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!


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2012 Nanclares Albariño Rias Baixas
Review Date: 2-12-2015
Wow- the Nanclares Albarino has richness and snap on the level of the best Cote d'Or whites. I was very impressed with this aromatic, driven white!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2012 Yangarra Estate "Old Vine" Grenache McLaren Vale
Review Date: 2-6-2015
I was blown away by this earthy, complex, lifted old vine Grenache from Yangarra estate. Back when I first started in the wine business, the last of the ripe but not over-ripe Chateauneufs were leaving the shelf... Now we have something to go in their place, and it is from Australia! If you are looking for jam or glycerol, keep looking, but if you want a dry, earthy, dark fruited wine with a ton of complexity, you have found it!
Drink from 2015 to 2022
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart JH 94 BC 0

2013 Haut-Bergey Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 2-4-2015
High class white Bordeaux like this is always in short supply. At Haut-Bergey only five of their seventy one acres are planted to white varieties, yielding only 8000 bottles a year on average. This wine is composed of approximately 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon from vines of 35 years of age. Surprisingly, they use 30% new French oak, and while the barrel spice is certainly there in this wine, it is framed rather than dominated by wood. This wine is bright, fresh and very satisfying, with classic high toned grassy aromas balanced by high class catnip-like oak. White Burgundy of this class sells for twice as much!
Drink from 2015 to 2023

2013 Boekenhoutskloof "The Wolftrap" Red Western Cape
Review Date: 2-4-2015
This is a real wine for under $10- not just a bottle that is "good for the price". With sweet fruit in the mouth and a nice dose of South African smoke on the nose, this wine is bright enough on the finish to go with a variety of foods. Cheers to Boekenhoutskloof- their Wolftrap Red lets us all drink well for less!
Top Value!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2011 Quarter Acre Bordeaux Blend Havelock Hills Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 2-4-2015
This bottle reminds me of good quality, pure fruited right bank Bordeaux... But without the extra alcohol that is so hard to escape these days. This is a full bodied, plummy, wine with chocolate notes, but it does not go over the top into being ponderous. What a nice wine!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Elephant Hill Syrah Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 2-4-2015
This was my top wine from our excellent Kiwi wine tasting yesterday. Gimblett Gravels is a very special place for Bordeaux grapes, and famous for them, but this is the first world-class Syrah that I have had from the region. Smokey, earthy aromas give off an almost grilled sausage impression on the nose. The wine is open knit in the mouth, with great dark fruit flavors, excellent refreshing acidity, and good round tannin. Top notch!!!!
Drink from 2015 to 2023
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart BC 0

2013 Elephant Hill Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 2-4-2015
If you like your Sauvignon Blanc with a good dose of pure fruit as well as zippy acidity, this Elephant Hill is for you! The warmer conditions in Hawkes Bay show through in this fuller bodied, charming, easy to drink SB. Yum!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart AG 90 BC 0

2013 Wingspan Sauvignon Blanc Nelson
Review Date: 2-4-2015
What a bottle for the money! If you like Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc this is a deal not to miss. This fresh lively wine has very nice texture for the price and quite a nice finish.
Top Value!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart BC 0

Roger Pouillon "Vigneron" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 2-3-2015
This is a flat out steal, thanks to a closeout deal from Pouillon's distributor. What we have is all we can get, so don't delay. The Vigneron is a blend of half and half Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the 16 acres of estate vineyards. It is based on 2008, but has reserves going back all the way to 1997 in it. I found it to be incredibly fresh and vigorous, with the electric brightness of the 2008 harvest, but it also had depth and authority. While not a toasty style, I found the Vigneron to be a powerful Champagne, and in that way it reminded me of Tarlant. They are no longer making this cuvee, so this is the last of it!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart WS 92 BC 0

2012 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 1-17-2015
I was worried that the freshness might have left St. Emilion- trampled by points and pundits. Luckily, this very well balanced Barde Haut is proof that refreshing purity can still be found on the right bank of the river. This sweet fruited, pure, plummy Bordeaux will drink well with an hour in the decanter and a skirt steak now, or for many years into the future.
Drink from 2015 to 2027

2011 d'Yquem, Sauternes (375ml)
Review Date: 1-17-2015
It is very hard for any wine as venerated as Chateau d'Yquem to live up to the expectations that its fame creates. This 2011 delivers on all promises- it is great wine. While it is only a light straw color now, it has authoritative viscosity, full, clean botrytis sweetness and a kaleidoscope of complexity that is impossible to duplicate. Put this in your cellar and forget it for many years and it will be even better than it is now. Wow!
Drink from 2015 to 2061

2011 d'Yquem, Sauternes
Review Date: 1-17-2015
It is very hard for any wine as venerated as Chateau d'Yquem to live up to the expectations that its fame creates. This 2011 delivers on all promises- it is great wine. While it is only a light straw color now, it has authoritative viscosity, full, clean botrytis sweetness and a kaleidoscope of complexity that is impossible to duplicate. Put this in your cellar and forget it for many years and it will be even better than it is now. Wow!
Drink from 2015 to 2111

2012 Carbonnieux Blanc, Graves
Review Date: 1-15-2015
The great white Bordeaux of the world are some of the finest values in wine. Wines like this 2012 Carbonnieux Blanc have great aging potential and offer character, finesse and balance that is inimitable. If we had a white Burgundy of this quality for $100, it would be a great deal! This has plenty of great sweaty Sauvignon Blanc aroma as well as complexity from honeyed, gravely flavors.
Drink from 2015 to 2027

2011 Capbern Gasqueton, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 1-15-2015
Looking for a Cabernet-based wine with a little bit of flash for not a lot of money? You found it! This generous, attractive St. Estephe has a smoky oak nose, plenty of dark fruit flavor and a good finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart WE 92 BC 0

Lagavulin 12 Year Old 2014 Edition Natural Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 1-15-2015
Why is the 12-year-old more expensive than the 16? There is a simple answer: selection. This is Lagavulin the way I remember it, bursting with oily, peaty personality and power. The peat becomes more layered and intriguing with a few drops of water. If you are looking for a full-throttle, manly Islay, this is very impressive.
Price: $105.99 Add To Cart BC 0

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