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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Lot 40 Rye 2012 Release Canadian 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

2010 Domaine Courbis Saint-Joseph
Review Date: 1-14-2014
This is a magnificent, subtle Syrah that comes to life after an hour or so in the decanter. Cinnamon and I paired this with duck crepenets from the Fated Calf butcher shop and we were thrilled with the combination. I feel lucky to have experienced Syrah that is understated and doesn't slap the drinker across the face with power or bore the drinker with monotone, exaggerated flavors. This Saint Joseph had laid-back pepper and cool blue fruit on its medium-bodied frame and finished with fine grain tannin and good acid. I would love to keep a few of these for a few years and try it again!
Drink from 2014 to 2025

2011 Churchill's Vintage Port
Review Date: 1-14-2014
This wonderfully open-knit 2011 has aromas of blackberry jam and vanilla and is one of the cleanest young vintage ports I have ever tasted. This wine is bound to gain complexity over the decades, and will be a great asset to any cellar!
Drink from 2021 to 2041

2011 Churchill's Vintage Port (375ml)
Review Date: 1-14-2014
This wonderfully open-knit 2011 has aromas of blackberry jam and vanilla and is one of the cleanest young vintage ports I have ever tasted. This wine is bound to gain complexity over the decades, and will be a great asset to any cellar!

2004 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne Magnum (1.5L)
Review Date: 1-14-2014
I just bought a case of these magnums for Cinnamon and I. This is my favorite Launois Special Club vintage yet. The 2004 vintage is a lean, long distance runner, with great acidity and outstanding transparency of terroir. The harvest's character matches perfectly with Launois delayed harvest policy (they pick about ten days after everyone else) and their two oldest vineyard sites (planted in 1952). This wine is electric, with a concentrated, mineral finish that goes on for a long time. I think this is one of the top wines of this great vintage, and I am happy to own a case of magnums!
Drink from 2014 to 2054
Price: $129.00 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

2011 Domaine Faiveley Mercurey "Clos Rond"
Review Date: 1-7-2014
What a coup for our wine clubs! This is a delicious, open knit Pinot Noir with a ton of extroverted raspberry fruit and a bright finish. Cinnamon and I had it with roasted chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese, and loved the wine and the pairing. It is a thrill to be able to have a producer like Faiveley at such a reasonable price!
Drink from 2014 to 2021
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

Club Price: $24.99
BC 0

2011 Philippe Faury "Vieilles Vignes" Saint-Joseph
Review Date: 1-7-2014
Last night I made the "full English" feast; leg of lamb, Yorkshire Pudding, roast potatoes and mint peas. I decanted this old vine Saint Joseph an hour ahead, and it was a wonderful partner to the food. Unlike most Syrah, this is a medium to light bodied wine of considerable restraint. I enjoyed the mocha like nose and the crisp, bright finish- it was perfect for the rich meal!
Drink from 2014 to 2021
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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

Michel Loriot "Palmyre" Brut Nature Champagne
Review Date: 11-13-2013
Out here on the West Coast, we celebrate winter with Dungeness crab, and the best thing that I tasted on my last trip to Champagne for any shellfish was the brand new Michel Loriot "Palmyre" Brut Nature Champagne. I can’t wait to get one iced down and on the table with the crustacean. With crab, scallops, mussels, clams or oysters this lovely bottle richens up, all the while cutting the richness of the meat. Open crab season, open, open!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

Club Price: $34.99
BC 0

Pierre Paillard "Acte 1" Grand Cru Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne (2008)
Review Date: 11-9-2013
Last night, Cinnamon and I had such a great experinece with our sushi and Chamapgne that I had to write about it. I found that this wine brought out the sweetness in the hamachi and the ahi highlighted the deep savor in the wine. I loved every sip of this wine, and might have hogged it a little. I was worried that the wine would be to rich to go with the vinegary Julie roll, but it had no problem with it, and brought out even more of the umami in this delicious treat. What a good bottle!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart WS 90 BC 0

Michel Arnould Verzenay Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-9-2013
Last night, Cinnamon and I had such a great experinece with our sushi and Chamapgne that I had to write about it. The Arnould started off on the austere side before the first bite of food, but with the sushi it was magic. It did particularly well with the ultra rich Akasaka roll, providing a clean foil to the deep fried tempura shrimp, eel and avocado bonanza. The fish brought out the hazelnut character that makes Champagne from this north facing cru so special and the completely dry finish refreshed the palate with every sip. This is going to be a repeat bottle with sushi for sure!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1964 Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-7-2013
What a treat for an old wine lover! The 1964 Faustino I Gran Reserva Rioja not only has the maturity of decades in the bottle, but also is a glimpse at another era of production, and a different set of values for greatness in wine. It comes from a time without 100 point scores, when greatness was more associated with light wines rather than heavy ones, and fine wine was a part of a civilized table instead of pageant style tastings. This Gran Reserva has a walnut/ ruby color and a sweet, woodsy compote bouquet. In the mouth it still has plenty of red, sweet fruit and some rancio flavors that add complexity. This tannin free wine will be a great partner to chorizo heavy paella!
Price: $199.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1973 Berberana Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 11-7-2013
The 1973 Berberana Reserva Rioja has arrived at a moment of complete integration, and is one of the most seamless, ethereal wines that I have had the pleasure of trying. The bouquet conveys a sense of roundness with savory perfume and dark fruit aromas. In the mouth the wine has resolved its tannins and has a velvety, mature texture that few wines ever achieve. The finish is cool and persistent, and I hope to have this wine again with some of the best lamb chops that I can find!
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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