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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2005 Launois "Spécial Club" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L)
Review Date: 10-17-2013
This luscious blanc de blancs is very different than the laser precise 2004 that preceded it and fans of wines like Taittinger’s Comtes de Champagne are going to flip for it. Made from two plots of over 50 year old vines, one in the Grand Cru of Oger called the Chenys and one in Mesnil called the Derriere Maison, this is one of the ultimate expressions of Chardonnay that we have to offer. These plots pre-date the clones, and are selection massal, giving the wine more complexity at the cost of yield and ease of farming. When I opened this for the staff on Tuesday we were knocked out by the nutty opulence of this Champagne and its generous croissant nose. This should continue to improve until 2025, but my first bottle won’t last the night… I have a Dungeness crab ready to pair with this in just a few hours!
Drink from 2013 to 2025
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2006 Launois Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 10-17-2013
This comes from mid slope parcels in the grand cru’s of Mesnil, Cramant and Oger and is one of the richest all Chardonnay Champagne’s available from the Cote de Blancs. We get less of the regular vintage than the special club as the demand at the cellar door is so high. The 2006 vintage was a ripe one, and you can taste it in this very full bodied, toasty powerhouse!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 A.A. Badenhorst "Secateurs" Chenin Blanc Swartland
Review Date: 10-10-2013
I can't think of a single white wine in the store offering so much for so little money. The Secateurs Chenin Blanc from A A Badenhorst reminds me of the old vine Chenin Blanc of days gone past from Chalone. It has a solid medium body, great melon like aromas and flavors and plenty of refreshing acid on its long finish. This has enough in the middle for fans of Chardonnay, and enough intrigue for the most jaded wine fan. All of this for such a great price!!!
Top Value!

2010 Te Whare Ra (TWR) Syrah Marlborough New Zealand
Review Date: 10-10-2013
Elegance is a word rarely associated with new world Syrah, but for me this Te Whare Ra is the most elegant example of this variety in our stock. K&L's Ryan Woodhouse has done a lot to change the way I think of wines from here, Australia and South Africa, and this 2010 Syrah from Marlborough is completely different from the thick inky monsters that I expect from anywhere outside of the Northern Rhone. It is clean, minty and balanced, and I can't wait to get it home and try it with some lamb chops on the grill. The most impressive thing about the wine is the finish- this is long, mineral driven stuff. Try it out!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart BC 0

1997 Potensac, Médoc
Review Date: 10-8-2013
Cinnamon and I are on a very strict diet, and one of the most important parts of that diet is eating steak and drinking claret once a week. Bordeaux is magic with steak. I know that many of you might think it is less than cutting edge, but this pairing is a classic for a reason. Recently we picked up ¼ of a steer from Fred Manas at Double Bar O ranch in Esparto, CA and this past Friday we indulged in a T-Bone from our haul. We gave it four days of dry age in the fridge, added salt and pepper and tossed it in the cast iron pan. We let it rest with a dab of black truffle butter on top and made some fries and a salad to go with it. The 1997 Potensac, Médoc, $26.99 is one of the most youthful 1997’s I have tasted, and needed the hour that we gave it in the decanter. It is very, very dark, and if I had tasted it blind I am positive I would have missed the vintage. That being said, I think the wine has a lot of charm now as well as power. This is a virile wine with plenty of strict tannin and acidity, but with plenty of black currant fruit to balance it out. It was perfect with the steak, but I would not trifle with this wine with finger food. It got better and better as the night went on and by the last glass was quite layered and complex. This is a steal and $26.99. If there is a steak in your future, don’t miss it!
Drink from 2012 to 2020
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2005 Island Distillery 7 Year Old K&L Exclusive "Exclusive Malts" Single Barrel Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 10-2-2013
I love the balance of this young peaty whiskey. Unlike many young "craft" type malts, it does not try to hide the fact that it is young with tricks, and its freshness is a great part of its charm. It is a lovely dram as an after work drink with one large ice cube, and a bracing after dinner drink on its own. The texture is full without being oily, and the finish is remarkably long. I wonder who made it? I'll keep sipping and guessing!
Top Value!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Prevoteau-Perrier "Adrienne Lecouvreur" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-26-2013
Over the weekend Cinnamon and I invited some friends for dinner, and we started the festivities with a couple of the cuvees from Prevoteau Perrier since we were so excited that they had just arrived. We served this in the backyard with some popcorn with black truffle butter and it was even better than I remembered it from tasting with the family this spring. The Adrienne Lecouvreur delivers on the fancy Champagne promise of elegance; the complexity is there, but upfront it is all pleasure. The bottle went very quickly indeed!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Prévoteau-Perrier Brut Rosé Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 9-26-2013
Nothing beats showing up to a party with a magnum of rose Champagne... Everybody wants some! Over the weekend we enjoyed this in the backyard with friends who were over for a little Sunday dinner party. It has the friendly appeal of red cherry fruit but plenty of vinous intrigue to stand up to a wide range of foods. If you like rose, don't miss it!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Prevoteau-Perrier Rosé Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-26-2013
This really hits the spot with some salmon mousse! Over the weekend we enjoyed this in the backyard with friends who were over for a little Sunday dinner party. I was giving Champagne sabering lessons, and my good friend Matt dispatched this bottle with style on his first attempt, and we drank it outside with wild salmon and caper mousse. It has the friendly appeal of red cherry fruit but plenty of vinous intrigue to stand up to wild salmon. If you like rose, don't miss it!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2003 Moet & Chandon "Dom Pérignon Koons" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 9-26-2013
Cinnamon and I paired this bottle with some chunky, rich, peppered smoked salmon from the Mountain View Farmers Market. This oily, flavorful fish on top of olive oil basted crostini brought out the best in the 2003. I would recommend a dish like this with this wine as it is a huge wine and likes the food. This is rose Champagne XL, with breadth and weight on the scale of Burgundy, but flavors that are all Champagne: clean dark fruit, transparent toast, and a yeastiness that DP fans will find familiar and love. The bead is effusive and the texture rich and thick with a finish that is round and fruit driven rather than mineral.

2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-25-2013
The wonderfully rich Cuvee Rare from Piper Heidsieck reminds me of the great tete de cuvee's of years gone past. Like those, it is made in tiny quantities and only in the very best years- only 8 vintages have been made in 36 years! We drank this wine at a staff sushi and Champagne party at my house, and loved it with the eel especially, but I think the ultimate pairing for this wine would be a nice sunset. It doesn't need anything! I love the warm toastiness of this wine and its fine balance. The refreshing finish will have you coming back for more!
Drink from 2013 to 2022

2005 Michel Loriot Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 9-19-2013
If you are looking for a bottle of rich vintage Champagne- look no further! The Wednesday night crew here at K&L polished one of these off last night and I was very impressed with the golden opulence of this 2005. Michel Loriot makes full bodied Champagne, and this is a great example of the style. If you love wines like Krug, but don't always have the budget, this is worth a try!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart BC 0

City of London Gin 1L
Review Date: 9-19-2013
This is the new house pour for Cinnamon and I. It is a good high juniper style with plenty of excellent ginny taste. I love it for gin and tonics with fever tree, but best of all I love it for Negroni's. This, Campari and Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth don't all come in liter bottles for no reason- in equal proportions they make my favorite fresh mixed Negroni!
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2004 Pierre Moncuit "Cuvée Nicole Moncuit Vieilles Vignes" Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 8-20-2013
Champagne doesn’t get better than this- I could not believe how much class this 2004 had, even though I have been lucky enough to have many, many past vintages of this cuvee. This great bottle of Mesnil Grand Cru is made from two over 90 year old plots, some of the oldest vines in all of Champagne. The nose is restrained, detailed and multifaceted: I found perfect baguette, savory spice and fresh pineapple in the bouquet. On the palate it had both the lush richness of ancient vines and the fabulous mineral focus of some of the best chalk vineyard in all of Champagne. This wine sings with both ripe fruit and mineral freshness… Too bad there is so little!
Drink from 2013 to 2024

Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 8-17-2013
The Ruinart Brut Blanc De Blancs is a wonderfully different style of Chardonnay based Champagne than any other that we have. While almost all of the others that we carry rely on the laser precision of Cote de Blanc fruit exclusively, this wine balances this electricity with the rich, nearly grapey Chardonnay of the Mountain of Reims. The result is magic; a full bodied blanc de blancs that still finishes dry and long!

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