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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1999 Thienot "Cuvée Alain Thiénot" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-27-2013
Maturity is a must for me in any wine that would be called great. If a wine hasn't had the time, it can only be potentially great! The 1999 Thienot Cuvee Alain Thienot has been given the time to develop, and last night at the Plumed Horse in Saratoga was a great moment to drink it. This Champagne had so much complexity and depth, but didn't become overwrought or heavy in any way. It was spectacular with the Berkshire pork belly with pickled red onion and spinach as the fatty richness of the pig brought out the mineral edge of this round wine. This is a great bottle for the most special of occasions!
Drink from 2013 to 2019

Thienot Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-27-2013
Last night I was lucky enough to be invited by Garance Thienot to the Plumed Horse in Saratoga for an incredible Champagne dinner. I hadn't been to this restaurant in more than a decade and the story about it being the biggest fine dining remodel in all of Silicon Valley must be true- it was amazing inside. We started the dinner off with this rich, full bodied, toasty Champagne that still had the snap to make a great aperitif. What a tasty wine!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

Club Price: $34.99
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2009 Cambon La Pelouse, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 4-23-2013
What a great value! It is a shame that so much of this super quality Bordeaux will be drunk to young. The 2009 Cambon La Pelouse Haut Medoc has the charm to make it accessible for early drinking and a super fair price, but its best days are ahead of it. This wine is classic, curranty Haut Medoc with plenty of minerality to balance the richness of the vintage. Put some in the cellar- you will thank me for it!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2029

2009 La Lagune, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 4-23-2013
If you are looking for great 2009 Bordeaux for your cellar, the 2009 La Lagune Haut Medoc should be at the top of your list. This property sits in the southern part of the Haut-Medoc and routinely out does its neighbors in Margaux with its generous, ethereal aromatics. This 2009 is concentrated, but the power is only part of the story. For me it is the overall balance and finesse of this classic claret that makes it so noteworthy- all it needs is time!
Drink from 2019 to 2049

2000 Daniel Ginsburg "Cuvée Sous Bois" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-23-2013
A slab of pate, a loaf of bread, a bottle of 2000 Daniel Ginsburg Cuvee Sous Bois Brut Champagne is all that was needed to make a spectacular evening! This rich bottle has all the flavor to stand up to the most flavorful pate, and all of the snap to refresh after each decadent bite. So far, this is on my short list of top Champagne experiences for 2013... Don't miss it!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2030
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 4-19-2013
One of the top wines tasted on my April trip was the 2002 Bruno Michel "Cuvee Millésime" Brut Champagne which is a new disgorgement. This current batch has four more years on the lees than the first bottles that we sold, and the dosage has been dropped to 5.6 grams per liter. This wine is so creamy and perfect texturally that it is easy to get carried away with. The honeyed pastry nose has a little hint of vanilla from the barrel vinification, but the chalky drive balances it perfectly. The pineapple like, subtle fruit of this great Champagne remind me so much of Meursault but the mineral finish could only be Champagne. Don’t miss this one.
Drink from 2013 to 2032
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 4-18-2013
This is great Champagne. Louis Roederer has been pushing quality like few others in the region over the last decade, and no wine shows the heights that they have reached as well as the Brut Premier. With massive investment in organic viticulture, including a massive purchase of 1er vineyards from Leclerc-Briant, a return to plowing in the vineyard instead of chemical treatment and obsession with every detail in the winery they have created something here that has no rival among the big names, especially at this price. The 1/3 of the fruit that they buy comes from growers like Benoit Marguet- so you know they are getting top stuff. While most of my time is spent advocating for single origin Champagnes, this bottle is a great argument for blending and the balance that cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon created here is second to none. This wine has a great brioche nose and plenty of vivacious sparkle. It is a perfect aperitif!

Moet & Chandon "Impérial" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-20-2013
This wine replaced the white star in the US market in the fall of 2009 as Champagne lovers here asked for a drier style. Starting in the summer of 2012 all the Imperial is labeled Brut and the dosage is the same worldwide- 9 grams per liter. They blend four batches of the imperial a year, keeping the winemaking team and bottling lines busy. When I drank this with Moet winemaker Elise Losfelt, she explained that the first blend in January following the harvest uses the most reserve wines- around 30%, while the last blend of the year will use around 20% because of the better maturity of the base vintage. Since they want a fresh style of wine at Moet, they only use one to two year old reserve wines. They age all of the Imperial for 30 months on the lees before release. This was certainly the best Imperial I have drunk, with a discreet nose of bread dough and apple-like Meunier fruit. It was easy to drink, dry and clean and a nice way to start an evening.

2005 Elisabeth Goutorbe Brut Champagne
Review Date: 3-16-2013
This is a fantastic wine, and is the best example of the village of Ay that we carry here at K&L. This south facing, very steep cru in the center of Marne valley is perfect for ripening Pinot Noir to full power, but also has the most pure chalk of any place in Champagne where this grape is grown. This tension between ripe Pinot Noir flavor and incisive chalkiness is the signature of Ay, and defines the 2005 Elisabeth Goutorbe Brut. Last night, Cinnamon cooked a Japanese feast of salmon, scallops, white rice and broccoli rabe tempura. I can't think of any wine on the planet that would have gone better with this meal. With plenty of sinewy black cherry Pinot fruit for the salmon and cutting Ay chalk for the rich scallop, I was in wine and food heaven. If you love Champagne, don't miss this wine!
Drink from 2013 to 2025
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1998 Bodegas Casa Juan Señor de Lesmos Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 3-7-2013
This Gran Reserva Rioja is great wine, and an unbelievable value for the quality. Cinnamon and I had this Bodegas Casa Juan Senor De Lesmos last night with thick cut pork chops and Spanish rice and were blown away by its class and intensity. This Rioja was one of the most concentrated and intense old school wines I have ever had. Rather than being blown away by oak, we were treated to intense savory red fruit and a laser finish that flattered the meal to no end. It held up to the spice in the rice with no problem and is on my list to buy today!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2028
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sanlucar de Barrameda (375ml)
Review Date: 3-7-2013
Manzanilla Sherry delivers so much pleasure for so little money... With the La Cigarrera Manzanilla Sanlucar De Barrameda it might be too much! Cinnamon and I cracked this little half bottle last night for the aperitif and enjoyed some Marcona almonds with rosemary with it. Before we knew it, that half bottle was in the recycling bin! This bone dry, electric Manzanilla has a nose of marzipan and sea air that took my mind back to Andalusia. This light, delicate bottle was way too easy to drink!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2010 McHenry Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
Review Date: 3-5-2013
Honest Pinot Noir at an honest price is one of the most difficult things to find in California right now. The incredible trend towards Pinot Noir drinking since the "Sideways" movie came out has inspired many overpriced, overripe, Syrah spiked wines that get big scores but lack the finesse that I look for from this varietal. The Mchenry Estate Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir gets it right with a pale purple/ violet color and a touch of beef on its generous red fruit nose. On the palate the charming candied cherry fruit and light body make this wine a perfect candidate for your next roast chicken!
Drink from 2013 to 2020
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 2-26-2013
I feel guilty for consuming too much of our allocation of this wine, but never when I am drinking it! I have had many great bottles of this, and one of the most memorable was not from the K&L allocation, but rather off the wine list at Bistro 7 in Epernay. I was dining alone, and it felt extra special and decadent to order a bottle just for me off of their fairly priced list. It went spectacularly with the rabbit terrine and even better with the seared turbot. The Bonville Prestige has ripe, round white fruit balanced perfectly by old vine top terroir, Avize chalk. This wine has texture to beat most of over $100 bottles of Champagne on our shelves!
Top Value!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart WS 92 BC 0

Sandeman "Royal Corregidor" VOS Oloroso Jerez (500ml)
Review Date: 2-22-2013
I had this last night with an English cheese course at home of Stilton, Cheddar and Cotswald and narrowly escaped drinking the whole bottle with Cinnamon. Old Sherry is hands down the finest value in all of fine wine and this is a great example. The youngest wine in this blend it at least 20 years old and the oldest goes back to the foundation of the solera in 1894. This great amount of time in wood, and the added complexity of blending nearly 100 harvests has created a wine of outstanding depth. The Royal Corregidor is full of the rancio and walnut flavors that make me flip for old Oloroso, and has just enough sweetness from Pedro Ximmenez to make it an ideal night cap. Take advantage of the deal!
Top Value!

Glenlivet 15 year old French Oak Reserve Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 2-20-2013
David Driscoll treated us to three flights of blind whisky in our last staff tasting. This was my favorite of the under $50 flight, and I was surprised to see it was the Glenlivet 15 Year Old French Oak Reserve that I had liked the best of the big producers. Nothing beats putting a brown bag over some bottles to make one more objective! The whisky had a light gold color, and a bright nose of lively malt and sweet vanilla. On the palate it was delicate, well balanced and super easy to drink. Don't count this out without trying it!
Top Value!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

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More Favorites

Gary Westby is also a fan of the following items. To become a fan of Gary Westby, click here to join Gary Westby's Personal Sommelier Service.
2009 La Cardonne, Médoc ($19.99)

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 ($16.99)

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 Bodegas Puelles Blanco Rioja ($9.99)

2012 Bodega Mendel "Estate" Malbec Mendoza ($24.99)

2013 Blason Friulano Isonzo ($9.99)

2012 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir ($22.99)

2012 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Rosso di Montalcino ($14.99)

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 ($13.99)