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 Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Vintage Champagne
Review Date: 3-21-2014
Cinnamon and I drank this with some seared Ahi tuna and roasted vegtables and we were blown away by the quality. When we sat down, the first thing I noticed about the Champagne was how good it looked in the glass. The wine has a light gold color and a fine streamer of compact bubbles that form quite a nice halo on the top of the glass. Aromatically the 2004 delivered on the promise of top vintage Champagne with a complex array of dried fruit, pie crust and walnut on the nose. In the mouth it is concentrated and authoritative without being heavy, and has the kind of texture that rarely comes for under $100. The finish showed off the best features of the 2004 vintage, with chalky focus and a finish that I can almost still taste the next day. The Pierre Paillard went very well with the Tuna, with the rare Ahi bringing out the deep cherry fruit of the Pinot Noir and the tangy soy almost mirroring the chalk on the finish. I wish that Quentin and Antoine Paillard had been over to check it out, as the combination was far from a traditional French pairing! As usual with a great bottle of Champagne, Cinnamon and I thought it disappeared to quickly… I am looking forward to the magnums being released next year!
Drink from 2014 to 2034
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart ST 91 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

2004 Malmaison, Moulis
Review Date: 1-22-2014
My top value steak wine in the store! Bordeaux, often demonized for being to expensive, offers some of the finest deals in the store- just don't go looking for the 20 biggest names! This bottle is really singing at 10 years old and has so much to offer the wine fan that doesn't need a bunch of extra fat and thickness in their Cabernet. This wine has an open, expressive bouquet of currants and some nice ripe fruit in the mouth. I love the focus of this wine and can't wait to have it with a simple steak & frites dinner!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2024
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2000 Kalin Cellars Livermore Valley Sémillon
Review Date: 1-16-2014
This Livermore Valley Semillon is a worthy challenger to many of the great white Bordeaux that we have on the shelf at much higher prices. I was stunned by freshness of this wine--it still has a green glint in the gold straw hue of the wine. While this wine is completely dry, the flavors remind me of honey and it has a full-bodied, rich mouthfeel. The finish is long with hints of caramel, but is still refreshing. Wow!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart RP 93 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

Vino Noceto "Nutz!" Amador County Sangiovese Blend
Review Date: 1-16-2014
I have never had a domestic Sangiovese that I liked well enough to recommend before this, but I can't recommend this one highly enough! This great value bottle from Amador has a lot of extroverted wild raspberry fruit framed with a dollop of American oak, good medium body and a slightly earthy, driven Sangiovese finish. This is a great weeknight red!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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

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

1991 Labégorce, Margaux
Review Date: 12-15-2013
If you are looking for an antidote to over-sized Cabernet Sauvignon, look no further. This old school, mature Bordeaux is just the wine for those of us who value maturity, complexity and restraint over youthful fruit, monolithic flavors and power. Cinnamon and I enjoyed this with a rib-eye that I prepared on our little hibachi over mesquite, and it was wonderful. The 1991 vintage is a very rare one to find, as so much of the crop was destroyed by frost. Luckily, Labegorce is near the water, and the harvest was saved. This herbal, light bodied claret will thrill wine lovers who want something that is the opposite of "cult" wine!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2016
Price: $29.99 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: Hidden View Price BC 0

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