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!


Page: 1 2 3 4 5 next
2009 Louise Brison Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-10-2016
Nothing in the store comes close to this spectacular bottle of vintage Champagne. If you like clean, refreshing, bright Champagne with tons of detail and length, this is not to be missed. If this wine was 50% more expensive, I would still be very excited about recommending it. At the price it is simply untouchable... Everything has been done the hard way; all organic, all estate fruit, mostly barrel fermented and aged for over four years on the lees! The Brison wines also age very well, over the past months I have enjoyed the 1999, 1996 and 1995- so make sure to get a few extras for the future.
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2002 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvée Nicolas François Billecart" NFB Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-23-2016
This spectacular offering from Billecart-Salmon is composed of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. It is fermented primarily in stainless steel at very cold temperatures to give it the freshness that we all love, but 13% was done in oak for added richness. The dosage is very low, just 5 grams per liter, and just over 4,000 cases were made. The wine has a very creamy Nutella and white fruit nose with a very clean, citric flavor. The NFB has presence on the palate, with plenty of concentration and texture, very long finish that shows off the savor of the top quality Pinot Noir in the blend. This is one of the top wines from the 2002 vintage, and it is great to see the patience of the Billecart family who are releasing this as one of the last 2002s to market. This has great potential for keeping but will not last long in our stocks!

2013 Valli "Gibbston" Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 01-20-2016
I cannot remember ever tasting a young New World Pinot Noir with this much depth, complexity and potential. When we tasted the Gibbston from Valli yesterday, I turned to Jim Barr, my most experienced colleague and asked him if this was what the great Swans and Chalones from the 1970s were like when they were young. This savory, leathery, Pinot is loaded with the kind of untamed red fruit that turns so many of us into slaves to Burgundy. At the same time, it has the texture and length of the most elegant of wines... What a bottle!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2014 Elephant Hill "Reserve" Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 01-20-2016
Our New Zealand direct import program consistently amazes me. The incredible quality of the wines and the value pricing makes it one of the most exciting categories that we stock. The Elephant Hill Reserve is a great example from the category, a truly fine wine and under $20! This suave Sauvignon Blanc from the North island has texture and poise that would put in the top rank of white Bordeaux, but with out any oak flavors. While most NZ Sauvignons have a strong hot pepper quality, this is as pure as a freshly mowed lawn. It has great back-end acidity, and is a very complete wine.

2014 Oakridge "Over the Shoulder" Pinot Noir Yarra Valley
Review Date: 01-20-2016
If you love drinking Pinot, and want to do it on Tuesday night, you have just found an unbelievable deal. The Over The Shoulder from Oakridge smashes all my notions about value priced Pinot. This is real wine! From a cool climate in Yarra, this lighter style Pinot has shocking depth, savory red fruit and length. Don't miss this one!
Top Value!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2014 Hermanuspietersfontein (HPF) "No.3 - Bergblokke" Sauvignon Blanc Western Cape
Review Date: 01-20-2016
The folks at Hermanuspietersfontein have done it again! This is undoubtedly the best value that we have in Sauvignon Blanc and perhaps the best value that we have in any kind of white wine. This all hillside, estate grown wine has incredible freshness and snap and is all to easy to drink. The surprising thing about the HPF No 3 are the layers and intrigue that are their if you care to pay attention. Not what I would expect for an under $20 white. What a bottle!
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2009 Capbern Gasqueton, St-Estèphe
Review Date: 01-12-2016
If you don't think Bordeaux offers a good value, this Capbern Gasqueton is ready to prove you wrong! This 2009 is showing super well right now, and seems to have all of the pieces in place to keep for quite a while should you so choose. It has excellent dark cassis fruit and mocha like aromas on its quite complex nose as well as lovely texture and a medium to full body. This fantastic wine has a lot of fruit, but no heaviness or residual sugar... The hardest thing for me will be keeping my hands off of it now so I can have some for later!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2013 Carbonnieux Blanc, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 01-12-2016
The great white wines of Bordeaux are not nearly as well understood as those of Burgundy, and bottles like this deliver a value long gone from the Cote d'Or. If you are looking for a fantastic first course wine to go with anything from trout to turbot, or just a top-class white to sip on its own, the Carbonnieux Blanc is a great option. The wine is ultimately refreshing, but still has good honeyed richness to balance out the dry, high toned super long finish. The oak treatment is a frame for this wine, and in perfect balance with all the other flavors. Delicious!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2014 Saint-Jean-des-Graves Blanc, Graves
Review Date: 01-12-2016
I think this is the best white wine value in the entire store and a must try for anyone who loves clean, light, refreshing white wine. The Saint Jean Des Graves is all refreshment, with a limey, subtly grassy flavor and a very long finish. This will work equally well on its own as an aperitif or with lighter dishes. I can't wait to try it with salad nicoise at home!
Top Value!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Jean Josselin "Audace" Brut Rose Champagne
Review Date: 01-11-2016
We don’t have many Champagnes that have this sort of excitement and complexity. The big red fruit of this rose is an ideal partner for salmon, especially if you like Pinot with it!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Jean Josselin "Alliance" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-07-2016
If you are looking for an oyster Champagne look no further! This dry, balanced Champagne has the perfect salinity for a trip to the oyster beds. I love it with any kind of shellfish from scallops to crab to lobster. This wine has the layers of a much more expensive bottle of white Burgundy and the fantastic bead of the best of Champagne!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2013 Karl Joh. Molitor Hattenheimer Hassel Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) Rheingau
Review Date: 01-05-2016
Don't let the long name or the low price scare you away, this is one of the finest values in Pinot Noir in the store. Usually Pinot in this value category are good enough if they are "red & wet" but this delivers spiced red cherry and a round, real wine texture. Ask us for the Karl Joh — you won't be disappointed!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Wöhrle Lahrer "BF" Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir) Baden
Review Date: 01-05-2016
Baden has long been famous for making Pinot Noir in Germany, so much so that very little of it made it further than Berlin. I am so excited that we have this excellent bottle from Wohrle Lahrer to offer, and also that the price is so fair. This is loaded with succulent red fruit, new leather savor and seamless texture that only a cool climate can bring. Impressive!
Price: $26.99 Add To Cart

2014 François Chidaine "Les Argiles" Vin De France (Vouvray Sec)
Review Date: 01-05-2016
The Les Argiles is my favorite Chenin in the store. Chidaine has packed this dry, expressive white wine with more minerality, complexity and spice than should be allowed in a bottle. If you are looking for something off the beaten path that is great, you found it.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2002 Couly Dutheil Clos de l'Echo Chinon
Review Date: 01-05-2016
I have been a fan of Couly Dutheil's excellent, single vineyard Clos De L Echo for many years, and feel so proud that we can offer a well aged bottle of it for such a fair price. If you love your Chinon refreshing, balanced and loaded with authentic black olive goodness, this 2002 is for you. I love being able to buy wine that is aged for me!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

Michel Arnould "Reserve" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 12-29-2015
This is a blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, entirely from estate vineyards in the Grand Cru of Verzenay. It is a great party Champagne, since it is full of flavor yet refreshing and moreish. The hazelnut Pinot character so unique to the village of Verzenay is pronounced in this wine, and many good tasters have mistaken it for barrel-fermented (it is actually all stainless and enamel fermented) when presented the wine blind. The texture is full and the bead is refined -- a Champagne that you will be proud to serve to your guests, or perhaps not too proud to save for yourself! If you have enjoyed the wines of Lallement, Bollinger and Krug in the past, I think you will very much enjoy Michel Arnould. They are bold, masculine Champagnes with plenty of toasty flavor.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Charles de Cazanove Brut Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 12-29-2015
This Champagne is composed of 60% Pinot Noir, 30% Meunier and 10% Chardonnay. It has a great, open nose of sweet butter and even a touch of orange peel. On the palate it is clean and refreshing. This is a bright, easygoing Champagne for any party!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

2007 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Fascination" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 12-23-2015
The only problem with this great Champagne is the production- it is only one press load and we don’t get very much! This Champagne is all Chardonnay from two long rows in the Monts Aigu parcel of the Grand Cru of Chouilly- right across a small path from Cramant. If you love the high class toast of Taittinger’s Comte de Champagne, this is a bottling that you don’t want to miss. The Chardonnay in this bottle has top notch concentration and texture as well as a complex array of flavors; baguette, succulent nectarine and bright chalk. This wine is labeled as Extra Brut since the dosage is very low, but while it is quite dry, it is not overly austere. It has one of the longest finishes of any type of wine that we carry- truly top notch!
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Charles de Cazanove Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 12-22-2015
This round, rich rosé is a real affordable luxury. Composed of 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Meunier and 10% Chardonnay this tasty rosé gets its color from estate-grown Bouzy Rouge. Although thus far off of the radar of wine critics, I think this is the best wine from de Cazanove with its lovely strawberry color and aromas. Full bodied, but also nicely balanced, this wine will make a great aperitif or pair very well with a charcuterie plate or even an after dinner fruit salad.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

Le Brun de Neuville "Authentique Assemblage" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 12-16-2015
This past week we ordered some paddlefish caviar from Kelly’s Katch in Tennessee. Clyde had recommended Kelly’s years ago to us, and we have enjoyed their stuff immensely. We treated ourselves to a two ounce can and paired it with this great bottle, which worked out very well indeed. I prepared some buckwheat blini in our trusty skillet and brought home a small container of crème fraiche to complete the caviar kit. This Champagne comes from Bethon, in the middle of the Sezanne department, a chalk outcrop about 30 miles south of Epernay. It is aged for five years on the lees on a cork rather than a cap, so the cork we pulled out before serving it was the 2nd that had been in the bottle. Ageing on a cork like this is a pain- none of the disgorgement lines will accommodate bottles like this, and they must all be disgorged by hand. The benefit is a better exchange with, and a bit of immunization from oxygen. The five years on the lees gave this wine a nutty creaminess that mirrored the caviar, while the pure chalk soil gave the wine the zip and minerality needed to cut the richness. It was a great way to spend a Monday night!
Top Value!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club


1999 Cantemerle, Haut-Médoc (1.5L)
Review Date: 11-21-2015
Cinnamon and I had a 750 of this last night with an excellent New York Steak from Five Mary’s Farm. As most readers of these pages know, Cinnamon and I celebrate every Friday with steak & claret night, and this was a special one. Cinnamon prepared russet potato squares and the New York in the cast iron pan, and steamed some excellent French green beans. We decanted the wine a little over an hour ahead. I was over the moon for the 1999, and I might have enjoyed a little more than my half of the bottle, but at 12.5% the wine was as mild as mother’s milk... Too bad it wasn't a magnum like this! I found the wine lively and full of verve at 16 years old and yet silky and integrated. In 1999 they made 300,000 bottles of the first wine, declassifying the other third of the production. The composition is 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 8% Petite Verdot and 2% Cabernet Franc. Cinnamon and I both found the wine plumy from the high percentage of Merlot and I loved the minty focus on the back end. This is long finishing stuff, and the good acid on the back cut the richness of the meat, while the expressive fruit played excellent counterpoint to it. What a treat!
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2009 Bollinger "James Bond 007" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 11-19-2015
If you have multiple ladies to entertain, this magnum of Bond Bolli is for you! This 2009 is focused, high toned Champagne shows that chalky side of the Ay grand cru terroir that gives this Champagne its soul. If you feel like the ultimate in suave, spy bubbles, you have found it!
Price: $429.00 Add To Cart

2009 Bollinger "James Bond 007" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-19-2015
I am not the kind to get caught up in packaging, but the Bollinger Bond box is really cool. Better than that, the Champagne inside is spectacular. This focused, high toned Champagne shows that chalky side of the Ay grand cru terroir that gives this Champagne its soul. If you feel like the ultimate in suave, spy bubbles, you have found it!
Price: $195.00 Add To Cart

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Reserve" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 11-19-2015
Champagne is always best out of magnum! Of all the grand marques, no one offers a cleaner, purer example of Champagne fruit and refreshment than Billecart-Salmon. The Billecart family pick earlier than most, and run the coldest, longest fermentations in all of Champagne to deliver their inimitable, graceful house style. If you are looking for the ultimate in balance aperitif Champagne, you have found it!

Krug Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 11-19-2015
This blend of great vintages is perhaps the most consistently great pink wine in the world. Effortless, subtle and elegant, this is not a bottle of wine that is ever flashy or showy. Every time I have had it seems to just vanish without refilling the flutes. The refined strawberry notes and haunting Pinot Noir fruit always seem to take a back seat to the company and the conversation when I have drunk it, but the memory of each experience is as vivid as yesterday. Every lover of the good things in life should try this masterpiece at least once. It is the ultimate rosé!

Ariston Aspasie "Prestige Vielles Vignes" Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
If you love concentrated, powerful Champagne the Prestige Vieilles Vignes from Aspasie is a must to try. This Champagne is always aged for at least six years on the lees and comes from plots of vines over fifty years old on the steep slopes of the village of Brouillet.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Ariston Aspasie "Cepages d'Antan" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
I sometimes feel guilty for impacting the world supply of this tiny production Champagne with my greedy consumption... But never while I am drinking it. The Cepages D'Antan is made from one press load of the near-extinct Champagne varietals Arbanne, Meslier and Pinot Blanc, and yields only about 3,000 bottles per harvest. Nothing is more electric, satisfying and complete than this exotic beauty. This is the perfect gift for the Champagne lover who has "had it all"... If I leave any behind for them!
Price: $99.00 Add To Cart

2004 Veuve Clicquot "La Grande Dame-Silhouette" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
This is exceptional stuff, made entirely from Grand Cru vineyards, and from a vintage that we have not seen the likes of since 1988, or after 2004. The 2004 La Grande Dame is composed of 61% Pinot Noir from Ay, Verzenay, Verzy, Ambonnay and Bouzy and 39% Chardonnay from Avize, Oger and Mesnil. It has a lovely hazelnut nose, with high quality croissant toast, and a clean, long, crisp impression on the palate. This will be great for a special occasion tonight, or for many, many years to come.
Drink from 2015 to 2015

Pierre Paillard Grand Cru Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
My friend Henry Hiatt who manages the Fish Market in Palo Alto brought several dozen big Miyagi oysters from Fanny Bay in British Columbia and shucked them expertly for all of us. We had some Chablis and a few Blanc de Blancs with them and they worked well, just like one would expect. We were thirsty on Thanksgiving, and the only cold bottle of Champagne left was this rose… Which I did not think would work at all. What a surprise! This ultra dry rose, with its very high (70%) Chardonnay content was the best pairing of the night with the oysters. While we could taste the black cherry flavor of the Bouzy rouge, the wine interacted with the oysters like an extra brut- clean refreshment and mineral zing!
Price: $57.99 Add To Cart
ST 92 WS 90

2004 Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
This all barrel fermented Champagne is composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 35% Pinot Blanc and 20% Chardonnay. The autumnal nose is full of brioche and cream which carries through on seamless palate. The best part of this Champagne is the finish, the richness on the mid palate carries on and on- I found it kaleidoscopic! Complexity like this is rarely married to refreshment!
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Fleury Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
This is 100% Pinot Noir, made by the maceration method. All of the skins are kept in contact with all of the juice, yielding a rose not just of great color, but of aromatic generosity and flavor.This is an absolute must try for any fan of rose with its salmon/ Valentines Rose color, savory black cherry nose, poised, elegant texture and dry, mineral laden finish. A wow bottle!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Fleury Blanc de Noirs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
This bottle has the best texture of any non-vintage wine in this price range, with perfect streamers and elegant creaminess. The brioche, custard and meyer lemon aromatics carry through on the palate, yet the finish is all about freshness. If you haven’t tried this in a while, you should. It is one of the most impressive wines they make, and a great flagship… This is not “entry level” stuff!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2012 Domaine Jean Grivot Clos Vougeot
Review Date: 11-15-2015
Eating the incredible pork cheeks at Piperade and drinking Grivot Clos Vougeot was an experience I won't soon forget. This catnippy, ultimately generous Grand Cru was decadent on the nose and mid-palate, but refreshing and full of drive for the future on the super long, expansive finish. This has the black cherry savor for now, and the structure for the ages. Too bad there are so few bottles.
Drink from 2015 to 2015

Justino's 10 Year Old Verdelho Madeira
Review Date: 11-10-2015
If you are looking for something a little bit different, but 100 percent great in an after dinner wine, look no further. This 10 year old Verdelho Madeira from Justino's is a perfect match for your next elegant cheese course. A glass of this with some old cheddar would make me feel like royalty! The wine is layered, full of deep walnut and sweet, but very racy fruit, and has enough intrigue to keep the drinker coming back for more. Since this has spent 10 years ageing in a baking hot attic, it will last for as long as you want to keep it in your liquor cabinet after opening. Enjoy!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Valdespino "Inocente" Fino Jerez
Review Date: 11-10-2015
This Fino is on the level with the best stuff in the world, and doesn't get nearly the credit it deserves. How do the folks at Valdespino get so much nutty, layered complexity into a wine that is so smashable, refreshing and moreish? I have no clue, but at this price I am afraid I might drink too much of it. Be careful, the flor ate all of the signals that the wine is strong, leaving nothing but easy to drink deliciousness behind. You have been warned!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
RP 94 WS 92

2013 Superuco "Calcareo Granito - Tupungato" Malbec Uco Valley
Review Date: 11-10-2015
This has to be one of the most macho wines in the store- but look out, this is no stuffed shirt! The muscle in this inky, big, intense Malbec is for real, and there is no sweetness or obvious oak in the bottle. The Superuco Tupungato will be my go to recommendation for hunters of venison and boar to pair with the most ornery of their kills. The only other wines we have that are close to this scale are from Cornas!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
RP 95

2014 Bernabeleva "Camino de Navaherreros" Garnacha Vinos de Madrid
Review Date: 11-10-2015
Grenache like this is very hard to find these days at any price, and when I tasted this Bernabeleva at under $15, I got very excited. While many in the Rhone and elsewhere have started making their grenache all inky, oaky and full of obvious fruit, this wine is earthy, root like and honest. This will be great with all kinds of food for mid-week, but I am most looking forward to having it with pot-roast!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2006 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-04-2015
The Louis Roederer Cristal is a famous Champagne, and deserves to be an even more famous wine. We just tasted this again at our staff summit, and it has opened up into a gorgeous, creamy, integrated masterpiece, and is the most precocious young Cristal I have tasted. It is 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!
Drink from 2015 to 2015

2007 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-04-2015
The 2007 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne is the most electric vintage of this great wine since the 1996. It is composed of 58% Pinot Noir and 42% Chardonnay with 15% fermented in large wood foudres. The 2007 vintage was marked by an almost unprecedented early budding of the vines, and although the rest of the growing season wasn’t particularly hot, the grapes were mature in August! 2007 is the only high acid August harvest in the history of Champagne, but given the march of climate change, certainly not the last. I found this Cristal crackling, vibrant and concentrated, and think it will prove great after another five or so years in the cellar. This is a wine that is all about chalk and precision right now, so if you open one soon, have the oysters ready!

2012 Domaine Jean-Louis Chavy Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru "Les Folatières"
Review Date: 10-27-2015
This is one of the best bottles of white Burgundy we have in stock for drinking at any price. I love this wine for kafir lime purity that only comes from Puligny, the richness and weight on the mid-palate and the fantastic, long, expansive finish. This great white Burgundy has it all!
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
RP 92 WS 92

2012 Domaine Blain-Gagnard Volnay "Pitures" 1er Cru
Review Date: 10-27-2015
This seductive 2012 Volnay drinks so nicely right now, it will be hard to keep my hands off of it for the future... That is too bad, because it should evolve very nicely! I love the spicy intrigue and medium to full bodied texture in this long finishing, serious wine. This will be a great match for lamb chops!
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

Gosset Blanc des Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-04-2015
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.

Gosset "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-04-2015
Gosset is a traditional producer, using a proportion of old oak for the Grand Reserve. None of their Champagnes ever go through malolactic. On their web site, they list the Grand Reserve as being composed of 46% Chardonnay, 39% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Meunier including 12% reserve wines from two vintages. When I met the sales manager of Gosset, she told me that they also use a small amount of Fromenteau (Pinot Gris) Petit Meslier & Arbanne in this reserve wine. Those are the almost extinct, native varietals of Champagne and it would certainly explain some of the Grand Reserve's exotic complexity if they were indeed in the blend. This is big, rich, layered Champagne with brioche and pear aromas and a long, bright finish from the suppressed malo. It is snappy enough to serve for toasting, but has enough guts for a salmon dinner and enough exotic intrigue to keep the interest of a Champagne enthusiast all night. It should keep well, and even improve for a couple of years if you like the taste of aged Champagne. (Gary Westby, K&L Champagne buyer)

2009 Petit Lion Marquis de Las Cases, Saint-Julien
Review Date: 09-12-2015
I have no problem admitting that I am a cat person. That being said, I never thought that I would be compelled to buy a wine because of a well executed critter label. The Petit Lion on the label was just too darn adorable to resist and I bought it and brought it home. I can rationalize the purchase easily; Las Cases is the undeniable super 2nd of super 2nd’s and routinely beats out the 1st growths in any vintage that they don’t bring their A game. Even the 1993 Las Cases is a wine of tremendous majesty and balance- these folks have the midas touch. It is a 245 acre property at the north end of St. Julien that shares a long border with Chateau Latour to the north and surrounded on the other sides by Barton and Poyferre. A good address! The Petit Lion Marquis de Las Cases is the 2nd wine of the property while the Clos du Marquis has been a single vineyard wine (made from a walled vineyard within the greater estate) for many years now. It is composed of about one third Cabernet Sauvignon and two thirds Merlot, with a smattering of Cabernet Franc. It sees the same expensive oak treatment and lavish care as the first wine, as the selection is made just before bottling for this and the grand vin. Cinnamon and I don’t usually drink our claret this young, but the purity and balance of this big, powerful wine one us over. This is clean, pure, dark fruited, decadently vanilla kissed Bordeaux that had an exceptional seamless texture. We had it with a prime, bone in, dry aged rib-eye steak, potatoes and padron peppers, all done in the cast iron pan. As usual, the combination of top class beef and top class Bordeaux did not disappoint. If I had more of this big St. Julien I would wait until its 10th birthday to open it, but I am glad that cute little lion drew me in!
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 09-10-2015
Drinking Krug out of magnum is one of the most luxurious experiences I can think of. I had a chance to pit a truly excellent 750ml bottle of Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne to the transcendent magnum. The 750 showed the way one would expect from Krug and had very nutty, nougat like deep, vinous personality that was rich and complex without having any trace of sweetness. The magnum didn’t seem to have any room to be better, but it was. My notebook is filled with a stream of adjectives; brioche, savory, saline, almonds etc. etc… The conclusion is simple: A big step up in richness and in transparency- more of the good stuff from long ageing and a huge step up in freshness. Find a friend or two and drink one. You’ll be glad you did!

2004 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-10-2015
The 2004 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne is a wine of great balance, and stood out in a great field of bottles at our recent staff Champagne summit. It is composed of 66% Pinot Noir and 44% Chardonnay from 88% Grand Cru and 22% Premier cru vineyards, and aged on its lees on a cork instead of a crown cap. This wine is full of the toasty, autolytic character that vintage Champagne fans love and focused by the classic drive and acidity of the 2004 harvest. If you like Champagne that is long, dry and powerful and demand something that can drink tonight or for many years to come, this is a great bottle.
Drink from 2015 to 2015

2002 Pol Roger "Cuvée Sir Winston Churchill" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-10-2015
This is the ultimate in masculine style Champagne; stuffed, broad, dense and serious. Pol Roger does not use any wood whatsoever in their cellar, yet the scale of these seems greater than even the 100% wood producers. They won’t reveal the exact composition of the Winston, but call it “Pinot dominant” which would qualify as a great understatement. This wine is loaded with savory black cherry Pinot fruit and chalky acidity for the ages. Too bad they only make 10 press loads, and only in the greatest vintages!
Drink from 2015 to 2015

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 09-10-2015
This is great Champagne- and perhaps one of the best values for money in any category of wine. Louis Roederer has been pushing quality like few others in the region over the last decade, and no wine shows the heights that they have reached as well as the Brut Premier. With massive investment in organic viticulture, including a massive purchase of 1er vineyards from Leclerc-Briant, a return to plowing in the vineyard instead of chemical treatment and obsession with every detail in the winery they have created something here that has no rival among the big names, especially at this price. The 1/3 of the fruit that they buy comes from growers like Benoit Marguet- so you know they are getting top stuff. While most of my time is spent advocating for single origin Champagnes, this bottle is a great argument for blending and the balance that cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon created here is second to none. This wine has a great brioche nose and plenty of vivacious sparkle. It is a perfect aperitif!

Arthur Marc "Initiale Noir & Blanc" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-09-2015
Our best new producer, Arthur Marc makes great Champagne entirely from their estate in the Marne. They are located in the beautiful village of Fleury-la-Riviere with heritage in the region going back 12 generations... All the way to the 1600's! This wine is an even blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir that is aged for three years on the lees. It is excellent as an aperitif, as it is bracing and dry without being austere.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Arthur Marc Grand Cuvee Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-09-2015
The Marc estate is located in the valley of the Marne in the picturesque village of Fleury-la-Riviere, very close to Tarlant, Collard and Coutelas. This Champagne is an entirely estate grown blend of half and half Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It is aged for five years on the lees before being released and is also blended with 20% older vintages. This Champagne has the richness that you would expect from a wine that is older and more integrated, while retaining great snap from its Chardonnay half.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 next

More Favorites

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.
2013 Kalinda "Rawiri Vineyard" Pinot Noir Marlborough ($14.99)

2009 Sesta di Sopra Brunello di Montalcino ($49.99)

2012 Duane Coates Syrah McLaren Vale South Australia ($19.99)

2012 Dalwhinnie "Moonambel" Shiraz Pyrenees Victoria ($28.99)

2012 Chateau St. Jean Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($23.99)

2014 TWR (Te Whare Ra) "Toru" White Blend Marlborough ($18.99)

2013 Tongue In Groove "The Mound Vineyard" Riesling Waipara Valley ($14.99)

2013 Duane Coates Chardonnay Adelaide Hills ($19.99)

2013 Elephant Hill "Le Phant Rouge" Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay ($16.99)

2014 Craggy Range "Te Muna Road" Sauvignon Blanc Martinborough ($17.99)

2014 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough ($18.99)

2012 John Duval "Eligo" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia ($79.99)

2013 Lora Tempranillo Syrah Vino de la Tierra de Castilla ($6.99)

2007 Contino "Viña del Olivo" Reserva Rioja ($99.99)

2013 Lagar de Costa "Doelas" Albariño Rias Baixas ($19.99)

2012 Domaine Michel & Stéphane Ogier Syrah "d'Ogier" Collines Rhodaniennes ($17.99)

2014 Domaine Dupuy de Lôme Bandol Rosé ($19.99)

2012 Stolpman Ballard Canyon Grenache ($24.99)

2014 Mas de Cadenet Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire Rosé ($14.99)

2014 Sanglier "Sun Tusque" Sonoma County Rosé ($15.99)

2013 Wines Of Substance Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($23.99)

2014 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Riesling "D" Marlborough ($13.99)

Baron Fuente "Galipettes" Brut Champagne ($34.99)

2013 De La Terre "Reserve" Tannat Hawke's Bay ($24.99)

2012 Waterkloof "Circle Of Life" White Blend Stellenbosch South Africa ($13.99)

2014 Giesen Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough ($10.99)

2012 Château du Cèdre "Héritage" Cahors ($12.99)

2012 Villa Symposia "Equilibre" Languedoc Rouge ($15.99)

2014 Les Roches Sauvignon Touraine ($9.99)

2013 Tongue In Groove "Clayvin Vineyard" Pinot Noir Marlborough ($29.99)

2007 Bodegas Puelles Rioja Reserva ($19.99)

2013 Qupé "Bien Nacido - Y Block" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay ($16.99)

2011 Qupé "Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard - K&L Selection" Edna Valley Syrah ($21.99)

2013 Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara County Chardonnay ($19.99)

2013 Bodegas Aragonesas "Crucillon" Garnacha Tempranillo Campo de Borja ($6.99)

2013 Carballal "Sete Cepas" Albariño Rias Baixas ($14.99)

2009 Bodegas Olarra "Añares" Reserva Rioja ($14.99)

2013 Antucura Cabernet Sauvignon Vista Flores ($14.99)

2010 Talosa Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Riserva ($34.99)

2011 Proprietà Sperino "Uvaggio" Costa della Sesia ($29.99)

2012 Pian dell'Orino Rosso di Montalcino ($39.99)

2011 Ravenswood "Vintners Blend" California Shiraz ($7.99)

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

2012 Colonias de Galeon "Ocnos" Roble VdT Sierra Norte de Sevilla ($10.99)

2013 Quarter Acre Sauvignon Blanc Hawke's Bay ($7.99)

2012 Ellero "Pisa Terrace" Pinot Noir Central Otago ($24.99)

2014 Cognizant Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough ($14.99)

2012 Carpe Diem Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($29.99)

2013 Cakebread Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($25.99)

1999 Bodegas Puelles Gran Reserva Rioja ($19.99)