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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2013 Hogl Schon Gruner Veltliner Federspiel Wachau
Review Date: 8-27-2014
The Gruner Veltliner from Hogl has a wonderful nose of honey and peaches to go with the white pepper stamp of the varietal. I thought it was a real standout from our Austrian staff tasting because of these great aromas, as well as its excellent richness.
Price: $27.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Venus Spirits Batch #1 Gin 750ml
Review Date: 8-27-2014
This one is coming home with me! I love it when a local, small production product delivers not just quality, but also excellent value. The wonderful, creamy texture of this gin is balanced by high toned citrus and grounded by clean juniper. I can't wait to get some fever tree tonic, lime and obnoxiously large ice cubes into this... It will be hard just to have one.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Sittella Verdelho Swan Valley Western Australia
Review Date: 8-19-2014
Serious wine lovers should take note of this extraordinary and very serious Swan Valley Verdelho from Sittella. Out of 33 wines from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in our staff tasting, I thought this was the most compelling. Be prepared--it is a high acid style and the last thing I would recommend for folks who prefer buttery, soft whites. I reminds me very much of the best, old vine Aligotes from Burgundy with its concentration, high-toned fruit and laser-like focus... All it needs is some oysters!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart JH 92 BC 0

2013 Spring Vale Estate "Melrose Vineyard" Pinot Noir Tasmania
Review Date: 8-19-2014
Most of the time, when Pinot Noir is under $20, we only hope that it is red, wet and tastes OK. This Tasmanian wine from Springvale Vineyards breaks the price barrier with very good quality, generous, beet and cherry aromatics as well as good weight and fruit on the palate. A must try for Pinot Noir lovers looking for everyday wine!
Top Value!
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Sittella Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 8-19-2014
This clean, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon blend from Margaret River in Western Australia offers incredible value. The Sittella is very poised, light bodied exceptionally long finishing. I loved the subtle honeyed notes and poised texture and can't wait to server it with a lobster roll or just by itself!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-14-2014
The Louis Roederer Cristal is a famous Champagne, and deserves to be an even more famous wine. This all estate grown Champagne comes from fifty hectares of the chalkiest, oldest vine sites on Roederer's 240 hectare estate. They farm these vineyards especially for Cristal, restricting the yields, and for many of the plots farming organically. This 2006 reminds me very much of the 2002 when it was this age; creamy and very mineral at once. It manages to have a full body and retain an extraordinary chalky freshness--I think this will be one of the greats.
Drink from 2014 to 2056

2008 Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-14-2014
This entirely estate grown Champagne comes from Avize, Mesnil and Cramant and is harvested riper than most. It sees about 25% wood fermentation, and is made at a lower pressure, about 4 atmospheres, than most Champagne. This is the smallest production wine from Champagne Louis Roederer, and the 2008 is very special, with extraordinary, voluminous white flower and baguette aromas. The wine has a perfect texture and bead, and the finish that one would expect from one of the best and highest acid vintages in a generation. It is long, serious stuff!
Drink from 2014 to 2048
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay
Review Date: 7-29-2014
This is a taste of the real thing. The Domaine Eden is one of the most perfectly balanced Chardonnays that we carry. It has excellent quality lime-like fruit, nice medium-to-light weight and a long finish. If you are looking for well-balanced wine, you have found it!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Château de Montfaucon "Baron Louis" Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 7-23-2014
I love it when a producer does the aging for me! This 2005 Baron Louis from Chateau De Montfaucon has a lovely, developed bouquet of cool black fruit and seamless texture that only comes with the passage of time. The wine still has plenty of size and life, and would be great with your next tri-tip grill up!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WS 90 BC 0

Gosset Blanc des Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 7-3-2014
The dry focus of this Gosset made it a perfect partner for the sushi that I ordered from my friends at Akasaka in Menlo Park. The wine is very light and elegant, but even with rich salmon nigiri has plenty of flavor... It is a classy beverage, and I found it to be understated, subtle, and intriguing. I love Champagne that is hard to describe but easy to drink, and the Gosset Blanc des Blancs is a great example of wine that is easier to enjoy than to describe. The texture and bead are perfection, with plenty of tiny streamers to delight. I loved the subtle apricot aroma and flavor that contrasted the baguette-like toast in this wine, but the best feature was the finish--long, detailed and chalky. If you have a special occasion coming, this is a treat that you will love. It is a great bottle of Champagne.

2013 Bodkin "The Victor's Spoils - Sandy Bend Vineyard" Lake County Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 6-25-2014
Wow - Bodkin canceled amateur hour with this excellent bottling! Don't let the reasonable price fool you, the Sandy Bench Vineyard Lake County Sauvignon Blanc is as focused, high-toned and precise as they come. This would make a great ringer in a tasting of Sancerre, and has minerality and length that one rarely finds in stateside SBs. If you like your white wine bright, don't miss this one!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart WE 91 BC 0

Lehmann "Jamesse Reference" Grand Champagne glass (ship as 6pk *in styrofoam only)
Review Date: 5-20-2014
I first tasted Champagne out of these glasses at the luxurious Relais and Chateau "Les Crayeres" in Reims, and immediately dreamed of carrying them at K&L. A few years later, the cellar master at Ruinart, Frederic Panaiotis brought Cinnamon and I pair as a gift, and we have been using them for special bottles ever since. This year, Scott and I had a chance to visit Gerhard Lehmann, the glassware manufacturer in Reims who produced them, and now they are finally here. I was shocked to find what a value price these great glasses sell for, since I believe that they are some of the very, very best in the world for the enjoyment of Champagne. Try them out, I promise that you will pick up new complexity in old favorites!
Top Value!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart 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

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More Favorites

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2011 Ravenswood "Vintners Blend" California Shiraz ($10.99)

2013 Charles & Charles Washington Chardonnay ($9.99)

2010 Stonestreet "Estate" Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($34.99)

2012 Colonias de Galeon "Ocnos" Roble VdT Sierra Norte de Sevilla ($14.99)

2013 Colonias de Galeon "Petit Ocnos" Tinto Vino de la Tierra de Sierra Norte de Sevilla ($12.99)

2012 Bernabeleva "Arroyo del Tortolas" Garnacha Vinos de Madrid ($39.99)

2011 'B' de Basilio Blanco Rioja ($49.99)

2011 Clos des Fous "Grillos Cantores" Cabernet Sauvignon Alto Cachapoal ($14.99)

2009 Bodega Weinert "Carrascal" Red Lujan de Cuyo ($14.99)

2013 Tinhof Neuburger Burgenland ($22.99)

2012 Neumayer Engelberg Grüner Veltliner Traisental ($18.99)

2013 Ebner Ebenauer Birthal Grüner Veltliner Weinviertal ($15.99)

2013 Philippe Tessier "Le Point du Jour" Cheverny Rouge ($22.99)

2013 Philippe Tessier Cheverny Blanc ($18.99)

2012 Nicolas Joly Les Vieux Clos Savennières ($36.99)

2013 Josef Leitz Rüdesheimer Magdalenenkreuz Riesling Spätlese ($21.99)

2007 Reinhold Haart Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Riesling Spätlese ($34.99)

2001 Tertre Daugay, 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 ($14.99)

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne ($39.99)

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)

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)

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

2013 Blason Friulano Isonzo ($9.99)

2012 Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir ($22.99)

2009 Baccinetti "La Saporoia" Brunello di Montalcino ($29.99)

2013 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($17.99)

2012 Abtei Muri Sudtirol "Weiss" (Super Bianco) ($29.99)