone from our haul. We gave it four days of dry age in the fridge, added salt and pepper and tossed it in the cast iron pan. We let it rest with a dab of black truffle butter on top and made some fries and a salad to go with it. The 1997 Potensac, Médoc, $26.99 is one of the most youthful 1997’s I have tasted, and needed the hour that we gave it in the decanter. It is very, very dark, and if I had tasted it blind I am positive I would have missed the vintage. That being said, I think the wine has a lot of charm now as well as power. This is a virile wine with plenty of strict tannin and acidity, but with plenty of black currant fruit to balance it out. It was perfect with the steak, but I would not trifle with this wine with finger food. It got better and better as the night went on and by the last glass was quite layered and complex. This is a steal and $26.99. If there is a steak in your future, don’t miss it!
Drink from 2012 to 2020
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

City of London Gin 1L
Review Date: 9-19-2013
This is the new house pour for Cinnamon and I. It is a good high juniper style with plenty of excellent ginny taste. I love it for gin and tonics with fever tree, but best of all I love it for Negroni's. This, Campari and Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth don't all come in liter bottles for no reason- in equal proportions they make my favorite fresh mixed Negroni!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-17-2013
The ultimate sushi Champagne! The Laurent Perrier Ultra Brut is quite austere Champagne, even though it was aged for over 10 years on the lees, but it comes alive when paired with raw fish. The precision of this wine will thrill you with everything from toro to unagi. Try it out, you won't be disappointed.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart ST 91 BC 0

Absolut Elyx Single Estate Vodka 1L
Review Date: 5-15-2013
The Absolut Elyx Single Estate impressed me with its effortless presence, it seemed to tease me with a hidden flavor or texture, and this hard to describe but easy to appreciate vodka changed the way that I think about the whole category. Since I tasted it yesterday with Mr. Driscoll I have not been able to stop thinking about it! Vodka is not an easy thing for a wine guy to get excited about. It is meant to be flavorless, which seems like a strange goal for something that goes in your mouth. If you have been drinking Grey Goose or Chopin and want to see what one of the world’s top producers of vodka can do when they really put their mind to it, this is bottle is a must.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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More Favorites

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

2013 Charles & Charles Washington Chardonnay ($9.99)

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

2012 Colonias de Galeon "Ocnos" Roble VdT Sierra Norte de Sevilla ($14.99)

2013 Colonias de Galeon "Petit Ocnos" Tinto Vino de la Tierra de Sierra Norte de Sevilla ($12.99)

2012 Bernabeleva "Arroyo del Tortolas" Garnacha Vinos de Madrid ($39.99)

2011 'B' de Basilio Blanco Rioja ($49.99)

2011 Clos des Fous "Grillos Cantores" Cabernet Sauvignon Alto Cachapoal ($14.99)

2009 Bodega Weinert "Carrascal" Red Lujan de Cuyo ($14.99)

2013 Tinhof Neuburger Burgenland ($22.99)

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)

2013 Philippe Tessier Cheverny Blanc ($18.99)

2012 Nicolas Joly Les Vieux Clos Savennières ($36.99)

2013 Josef Leitz Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Spätlese ($21.99)

2007 Reinhold Haart Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese ($34.99)

2001 Tertre Daugay, St-Emilion ($24.99)

2001 Moulin Haut-Laroque, Fronsac ($29.99)

2001 Corbin Michotte, St-Emilion ($39.99)

2013 Quarter Acre Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay ($14.99)

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne ($39.99)

2008 Ariston Aspasie Brut Champagne ($39.99)

Amaury Coutelas "Cuvée Louis Victor" Brut Champagne ($39.99)

2013 Eric Cottat Sancerre ($18.99)

2012 Ellero "Pisa Terrace" Pinot Noir Central Otago ($29.99)

2012 Elephant Hill Pinot Noir Central Otago ($24.99)

2014 Cognizant Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough ($14.99)

2013 Château Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet ($11.99)

2013 Château de Montfaucon "Comtesse Madeleine" Côtes du Rhône Blanc ($16.99)

2013 Chante Cigale Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc ($29.99)

2012 Champy Bourgogne Chardonnay "Signature" ($19.99)

2012 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($29.99)

2013 Cakebread Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($25.99)

2007 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Reserva ($19.99)

1999 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja ($19.99)

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

2013 Blason Friulano Isonzo ($9.99)

2012 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir ($22.99)

2009 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Brunello di Montalcino ($29.99)

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

2012 Abtei Muri Sudtirol "Weiss" (Super Bianco) ($29.99)