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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Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 2-15-2013
I was lucky enough to drink this last with Krug's CEO, Margareth Henriquez. Margareth explained the new codes on the backs of the bottles, that allow the Champagne lover to learn the disgorgement date, year of the base harvest of the wine as well as the number of vintages blended in and the oldest of them. She was far too modest about this new feature, as it reverses the secretiveness for which Krug has long been known. Now, thanks to her influence, Krug is one of the most transparent houses. The bottle that we had was from batch 311032, based on 2004, and composed of 121 different wines from 12 different vintages going all the way back to 1990. It was disgorged in the fall of 2011. All of this can be learned by going to www.krug.com and entering the code. Our bottle was Krug at its toasty, extroverted best, with plenty of buttery brioche and mid-palate weight. It also had typical 2004 zing and acidity, and showed attractive aspects of both youth and maturity.
Drink from 2013 to 2023

Hennessy Paradis Cognac 750ml
Review Date: 2-14-2013
I count myself very lucky to have had a chance to taste this monument of Cognac on a number of occasions, and it has never failed to impress. The last time I tasted it we had it right next to the unbelievably expensive (as if $800 wasn't expensive!!!) Richard Hennessy- and I preferred the Paradis. Made with Cognac's dating all the way back to 1800's, this unbelievable brandy balanced pure grapey fruit with Amontillado like rancio effortlessly. There is no substitute for time and the patience of Hennessy delivers a product of both incredible pleasure and complexity.
Price: $849.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Hennessy "Black" Cognac 750ml
Review Date: 2-14-2013
This very light, smooth Cognac is Hennessy's blend for cocktails, and it is a great one for that purpose. It is also a great contrast to the other cocktail specific Cognac we carry here at K&L, the high proof Ferrand 1840 Formula 90 proof Cognac, which is much heavier. I need both for my bar! The original Manhattan was made with Cognac, not Bourbon, and the Hennessy Black is the perfect ingredient for this classic. Stir two ounces of Hennessy Black with two ounces of Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth and a dash of Regan's Orange Bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain and serve up. Enjoy!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cocchi Aperitivo Americano Rosa 750ml
Review Date: 2-13-2013
If you are a fan of bitter aperitivo's, the Cocchi Americano Rosa can't be missed. This bottle was open in the K&L tasting bar at the same that I was doing the staff Champagne seminar, and between groups I could not resist making a little Champagne cocktail with it. It was spectacular mixed with half good quality blanc de blancs, and also quite tasty on its own. I am going to buy a bottle today and try it at home in a black (or shall I say Rosa?) Manhattan with Elmer T. Lee Single Barrel Bourbon and a Luxardo Maraschino Cherry!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Daniel Ginsburg "Grande Reserve Sous Bois" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 2-12-2013
We kicked off the 2013 K&L staff party with a case of this, and loved it for its complexity; complexity that was arrived at through patience. With eight years of ageing on the lees, it is hard to believe that the retail price is so reasonable. If you love the "English style" of Champagne, with brioche and richness at the forefront, and plenty of Christmas spices on the long finish, you will love this wine. It went exceptionally well with the ham crostini that was being served as an appetizer!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 2-9-2013
These are more than just cute half bottles, this is the benchmark in rose Champagne, and it deserves every bit of its fame. I find it elegant and balanced every time that I have it, and the blushing pink color is always perfect. If you are looking for a famous producer that delivers the goods, the Billecart Salmon Brut Rose Champagne is a great choice. I like the wine best as an aperitif, the only thing it need to pair with is a good glass.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 2-9-2013
Nothing is better than Champagne from magnum, and this is the benchmark in rose Champagne, and it deserves every bit of its fame. I find it elegant and balanced every time that I have it, and the blushing pink color is always perfect. If you are looking for a famous producer that delivers the goods, the Billecart Salmon Brut Rose Champagne is a great choice. I like the wine best as an aperitif, the only thing it need to pair with is a good glass.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 2-9-2013
This is the benchmark in rose Champagne, and it deserves every bit of its fame. I find it elegant and balanced every time that I have it, and the blushing pink color is always perfect. If you are looking for a famous producer that delivers the goods, the Billecart Salmon Brut Rose Champagne is a great choice. I like the wine best as an aperitif, the only thing it need to pair with is a good glass.

Bruno Michel "Les Roses" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 2-9-2013
This was the most controversial (and also one of the best selling) Champagnes at our recent pre-Valentine's day tasting. One taster described it as tasting like shoe leather, and many others described it as savory and the best of the day. It might be my favorite rose Champagne in our stock and pairs perfectly with cedar plank salmon and no more than one other person... Unless you have extra bottles! Deep, intense and very red wine like in flavor you need to be ready for it before opening it!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Marguet Pere et Fils Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 2-9-2013
This is our driest rose, and was a huge hit at the pre-Valentine’s day rose Champagne tasting this year. If you like a wine with lots of red fruit pinot power, but without any trace of heaviness or sweetness, you love the Marguet Pere Et Fils Brut Rose. It tastes great by itself, but will also pair very well with starters like lox or stuffed mushrooms.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Franck Bonville Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 2-9-2013
Rose is great to have around in half bottles and this elegant, driven Champagne is my top rose for serving as the aperitif. A colleague of mine once bought a case of this in 750's for his wife, and half of it was consumed the first night at a quite small dinner party... So maybe a half bottle is too small for something this tasty.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Franck Bonville Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 2-9-2013
This elegant, driven Champagne is my top rose for serving as the aperitif. A colleague of mine once bought a case of this for his wife, and half of it was consumed the first night at a quite small dinner party... The Franck Bonville Brut Rose is a little bit too easy to drink! If you want some of the intrigue of Pinot Noir but with the structure of a dry Blanc de Blancs, you have found it!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

La Caudrina "La Selvatica" Asti
Review Date: 2-1-2013
This tasty wine is almost full Champagne pressure at 5 atmospheres. It is produced from 37-year-old vines at about 900 feet. This spumatne is perfect for wine lovers looking for something a little bit drier, more bubbly and fuller bodied than Moscato d’Asti. I found it to have lots of exotic aroma, a nice mousse and a sweet but clean finish.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart GR 2 BC 0

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino 375ml
Review Date: 1-26-2013
Cocchi makes my favorite red vermouth. I use it for Manhattan’s, in a Negroni, or in my favorite Champagne cocktail, the Negroni Sbagliato. If you are interested in seeing the recipe, search "Negroni Sbagliato" on the blog (blog.klwines.com) to find it, complete with video. If you don’t mind waiting, you can also send me an email with the button above, and I’ll send you the link.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino 750ml
Review Date: 1-26-2013
Cocchi makes my favorite red vermouth. I use it for Manhattan’s, in a Negroni, or in my favorite Champagne cocktail, the Negroni Sbagliato. If you are interested in seeing the recipe, search "Negroni Sbagliato" on the blog (blog.klwines.com) to find it, complete with video. If you don’t mind waiting, you can also send me an email with the button above, and I’ll send you the link.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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