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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Jean Josselin "Cuvée des Jean" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-15-2017
This is the most intriguing of all Pinot Noir Champagnes in the store, especially given the extraordinary value that it offers. Looking at it, I would never be able to tell that it was made from red grapes- Jean-Felix Josselin presses his grapes very delicately with a pair of very old basket presses that are the best, and the most labor intensive kind in Champagne! Cinnamon and I enjoyed this bottle with some “duck sushi”- sliced cooked duck breast served over risotto shaped into sushi rice shape this past weekend. While this wine is clean and refreshing enough to have on its own, the clean earth and Pinot power really came on with the food. At this price, I will be drinking a lot of this flexible, delicious Champagne and I will no doubt have more pairing suggestions soon!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2016 Weon Carignane Maule Valley
Review Date: 08-01-2017
The light to medium bodied Weon challenged my prejudice against carignane at today's staff tasting. I loved the charm and easy going style of this delicately earthy, pretty, refreshing red wine. This would be a good wine to put in the mix with one's cru Beaujolais, Jura poulsard and even Oregon pinot!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2013 Aleph Semillon Mendoza
Review Date: 08-01-2017
This semillon is one of the most inspiring Argentinian wines that I have ever tasted. The Aleph is loaded with waxy, complex, intriguing flavors, and has full body, not from oak, but from real concentration. It might seem expensive in context with other wines from the same country, but is an outstanding value as a wine. This would be a great ringer in a lineup of expensive white Bordeaux!
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

2015 Noemia de Patagonia "A Lisa" Malbec Rio Negro
Review Date: 08-01-2017
Tasting this made me wish for a cowboy style grill up on the high plains of Argentina. The "A Lisa" Malbec has great smoky aromas, dark fruit in the mouth and a great balance between body and lift texturally.Tasting this today at K&L makes me fantasize about a big etrana cut of steak on the open range, and plenty of Noemia to wash it down with!

2016 Gen del Alma "Ji Ji Ji" Malbec/Pinot Noir Gualtallary
Review Date: 08-01-2017
This wine destroyed all of my preconceived notions about Argentinian wine. This is as light and delicate as red wine comes, and a perfect drink for a summer picnic. I like it with a little bit of a chill on it, to bring out the racy side of this lovely bottle. The Ji Ji Ji made me giggle like the label suggests with its mix of sarsaparilla and mint notes on the very open nose. What a fun bottle of light red wine!
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 92

2016 Matetic "EQ" Sauvignon Blanc Casablanca Valley
Review Date: 08-01-2017
This refreshing Sauvignon Blanc has very nice fruit without being sweet, a subtle pepper like note on the nose, and no grassiness to speak of. The folks at Matetic in the Casablanca Valley have come up with a great summer sipper with this 2016!

2008 Le Brun de Neuville "Grand Vintage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-12-2017
This was one of the biggest highlights of my trip to Champagne this year. This spectacular offering from Le Brun De Neuville is all from Bethon, in the heart of the Sézanne. It is composed of 96% of Chardonnay and 4% Pinot Noir from some of the chalkiest soil in all of Champagne. You friends will not believe that they are drinking a Champagne that is well under $50 if you pop this tonight. Given how well the 1988 Le Brun De Neuville showed, it only can get better if you can keep your hands off of it!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 06-20-2017
This is one of K&L's best selling Champagnes for a very good reason. The Bonville family has some of the best terroir imaginable for growing Chardonnay--every acre that they own is super chalky, east-facing Grand Cru on the Cote des Blancs. They have been making their own Champagne here since the 1920s, and growing here for many generations before that. This is their entry level bottling, and what a way to start! It is made of at least half reserve wines, giving it not only the dry, chalky drive that makes this area famous, but also giving the wine toasty, creamy, delicious drinkability. A must-try for any Champagne lover.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 06-20-2017
This is our most popular half bottle of Champagne by far. The Bonville family has some of the best terroir imaginable for growing Chardonnay: every acre that they own is super chalky, east-facing Grand Cru on the Cote des Blancs. They have been making their own Champagne here since the 1920s, and growing here for many generations before that. This is their entry-level bottling, and what a way to start! It is made of at least half reserve wines, giving it not only the dry, chalky drive that makes this area famous, but also giving the wine toasty, creamy, delicious drinkability. A must try for any Champagne lover.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 06-20-2017
I always have to order extra of these magnums - Clyde & Trey always gobble up about half of what we get! All Champagne has an advantage in magnum, seeing more surface area for lees contact and half the amount of air exposure. The Bonville family doubles down by giving these an extra 2-4 years of ageing! This is one of K&L's best selling Champagnes for a very good reason. The Bonville family has some of the best terroir imaginable for growing Chardonnay- every acre that they own is super chalky, east facing Grand Cru on the Cote des Blancs. They have been making their own Champagne here since the 1920's, and growing here for many generations before that. This is their entry level bottling, and what a way to start! It is made of at least half reserve wines, giving it not only the dry, chalky drive that makes this area famous, but also giving the wine toasty, creamy, delicious drinkability. A must try for any Champagne lover. Already exceptional out of 750, the Bonville Selection picks up both richness and zip in the larger format bottle - making it the "smallest" big bottle that we have. It ends up empty far too soon!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

Wild Turkey "Master's Keep - Decades" Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 06-15-2017
I feel strongly that this Decades bottling from Wild Turkey is the best Bourbon in the store, and I haven't tasted anything this good in a long time. Instead of doing a series of single barrel releases to go after collectors money, Eddie Russell has put together a masterpiece by blending some of the best stuff in the vast Wild Turkey stocks. The synergy of these whiskeys is obvious at first sniff, and I have to pinch myself when I get to taste something this good at work! This has cream, caramel, and a hint of something savory that makes it beguiling to return to. If you want to treat yourself to an unforgettable bottle, look no further!
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart
WA 93

2013 Einaudi "Terlo Vigna Costa Grimaldi" Barolo
Review Date: 06-14-2017
It isn't every day that I taste a wine that marries power and elegance as well as this Vigna Costa Grimaldi from Einaudi. The high class aromas have all the best traditional components of Barolo in a very stylish frame. In the mouth, the wine is full of dark, savory fruit and strong, but silky tannins. Rather than being tarted up with French barrique, this is great all big barrel, real Barolo... I can't wait to try it with Osso Bucco after a couple hours in a decanter!
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2013 Einaudi "Terlo" Barolo
Review Date: 06-14-2017
The Terlo from Einaudi has the rare combination of traditional Barolo flavors married to precocious drinkability. I love the exotic rose and tar nose, the powerful structure and the surprising texture. This will do the best with an hour or more in the decanter and great food- and what good Barolo wouldn't! I can't wait to get this home and drink it!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
JS 94 VN 92

Copper & Kings American Dry Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 06-08-2017
Copper Kings nailed this fantastic batch of gin! Not only does it have great lift from intense juniper flavor and brightness from a great blend of botanicals, it also has texture. This is going to feature often in gin and tonic drinking in the future!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Marietta "Román" North Coast Zinfandel
Review Date: 05-31-2017
The Roman from Marietta is one of my favorite Zinfandels in the store. This bottle has what all zin should have, plenty of wild brambly fruit and excellent balancing acidity. I can't wait to pair this with a big rack of pork ribs smoked in the backyard or even sausages cooked over the campfire. If you love zin, but can do without monstrous alcohol and residual sugar, this is a must try!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 VN 90

2005 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-25-2017
When does a vintage Champagne like this show at its best? Usually right after it sells out, and this is about to! The lush, rich, toasty, decadent 2005 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne is one of our most delicious vintage bottles in the store for drinking now. It should also keep very well! The 2005 is almost all estate, and composed of 70% Pinot Noir (mostly Ay and Verzenay) and 30% Chardonnay (mostly Mesnil, Avize and Chouilly). Like all Bollinger vintage, treated to long ageing on the lees on a cork instead of a cap, so the cork that you pop before enjoying is the 2nd that has been in the bottle.
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
JS 94 WS 94

2015 Meinklang "Graupert" Grauburgunder Burgenland (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 05-23-2017
This is the cleanest tasting "natural" wine I have ever had, and for fans of the style this flinty, very fruity, well balanced wine is a must try. I am not usually a fan of "sans soufre" bottlings, as they have a little too much dirty foot aroma and flavor, but this is completely clean. A very tasty bottle of Pinot Gris, with great richness and texture!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
DC 96

2016 Reichsrat von Buhl Spätburgunder Rosé Pfalz
Review Date: 05-23-2017
What a surprising, delicious bottle of Pinot Noir Rose! The Reichsrat Von Buhl 2016 has lovely cherry fruit on the nose, contrasted by a dry and driven character on the palate. It has quite a bit of spicy complexity, balanced by plain refreshment. Add this into your lineup of rose... You won't regret it!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Maximin Grunhaus Riesling Trocken Mosel
Review Date: 05-23-2017
This iconic Ruwer producer has made a fabulous dry Riesling in the ripe 2015 vintage, and at the price, everyone should drink some. I loved the classic peach fruit and the crackling minerality in this very easy to drink bottle. A long, detailed finish like in this Grunhaus would cost the farm in white Burgundy, but is cheap here even with the pedigree of one of the best producers in Germany.
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 90

2000 Dom Pérignon "P2" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-18-2017
This toasty, beautiful P2 is a big step from the 1998. I am very impressed by the generosity and balance of this Dom, as well as the incredible freshness given the extended ageing. I tasted this with Vincent Chaperon this March, one of the winemakers, at the Abbey of Hautvillers where Dom Perignon himself worked. I am very excited that it is now here for you!
Price: $369.00 Add To Cart

2015 Château Thivin "Reverdon" Brouilly
Review Date: 05-16-2017
The Thivin Reverdon Brouilly has all the virtues that has made Cru Beaujolais a darling of top sommeliers in the US. It has luscious, delicious, generous fruit that is balanced perfectly by granite structure and refreshing acidity. This has the kind of fruit that one finds in California wine, but without the sweetness. It finishes dry, and is the perfect companion to the lighter fare of weeknight home cooking.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2014 Jacques Bavard Bourgogne Blanc
Review Date: 05-16-2017
I find that the 2014 white Burgundies are the best to come along since 2008, and this is one of our best examples of the vintage. Jacques Bavard managed to get more than a little limey, Puligny like zing in this quite concentrated little Bourgogne Blanc. Don't miss out on this great vintage- there is no reason not to try some at this great value price!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Château Vitallis Pouilly-Fuissé Vieilles Vignes
Review Date: 05-16-2017
This rich, full bodied white Burgundy from Chateau Vitallis impressed me even next to much more expensive offerings at today's staff tasting. It is stuffed with great Chardonnay flavor, but does not crossover into heaviness. It is certainly one of the very best Pouilly Fuisse's we have in stock.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2015 Chateau Vitallis Macon-Fuissé
Review Date: 05-16-2017
I had to go back to this wine a second time at our staff tasting... I didn't believe that this Macon Fuisse could be under $20! Chateau Vitallis has delivered not only refreshing minerality, but considerable texture and complexity at a price that I don't usually associate with fine white Burgundy. If you are looking for something without the heavy oak and alcohol, but still plenty of Chardonnay flavor, this is a must try!
Top Value!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2015 Felton Road "Bannockburn" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 05-12-2017
This fabulous bottle of Central Otago Pinot Noir is at the top level of what we offer at K&L. If purity of fruit, grace, and natural richness are priorities for you, this Felton Road Bannockburn is one of the top bottles we can offer. This is an ideal partner for your best leg of lamb, or your cellar.
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2010 Ariston Aspasie Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-11-2017
No Champagne producer is better loved by K&L customers than Paul-Vincent Ariston of Champagne Aspasie, and he has delivered another great vintage with his 2010 Ariston Aspasie Brut Champagne . This is a blend of 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier from his estate in Brouillet, and is in a drier, more focused style in 2010. I love this Champagne for the aperitif, and it also goes very well with summer vegetable quiche or even pate!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$34.99

2014 Brown Rouge, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-09-2017
The Chateau Brown 2014 is my top value in fine Cabernet blends in the store. This graceful blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 3% Petit Verdot is an outstanding ambassador for the fresh and delicious 2014's. It has all of the dark cassis fruit that we love in Cab, but without the sugar, excessive alcohol and big tannins. This will make a wonderful partner to steaks on the grill, with its great cut and moreish refreshment. Save room in your cellar- it is only going to get better!
Top Value!

2014 La Conseillante, Pomerol
Review Date: 05-09-2017
This great La Conseillante harkens back to a time before Pomerol became a land of giant wines. Is it concentrated- of course, and fabulously so, with the balancing acidity to carry off the ample amount of rich plummy fruit in the middle. This is the longest finishing, most intriguing La Conseillante I have tasted since the great 1982!
Drink from 2024 to 2024

2014 Montrose, St-Estèphe (375ml)
Review Date: 05-09-2017
I understand why so many of my colleagues are calling the 2014 Chateau Montrose the wine of the vintage. It is the best young Bordeaux I have tasted in many, many years. This tremendous, dark fruited wine is loaded with power, but also packaged perfectly elegantly. Is it tannic? Of course- it is Montrose! But the tannins are ripe, and lifted by graceful acidity. The only ingredient that is missing is a lot of time... I am afraid that the perfect balance will cause much of the production to be drunk far too young.

2014 Canon, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-09-2017
Chateau Canon is back on top! This graceful, balanced St. Emilion will repay time in your cellar in spades. I love the dark fruit and the seamless texture of this elegant right bank wine. The best part is the quality of the concentration, rather than making for heavy going, the acidity is as concentrated as the fruit, and the wine has a finish that I can almost still taste now. Make room in your cellar!
Drink from 2024 to 2024

2014 Petit Figeac, St-Emilion
Review Date: 05-09-2017
If you love the great wines of the right bank, but can do without the super extracted, high alcohol and high prices, the 2014 Petit Figeac is for you. I thought that wines like this from the "other" side of the river were extinct. This St. Emilion is a clinic on purity, with perfect plummy fruit, fresh new leather and a lifted finish that goes on and on. No heaviness here, just old fashioned right bank claret!
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2007 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-04-2017
The 2007 Grande Annee is classic Bollinger, and reminds me very much of their great 2004. It is composed of 70% Pinot Noir, mostly from Ay and Verzenay and 30% Chardonnay primarily from Avize, Cramant and Oger. I tasted a preview bottle with Denis Bunner and found it lovely, nutty, generous, and toasty on the nose. In the mouth it was full of intense, savory creamy, even nougat like flavors, and the finish had the chalky cut to balance out all of the decadence! If you love great vintage Champagne, this is not to be missed.
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
JG 93

2008 Fallet-Dart Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-03-2017
I consider the 2008 Fallet Dart to be the most exciting vintage Champagne that we have in stock. It comes from estate vineyards in the far west of Champagne, in the tiny hamlet of Drachy, from a family that has been growing grapes for an astounding 17 generations. This bottling is composed of 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, and most of the Chardonnay comes from one of the few "clos" sites in Champagne, the Clos du Mont. This vineyard was the first monastic site in the region and perhaps the oldest of the "clos" in Champagne, first planted around the same time as the l'eglise Drachy was built: 741! The wine has the electricity, length and mineral drive that one would expect from the great 2008 vintage. The surprise is how much body and structure comes along with the minerality, and the complex, seemingly every changing flavors of the wine. I found it to have everything from sourdough to truffles to nectarines from one sip to the next. We tasted this next to the 1999, a much softer vintage that is still going strong... This will last a long time!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 04-14-2017
This big, ripe powerful Cabernet will thrill fans of Napa wines. It is loaded with cassis fruit, and has plenty of tannic structure on the back end. This is excellent for drinking right now for fans of the big Cabernet style, and priced for any old night. Similar quality from Napa would cost a lot more than twice as much!

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-13-2017
Our most exciting new value in Champagne is here, the Emblematis from Jerome Trudon. With more than three years of ageing on the lees, this all estate blend of 70% Meunier and 30% Pinot Noir should be more expensive... Luckily we buy direct and the dollar is strong! This wine has 50% reserves from older vintages and features subtle baguette toast and exotic yet elegant fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Since Jerome does not use malolactic, this wine has great focus and a finish that I would only expect from a wine costing 50% more!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Trudon "Rosephile" Brut Rose Champagne
Review Date: 04-13-2017
This is the only pure Meunier rose that we have that has been made by blending red wine with white. About 91% of the base is pressed gently to make the white wine, while 9% is sourced from over 60 year old vines and made as red. The result is a rose Champagne with decadent luxardo cherry flavor, balanced by a precise, fine bead and very good minerality. The finish is dry and long!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Trudon "Monochrome" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-13-2017
This all Meunier Champagne is made by Jerome Trudon, who used to make the wine at Roederer, both in Anderson Valley and in Reims. He returned to his family farm, and the Monochrome is his flagship. It is made entirely out of Meunier, aged for three years minimum on the lees and benefits from 1/3 reserve wines from older vintages. This is strikingly pure Meunier, with great white flowers and fresh bread on the nose and in the mouth. It is very fresh, as Jerome does not let the wine go through malolactic, and has very good length and quite a bit of minerality.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Akitu "A2" Pinot Noir Central Otago (White Label)
Review Date: 04-12-2017
The balanced, clean 2015 A2 from Akitu is a skillful blend from across their Wanaka estate. This is the kind of Pinot Noir that has the lift and refreshment for many different kinds of food, but is easy and delicious enough to have on its own. I love the dark fruit and the new leather flavors in this perfect example of Central Otago Pinot!
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2016 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 04-12-2017
This is my favorite New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc at any price. It has everything that I want from this now famous style- clean grapefruit and serrano pepper on the nose, medium to light body, and a great bright, long finish with no residual sugar. This is one of our most re-bought wines in the store for a reason... Get out of the industrial production game and try these small production gems. This is a great value!
Top Value!

2015 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 04-12-2017
My favorite wines of our very strong New Zealand direct import program are from TWR. The 2015 Te Whare Ra Pinot Noir is full of dark cherry fruit and vinous, savory drive. If you like complexity in your Pinot, this medium bodied, long finishing bottle is a must try.
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2014 Mount Edward Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 04-12-2017
This toasty, bacony Pinot Noir from Mount Edward reminded me of some of the bigger, high end Oregon Pinot Noirs, but at half the price! If you love your Pinot with substance, but still dry and long, this is a must try!

2014 Elephant Hill Hawke's Bay Syrah
Review Date: 04-12-2017
This Hawkes Bay Syrah from Elephant Hill was the red wine standout of our New Zealand staff tasting. If you love the classic Syrahs of the Northern Rhone, you owe it to yourself to try this beauty. It has a classic nose that explodes with white pepper, and medium to full body with excellent texture. Minty, eucalyptus like flavors last and last with good tannin and excellent acidity on the finish. Perfect for leg of lamb now, or the cellar for later!
Drink from 2017 to 2017

Charles Ellner "Grande Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-08-2017
On my recent visit to Charles Ellner, I particularly loved the Grande Reserve, a blend of 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir from all estate-grown fruit. This non-vintage cuvée is based on 2009 with over a third from older reserves, and has that great balance of power and freshness that really excites me in Champagne. The green apple flavors of a blocked malo bottling were balanced by great brioche flavors—it it had it all!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

Baron Fuente "Esprit" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-08-2017
The Esprit Blanc de Blancs is made from the very last vineyard in the farthest west part of Champagne—the Chantemanche in Saacy-sur-Marne. This site is one of the very few so far west that they are actually in the Paris district, Ile-de-France. The current release is based on 2009 with 5% barrel fermented reserves from 2008. It is a very creamy style of Blanc de Blancs, with an excellent Chablis like earth character and a bright finish to contrast the richness of the mid-palate.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$34.99
WE 92

2010 Pierre Paillard "Les Maillerettes" Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Noirs Champagne
Review Date: 04-08-2017
The 2010 Pierre Paillard "Les Maillerettes" Brut Blanc de Noirs is made from a mid-slope plot of pinot noir planted in 1970 to the family massal selection. They still propagate pinot noir from here for new vineyard plantations. After years of working with these wines, I was not surprised at the Corton like power and structure of this wine, but I was blown away by the effortless texture and fine bead of this bottle. I do not understand how they can get both elements in one little 750ml!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 RP 91

2010 Pierre Paillard "Les Mottelettes" Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 04-08-2017
The 2010 Pierre Paillard "Les Mottelettes" Blanc de Blancs comes from the Paillard's mother plot of chardonnay that was planted in 1961. This bone dry, chalk laden wine is usually a laser beam, and I love it with oysters. In 2010, it has an extra element that almost reminds me of the subtle pineapple character that you get in the best Meursault. With the terroir-driven aspects Paillard is showcasing in these wines, anyone who loves both Champagne and Burgundy would do well to drink one of these!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 VN 91

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-08-2017
The Grand Siecle has long been my favorite tete de cuvee, but for many years now it has been out of reach. Since 2008, just a trickle has made it to the USA, and it was a fantastically expensive trickle. We managed to secure some at a very fair price and I can't say enough about what a great wine this is. Most big houses talk a big game about the "Blenders Art" and the synergy of Grand Cru terroirs when combined not just with balancing sites, but also across time. This is the embodiment of synergistic blending and monk’s patience. Nearly every Grand Cru in Champagne is represented; the wine is from three different vintages and aged over 10 years on the lees. I believe this is the most underrated of all the tête de cuvees in Champagne. First of all, it is real and honest tête de cuvee, representing only a sliver of their production and allowing them to select the cream of the crop for this bottling. Some of the most famous tête de cuvees are actually the second highest production wine from their respective houses! As one would expect from a Champagne that is aged this long from such excellent sources, it is very complex. This complexity is not a vinous, heavy complexity, however; in fact it is almost vanishingly subtle and elegant. I think it's necessary to spend time with the Grand Siècle to truly understand it. The wine is simply lovely with a fantastic bead of tiny bubbles to start and I always feel like a having second glass when I taste it. That is when I start to notice the complexity! That desire for more speaks volumes.

Laurent Perrier "La Cuvee" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-08-2017
Several years ago, Laurent Perrier was fortunate enough to acquire a small Champagne group that owned vineyards and had some very good contracts in the Côtes de Blancs. This is the first product to be released that includes fruit from these marvelous sites and it is a revelation. They have increased the proportion of chardonnay in the blend to 55% (the balance is 30% pinot noir and 15% meunier), and now only use the first and most delicate portion of the grape pressing, while increasing the aging minimum to over four years on the lees. The result is a Champagne with a near blanc de blancs character, singing with Puligny Montrachet-like lime and vibrant chalk.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Joël Taluau "Expression" Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil
Review Date: 03-14-2017
If you like red wine with crunchy fruit, low tannin and great acidity for your mid-week meals, the Expression Saint Nicolas De Bourgueil from Joel Taluau should be at the top of your list to try. These wines go so well with simple grilled fair or even picnic food. The 2015 vintage ripeness has made this into a real crowd pleasing choice!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2009 Franck Bonville "Millesime" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 03-04-2017
We drank a bottle of this last night while closing the store, and I was surprised at just how good this Champagne showed. This has the focus and snap of many 2008's, and an incredibly long, mineral driven finish. Most of the 2009's I have had have been much broader and lower in acid than this all Avize Grand Cru super star. While it is showing great now, I think this has a lot of potential for the future!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

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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.
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