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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2004 Veuve Clicquot "La Grande Dame-Silhouette Box" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-14-2014
This is exceptional stuff, made entirely from Grand Cru vineyards, and from a vintage that we have not seen the likes of since 1988, or after 2004. It is composed of 61% Pinot Noir from Ay, Verzenay, Verzy, Ambonnay and Bouzy and 39% Chardonnay from Avize, Oger and Mesnil. It has a lovely hazelnut nose, with high quality croissant toast, and a clean, long, crisp impression on the palate. This will be great for a special occasion tonight, or for many, many years to come.
Drink from 2014 to 2029

2006 Miguel Merino "Vitola" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 8-6-2014
This might be the best red under $20 in the store. If you have not tried any of the wines from super producer Miguel Merino, now is the time. This wine has such an open-knit, generous personality, some of the highest quality Tempranillo fruit I have ever tasted, and also texture, maturity and poise. It has it all... Just add lamb blocks!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2020
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 7-29-2014
This is a taste of the real thing. The Domaine Eden is one of the most perfectly balanced Chardonnays that we carry. It has excellent quality lime-like fruit, nice medium-to-light weight and a long finish. If you are looking for well-balanced wine, you have found it!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 7-23-2014
I love it when a producer does the aging for me! This 2005 Baron Louis from Chateau De Montfaucon has a lovely, developed bouquet of cool black fruit and seamless texture that only comes with the passage of time. The wine still has plenty of size and life, and would be great with your next tri-tip grill up!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WS 90 BC 0

Gosset Blanc des Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 7-3-2014
The dry focus of this Gosset made it a perfect partner for the sushi that I ordered from my friends at Akasaka in Menlo Park. The wine is very light and elegant, but even with rich salmon nigiri has plenty of flavor... It is a classy beverage, and I found it to be understated, subtle, and intriguing. I love Champagne that is hard to describe but easy to drink, and the Gosset Blanc des Blancs is a great example of wine that is easier to enjoy than to describe. The texture and bead are perfection, with plenty of tiny streamers to delight. I loved the subtle apricot aroma and flavor that contrasted the baguette-like toast in this wine, but the best feature was the finish--long, detailed and chalky. If you have a special occasion coming, this is a treat that you will love. It is a great bottle of Champagne.

2006 Baron Fuente "Grand Millésimé" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 7-2-2014
Tasting this wine for the first time in Epernay with Baron Fuente's Eric de Brissis was a great experience. I loved the wine for its poised creaminess, lovely nutty flavors and clean, long finish. This is a very elegant, subtle bottle of wine that will impress the most jaded of palates. In my notebook from that day, I wrote "tastes expensive"... Then he showed me the price. Deals like this don't come every day, and I would suggest that you join me in buying a case, or maybe two!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2021
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WS 91 BC 0

2013 Bodkin "The Victor's Spoils - Sandy Bend Vineyard" Lake County Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 6-25-2014
Wow - Bodkin canceled amateur hour with this excellent bottling! Don't let the reasonable price fool you, the Sandy Bench Vineyard Lake County Sauvignon Blanc is as focused, high-toned and precise as they come. This would make a great ringer in a tasting of Sancerre, and has minerality and length that one rarely finds in stateside SBs. If you like your white wine bright, don't miss this one!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

Lehmann "Jamesse Reference" Grand Champagne glass (ship as 6pk *in styrofoam only)
Review Date: 5-20-2014
I first tasted Champagne out of these glasses at the luxurious Relais and Chateau "Les Crayeres" in Reims, and immediately dreamed of carrying them at K&L. A few years later, the cellar master at Ruinart, Frederic Panaiotis brought Cinnamon and I pair as a gift, and we have been using them for special bottles ever since. This year, Scott and I had a chance to visit Gerhard Lehmann, the glassware manufacturer in Reims who produced them, and now they are finally here. I was shocked to find what a value price these great glasses sell for, since I believe that they are some of the very, very best in the world for the enjoyment of Champagne. Try them out, I promise that you will pick up new complexity in old favorites!
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart 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

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: Hidden View Price 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

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

2011 Jacques Bavard Monthelie Rouge
Review Date: 1-7-2014
The Bavard Monthelie is a favorite of mine, and I was very excited to see that the 2011's had arrived. Cinnamon and I made a special trip up to the Fatted Calf in San Francisco so we could make a great meal to go with our first bottle of this. We chose their stuffed pork rib roast and I prepared pommes de terre dauphinois to go with them. It was a great combo! The Monthelie had more complexity and intrigue than one would expect for under $30. This wine pulled off one of Burgundy's best tricks- it showed refreshing coolness next to the briny salt of the pork, and bright cut next to the richness of the gratin. We will be buying a case of this for sure!
Drink from 2014 to 2021
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart BC 0

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More Favorites

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2009 Bodegas Alejandro Fernandez "Pesquera" Reserva Ribera del Duero ($49.99)

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 Triasental ($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)

2009 Grand Corbin Manuel, 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)

2011 Moulin de la Gardette "Tradition" Gigondas ($24.99)

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne ($39.99)

2013 Domaine des Côtes Blanches Sancerre ($19.99)

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)

2012 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône ($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)

2013 Blason Friulano Isonzo ($9.99)

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

2001 Arnauld, Haut-Médoc ($18.99)

2013 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.99)

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

2013 Abbaye Saint Hilaire Coteaux Varois en Provence Rosé ($10.99)