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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1997 Haut-Bergey, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 3-8-2013
I have been following the wines of Haut Bergey in Pessac Leognan for many years and buy them on pre-arrival with regularity. In the last month I have opened a number of vintages from the cellar and enjoyed them very much, so I was thrilled to see the 1997 come in. This light to medium bodied claret will appeal very much to fans of the more herbal style of Cabernet. I loved its supple, seamless texture and almost Chinon like olive flavors. I bought some right away!
Price: $24.99 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: $11.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2009 Cameron Hughes "Lot #285" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 3-6-2013
The Cameron Hughes Lot 285 doesn't just say Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon on the label, it delivers it in the glass. With a Cabernet market that is willing to accept "decent" for $50, it is refreshing to taste something authentic and delicious at under $25. This bold, powerful, curranty wine does not sacrifice its freshness for another point or two and has real Rutherford dust on the finish. Hurry in to get it before it is gone!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

2005 Miguel Merino Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 2-28-2013
Last night Cinnamon and I had this rich bottle of Rioja with thick cut pork chops and rice pilaf spiked with some good sour cream. It was a great match, and this very rich, more modern style wine had an opulence that did not interfere with the food friendliness of the bottle. I only decanted it 15 minutes ahead since we both had just come home from work, and we were hustling to get food on the table. That little bit of time in the decanter was all the wine needed to taste great. The Miguel Merino has a very dark color for Rioja and a nose full of the vanilla that I always look for in wines from this region. It also has a lovely coffee or even mocha like flavor running through the ripe black fruit that is at its core. This wine manages to have great sweet primary fruit without getting exagerated and to show some flashy wood without being taken over by it. We loved it with the food and the bottle disappeared far too quickly!
Drink from 2013 to 2020

2011 Waterkloof "Circumstance" Chenin Blanc Stellenbosch
Review Date: 2-27-2013
This is my favorite of the super strong Waterkloof Circumstance line of wines that we are representing here at K&L. This Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc has not only great fruit for drinking tonight, but the structure for ageing. Chenin is the national white wine grape of South Africa, and traditionally was called Steen here with history going back to the 17th century. The old vines used in this wine can handle the oak that is used in the elevage of this wine, and I believe it will evolve like the old vine Chenin from Chalone; slowly and beautifully. This wine has great cantaloupe like fruit and electric acidity. It is a steal at $20!
Top Value! Drink from 2013 to 2021
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

2012 Waterkloof "Circumstance" Sauvignon Blanc Stellenbosch
Review Date: 2-26-2013
The Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon Blanc has built up quite a following with our savvy customers and today at our South African staff tasting I got to find out why. This wine has a great slate like nose with high quality white fruit and a touch of fresh cut grass. On the palate it has plenty of white melon fruit but the finish is dry and snappy.
Price: Hidden View Price 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

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

2002 Lanson "Gold Label" Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 2-19-2013
This is serious vintage Champagne from one of historic houses in Reims. Lanson never allows their wines to go through malolactic fermentation, and this exceptionally young and fresh wine shows what a good call that can be when you have the patience to cellar your Champagne. The nose is full of high quality candied cherry from the top notch Pinot Noir that makes up half the blend and palate is full of Meyer lemon zing from the top notch Chardonnay that makes up the other. The finish is very long and chalky- I can't recommend this highly enough!
Drink from 2013 to 2022

2009 Gigault "Cuvée Viva" Premières, Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
Review Date: 2-19-2013
It is a rare treat to have the owner of a Chateau in Bordeaux pouring his wines for you in Redwood City, and we enjoyed every minute of our time with Mr. Christophe Rebaul at last Saturdays tasting and every sip of his 2009 Gigault "Cuvée Viva" Premières Côtes de Blaye. This cheerful, easy to drink blend of 99% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon was plump and full of cinnamon and carob flavors. Rich, sweet fruited wines like this are fantastic to drink now and blow the notion of all Bordeaux being expensive out of the water.

2009 l'Avocat Rouge, Graves
Review Date: 2-19-2013
I love the Graves region for value priced Bordeaux and the 2009 l'Avocat Rouge is a great example. Composed of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc it has classic proportions for this area. The powerful nose is full of plum fruit backed up by gravelly earth. In the mouth it has a full, rich texture and a hint of chocolate on the palate. This is a great 2009 to drink while you are waiting for your classified growths to mature. That being said, I think this wine has plenty of stuffing to develop nicely for at least 10 years.
Drink from 2013 to 2019
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 l'Avocat Blanc, Graves
Review Date: 2-19-2013
This wine is composed of 50% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 10% Sauvignon Gris. The l'Avocat has one of the most unique noses that I have encountered tasting white Bordeaux. The racy Sauvignon Blanc gives the wine a smoky aroma that reminded me of Islay peat! On the palate this wine is very bright and light, and would make a great aperitif or partner for goat cheese crostini.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Jever Pils, Germany 12oz
Review Date: 2-16-2013
I love this refreshing, light, bracing brew after a long day of tasting oversized red wines! At 4.8% it is gentle on the system, and the balance is such that one could never tire of it. Jever Pils is from the most northern part of Germany, very near the Dutch border. It is made with Friesian spring water and Germany's noble Hallertau hops and as with any beer from this great country, it follows the beer purity laws of Biergesetz, the modern incarnation of Reinheitsgebot. That means no funny ingredients, and only barley and yeast to go with the hops and water mentioned above!
Top Value!
Price: $1.66 Add To Cart BC 0

Fever Tree Tonic Water (6.8oz 4-pk)
Review Date: 2-16-2013
This tonic is expensive, but it is worth it if you love your gin. I find it to be less sweet and have a high quality quinine flavor than the other tonics available. I have had it with Anchor Junipero, Hendrick's, Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin, Faultline, St. George Terroir Mt. Tam Gin and many others, but my favorite with the Fever Tree is the Cadenhead's Old Raj Gin. This combination, with a nice slice of lime and a couple of giant ice cubes is the most elegant gin and tonic that I have ever had!
Price: $5.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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