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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La Caudrina "La Selvatica" Asti
Review Date: 2-1-2013
This tasty wine is almost full Champagne pressure at 5 atmospheres. It is produced from 37-year-old vines at about 900 feet. This spumatne is perfect for wine lovers looking for something a little bit drier, more bubbly and fuller bodied than Moscato d’Asti. I found it to have lots of exotic aroma, a nice mousse and a sweet but clean finish.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart GR 2 BC 0

Deleon Diamante Blanco Tequila 750ml
Review Date: 1-30-2013
If you are looking for a statement bottle of tequila, this is it. This gentle, polished, highly aromatic spirit has none of the rough edges that drinkers associate with tequila. It also has plenty of top notch agave spice and excellent texture.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino 375ml
Review Date: 1-26-2013
Cocchi makes my favorite red vermouth. I use it for Manhattan’s, in a Negroni, or in my favorite Champagne cocktail, the Negroni Sbagliato. If you are interested in seeing the recipe, search "Negroni Sbagliato" on the blog (blog.klwines.com) to find it, complete with video. If you don’t mind waiting, you can also send me an email with the button above, and I’ll send you the link.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino 750ml
Review Date: 1-26-2013
Cocchi makes my favorite red vermouth. I use it for Manhattan’s, in a Negroni, or in my favorite Champagne cocktail, the Negroni Sbagliato. If you are interested in seeing the recipe, search "Negroni Sbagliato" on the blog (blog.klwines.com) to find it, complete with video. If you don’t mind waiting, you can also send me an email with the button above, and I’ll send you the link.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Campari (1L)
Review Date: 1-26-2013
This is a home bar essential. Campari is fantastic with just soda, in a Negroni, or in my favorite Champagne cocktail, the Negroni Sbagliato. If you are interested in seeing the recipe, search "Negroni Sbagliato" on the blog (blog.klwines.com) to find it, complete with video. If you don’t mind waiting, you can also send me an email with the button above, and I’ll send you the link.
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart WE 96 BC 0

Riedel "O" Riesling/S. Blanc/Zin/Sangiovese Wine Tumbler 414/15
Review Date: 1-25-2013
Every wine fan should own a pair of these great tumblers. They are just as good for drinking out of as the Vinum Zinfandel/ Chianti which says a lot, since that glass is the most flexible instrument I have ever enjoyed wine from. Since they have no stem, they fit in cupboards that would not fit regular glasses and you can't break the stem off of them, which is the most common way glasses break. The best thing is, that if you keep the two glass box they come in, you can take them anywhere with you. No more Dixie cups for your wine on picnics, no more awful thick, rolled hotel room glasses ruining your carefully chosen vacation wine!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

Riedel Vinum Prestige Champagne 6416/48
Review Date: 1-25-2013
This is a great design for drinking Champagne. While I prefer to taste our of a regular wine glass for the larger bowl that allows more aroma to develop and a wider pour of liquid over my tongue at work, this is a great shape when you have more time to spend with the Champagne. The tulip shape allows the bubbles to cascade up and makes the wine a lot more enjoyable to look at than a regular wine glass. It also has a wide enough opening at the top to allow one to smell the Champagne and pours widely enough across the tongue to taste properly. Straight sided flutes are very hard on Champagne- if you are still using them, you should audition a pair of these Riedels!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

Riedel Cabernet Decanter 750ml 1440/13
Review Date: 1-25-2013
Cinnamon and I collect decanters, and use them almost every night we are home drinking still wine. At last count we had 30 of the things, taking up a lot of the surfaces in the house- on top of the liquor cabinet, on top of the record racks and on the kitchen counters. This is the one that we use most, and for good reason. It takes up the least amount of space on the table, pours the best, cleans up easily, and inverts nicely for drying. If you are only going to have one decanter, this should be it! If you buy a second, take a look at another shape, otherwise you will forget which wine is in which carafe at dinner parties!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

Riedel Sommeliers Burgundy 4400/16 (Can't Ship)
Review Date: 1-25-2013
Are these glasses fragile, expensive and to large to store easily? Do they put a magnifying focus on any flaw in an average Pinot? Yes- guilty as charged! I don't recommend them to everyone, but for the right home there is simply no better glass. Cinnamon and I have owned six of these for more than a decade, used them at least once a week, and never broken one. If you love Burgundy and elegant Pinot Noir from other parts of the world, and are willing to invest the time to hand wash these incomparable glasses and the money to purchase them, you will not be disappointed!
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

2006 Michel Loriot "Pinot Meunier Vieilles Vignes" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 1-25-2013
This wine makes a statement for Meunier with its authoritative, clean mineral driven flavor profile. This is a misunderstood variety, and makes wines that are every bit as diverse, interesting and noble as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Champagne. The Michel Loriot Pinot Meunier Vieilles Vignes shows that with the right selection (this vineyard is a massal planted in 1943), the right site and the right producer Meunier is not simple, fruity and meant to just be drunk young. This is one of the best single vineyard expressions available from Champagne, and should not be missed.
Drink from 2013 to 2026
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart ST 92 BC 0

Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 1-18-2013
From my top 10 Champagnes of 2012: I opened this magnum as business petered off on Christmas eve for the staff here in the Redwood City store, and it made me a popular man at K&L. Carrying a magnum around to the various work stations put a smile on many faces here, and the wine inside the bottle kept those smiles. This wine is single vineyard, from the very steep Gouttes d’Or site in Brouillet, and has a very different style than the Chardonnay from the Cotes de Blancs. This is creamy, decadent wine, and great on its own in the final moments of the retail rush…or just about any time! I need to buy this for my cellar.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Ariston Aspasie "Brut Prestige" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 1-18-2013
This is your last chance for the old vines- they were destroyed in hail in 2003.
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Stiegl Brauerei "Goldbräu Premium" Lager, Austria 16oz Cans
Review Date: 1-18-2013
I wonder how much of the Stiegl that we buy for our stock at K&L is sold to the staff. If I were to guess, I would say over 50%. These tall boys are perfect after a long day, and do an exceptional job of washing away the tannin after tasting to many overblown red wines. The style is Germanic; clean, lively, refreshing and the execution precise. If you love a good lager, and like having 4 oz. left after 12 have been enjoyed, this is the beer for you!
Price: $2.19 Add To Cart BC 0

Bruno Michel "Rebelle" Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 1-16-2013
From my top 10 Champagnes of 2012: Cinnamon was staying up in the city with her friend Jenna on a Friday night, and I grabbed some sushi to go and headed home to dine with our cat, the Morsel. While she helped with the sushi, she did not have a single sip of the Champagne. I believe in the saying that one should be moderate in all things, so I got carried away and drank the whole bottle. Drinking Champagne by yourself is a great thing- if you never have done it there is no better treat, and no better place than the home for having an extra glass or two. From my personal tasting diary: “This wine was a lot richer than I remember and I suspect the base must be from the extroverted 2006 harvest. The balance was so perfect it hardly seemed “Extra” Brut like, rather just vibrant, nervy, electrically mineral sud-Eprenay stuff. It went best with the Akasaka Roll which has eel and avocado on the outside and tempura shrimp on the inside- and very well with everything else. I got carried away by its ample charm and finished the bottle. I woke refreshed and ready for a busy December Saturday- and it turned out to be one of my best days at work all year. I guess there is something to be said for drinking organic after all!” This bottle deserves its spot on the top 10- try it out and see if you can resist finishing the whole thing…
Price: Hidden View Price BC 0

Franck Bonville Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 1-16-2013
From my top 10 Champagnes of 2012: Cinnamon and I drank this at home the night before flying down to Los Angeles for the annual Champagne tent events. This was our last chance to enjoy Champagne like regular citizens before the madness of the big tastings, and we took advantage of it! Cinnamon picked up sushi to go from our favorite spot, Akasaka in Menlo Park and we enjoyed the pairing immensely. The extra brut from Bonville is always the same wine as the concurrent vintage, but not declared as such. It is all Avize Chardonnay and although the current batch had over four years on the lees, it is still very austere on its own. With sushi it is magic. The sweetening effect the hamachi had on this bottle was striking, and its flexibility with the spicy and pickled flavors from the embarrassing rolls that I like to order amazed me. The unbelievably clean, precise chalkiness of this wine put the Avize terroir center stage!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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