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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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

2011 Joseph Swan "Cuvée de Trois" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 1-16-2014
Joseph Swan is my favorite of all Sonoma Pinot Nois, and the wines from this small producer are great across the board. This 2011 Cuvee De Trois is light in color and alcohol and big on savory flavor. The nose reminded me of chocolate cherries and catnip, and the flavor was wonderfully dry, serious, earthy Pinot Noir. This will make a great partner from everything from roast chicken to rack of lamb, and older vintages have proven that this wine develops wonderfully in the cellar. Great stuff!
Top Value! Drink from 2014 to 2031
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart 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 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 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: $24.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

Club Price: $24.99
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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

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

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

1982 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Reserva
Review Date: 11-7-2013
The brick colored 1982 Bodegas Riojanas Monte Real Reserva impressed me with its woodsy, red cherry tempranillo bouquet and purity on the palate. This is fabulous mature wine for graduates of aged Rioja, as the tannins are completely resolved without sacrificing focus on the finish. This would be a very special bottle for a leg of lamb!
Price: $119.99 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!

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