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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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1995 Charles Heidsieck "Blanc des Millénaires" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-04-2019
The Blanc de Millenaires from Charles Heidsieck is not only a masterpiece of craft, but also of patience. To say that this Blanc de Blancs is made rarely is an understatement, it has only been made four more times since the original release in 1983! It is composed from the fruit of five cotes des blancs villages; Avize, Oger, Cramant, Mesnil and Vertus, and then aged for decades in the pure chalk crayeres of Charles Heidsieck, 90 feet below Reims. The results are spectacular, with toasted brioche aromas and flavors as well as fabulous freshness and minerality.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-14-2019
Elisabeth and Jean-Marie are ready to wait for the wine to be right before selling it, and unlike any other producer we work with, their non-vintage Champagne is kept longer than the vintage. The Egrot Brut Champagne is based on 2008, with reserves from 2007, and the current batch has seen eight years on the lees. It is composed of 80% Pinot Noir from the grand cru of Ay and 20% Chardonnay from the 1er cru of Louvois and dosed at a little under 8 grams per liter. This wine has the silky texture and tiny streamers that only patience brings and I think you will be surprised at the finesse of this bottle. That being said, the power is still there, and I love this Champagne with full flavored, hot smoked salmon.
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Billecart-Salmon Bicentenary Cuvée (1.5L)
Review Date: 01-31-2019
This past year, I had the pleasure of visiting Champagne Billecart Salmon not once but twice. Located in Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, in the very heart of Champagne, they produce Champagne here that is rightly famous for freshness and elegance. My first visit was during the snows of early March, to taste the vin clair with Chef de Cave Florent Nys. The second was in the heat of June to celebrate their 200th anniversary with the Billecart family. Not only did we get to drink the super rare Bicentenary Cuvée, but we talked them out of a few magnums for the stores. This Champagne combines complex, spicy, pastry-like elements with an airy ease that one can only find chez Billecart. Currently, we only have a few bottles!
Price: $1,699.00 Add To Cart
DC 96

2011 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-31-2019
This Champagne comes from the impossibly steep slopes of Ay Grand Cru in the heart of the Marne Valley. It is composed of 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay from some of the chalkiest soil in all of Champagne. While this vintage proved challenging for many, some of the best plots in the Grand Crus did exceptionally well, producing wines of both power and finesse. This is one of those wines, and has plenty of richness for drinking on its own, but also the backbone of minerality to pair with the best salmon or tuna fillets. The wine is round and rich, with a pain grillé generosity that reminds me of old style Bollinger or Charles Heidsieck. The dark Pinot fruit has wonderful savor and complexity; like a red Burgundy of the same age. The texture, like all of the Egrot Champagne, is flawless, with tight streamers and nice creaminess. The back end is virile with great acidity and freshness, making this a pretty complete package.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-31-2019
The Egrot Extra Brut is made for Champagne lovers who are looking for something extra crisp as an aperitif or to pair with oysters or other shellfish. This Champagne is composed of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay, entirely from the 2010 harvest. It is dosed at just 2 grams per liter, but with over six years of aging on the lees, it does not come across as overly austere. It actually shows more creamy notes on the nose than the brut, perhaps because of the addition of softer wines from Mutigny from the sunny 2010 harvest. The cherry fruit has a slight hint of exoticism, but it snaps back into laser focus on the finish, which is as dry as Champagne can be without having a mean spirit. I love this with the Kumamoto oysters that we get from Hog Island Oyster Co. up in Tomales Bay this time of year—this Extra Brut richens up with the shellfish, and gets me shucking the next one!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

A.D. Coutelas "Cuvée Louis Victor" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-31-2019
It is growers who are innovating the most radically in Champagne, and no wine in our stock shows that more than the Cuvée Louis Victor. This comes from a single large barrel and is made in the solera style, with wines from 2007 to 2014 included in the blend. The composition is unknown, as 20% is bottled each year and replaced with the best vin clair in the cellar, regardless of variety. This wine has savory, deep richness and fans of Selosse and Krug should take note… It is easily one of the most complex Champagnes that we have on the shelf.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut
Review Date: 01-08-2019
The Derot-Delugny estate has been producing their own Champagne for four generations in the tiny village of Croutes-sur-Marne in the western part of the region. Everything they do is estate, and this all Pinot Gris Champagne is their smallest production. It is the only time I have ever tasted a single variety Pinot Gris from Champagne, and it is fantastic as well as exotic! With both effusive and tropical notes, this is still grounded in the world of dry Champagne with a dry (7g/l) finish and plenty of minerality. A must try with asian cuisine!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2002 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne Late Release (Direct from Roederer 2019)
Review Date: 12-14-2018
Last July, Cinnamon and I were invited to the Hotel Particular, a private residence at Champagne Louis Roederer, for a wonderful dinner with Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, the chef de cave of Roederer. We enjoyed this Champagne with our main course, a duck and root vegetable dish. This 2002 was from the last disgorgement that was released years ago, but Jean-Baptiste held some back for extra ageing on the cork. It was disgorged in 2011, and has now had seven years on the cork. This was Cristal in its power age, full of Verzenay hazelnut concentration, leesy richness, and open-knit expressiveness. I feel honored that we received an allocation of 15 bottles to sell!
Drink from 2018 to 2018

Thierry Thibault Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-27-2018
Thierry Thibault expanded doubled our allocation of this excellent Champagne this year... Maybe we will have it in stock for two days after the email this time! Thierry is the son of one of the giants of Champagne, the late great Daniel Thibault who was chef de cave for both Charles and Piper Heidsieck and pioneered the concept of transparency in non-vintage Champagne with his mis-en-cave bottlings. The estate spans two villages in heart of the western valley of the marne- Verneuil and Passy-Grigny. This Champagne is composed of 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier and is aged for three years on the lees. This is a very bright, fresh style with vibrant acidity, but also with wonderful Chablis like clean earth and complexity. It has a perfect, tight bead and a creamy texture, as well as a very dry and long finish. I was shocked at the price- this is the kind of value that will not last on our shelves!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Jean de La Fontaine "La Flatteuse" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 11-08-2018
This rosé Champagne has the haunting, nearly strawberry like fruit set against a bright, dry finish that makes me thirsty for more and more. How do they make something so subtle, well balanced and intriguing for such a great price? I can't wait to visit them next year and find out!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

Jean de La Fontaine "L'Éloquente" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-08-2018
This well balanced brut is a spectacular bargain, due to a direct buy, straight from the producer. Not only does this have a fine pearl of spectacular bubbles and a wonderful natural toastiness from long ageing on the lees, it also has the crisp dry finish that I love in an aperitif Champagne. I promise you will be surprised by the quality that this delivers for the price. Get it before the K&L staff buys it all!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

Laurent-Perrier "Cuvée Rosé" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-27-2018
If you haven't tasted the LP Rose lately, you should! This all Pinot Noir Champagne is entirely made from Grand Cru fruit and lighter than most that are made in this style- it is macerated with all of the skins in contact with all of the juice. The cellar master always judges the length of the maceration on the aromatics, and the result is a rose with character that is still completely elegant. The LP Rose has set the standard for rose Champagne for many years, and for good reason.

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-27-2018
Our most exciting new value in Champagne is here, the Emblematis from Jerome Trudon. With more than three years of ageing on the lees, this all estate blend of 70% Meunier and 30% Pinot Noir should be more expensive... Luckily we buy direct and the dollar is strong! This wine has 50% reserves from older vintages and features subtle baguette toast and exotic yet elegant fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Since Jerome does not use malolactic, this wine has great focus and a finish that I would only expect from a wine costing 50% more!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Trudon "Rosephile" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-27-2018
This is the only pure Meunier rose that we have that has been made by blending red wine with white. About 91% of the base is pressed gently to make the white wine, while 9% is sourced from over 60 year old vines and made as red. The result is a rose Champagne with decadent luxardo cherry flavor, balanced by a precise, fine bead and very good minerality. The finish is dry and long- a very impressive Champagne.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2008 Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-20-2018
For me, this is the best young Dom Perignon I have ever tasted, better than the 2002, 1996 and even the 1990. We were treated to a preview bottle, and what a treat it was. I found the wine to have the classic Dom Perignon yeasty nose, but found it to be as transparent and pure in the mouth as their ethereal 2004. On the back end, the wine has concentration to spare, and blooming, chalky finish that seems to still be with me two days later as I type this. This wine is made from 95% grand cru fruit, with the balance of 5% coming from the historic 1er cru of Hautvillers, where the monk Dom Perignon worked and lived. As usual, this is very close to 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, although the powers that be do not like to discuss the cepage.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

2016 Felton Road "Bannockburn" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 09-04-2018
This has to be one of the best Pinot Noirs in the store, and is a fabulous value at this one-time-only price. This has the sappy, powerful dark fruit, married to excellent structure and acidity that one usually only finds in very expensive Burgundy. While it is delicious now, especially as a partner for rack of lamb, fans of this wine should consider laying some down for the future. Felton Road has an excellent track record for ageability, and the 2016 seems particularly well suited to cellaring.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

2016 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Alexander Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 09-04-2018
This is one of the best young Geyservilles that I have tasted, and reminds me very much of the great 1995 when it was young. I don't think it would be an overstatement to call this bottling one of the best wines of California, as they age gracefully for decades, and are completely imbued with the soul of Sonoma. Not only does this 2016 have the wild berry fruit and spice, it has great structure. I was surprised to read that it is only 7% Petite Sirah, as the tannic backbone of this wine was better than the Cabernet we tasted next to it! It is all about the vineyard here, and if you want one of the great terroir wines of the Golden State, don't miss it!
Drink from 2018 to 2018

2012 Gilbert Jacquesson Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-14-2018
The great 2012 vintage only yielded one press load of this sensational Champagne- 4000 bottles! This old vine, pure Meunier Champagne comes from two massal selected plots in Troissy. One was planted in 1969, the other in 1970. The wine has exquisite balance, with not only the spicy, pear fruit of the meunier variety, but also warm bread aromas and flavors from long ageing, and very nice focus and acidity. This Champagne is drier than most Meunier at less than 7g/l dosage. This rarity is a knock out from one of our smallest grower producers.
Drink from 2018 to 2018
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Cap St-George, St-Georges-St-Emilion
Review Date: 08-07-2018
This vanilla toast and wild fruit exotic St. Georges St. Emilion rang in a new era in Bordeaux for me! Now the big right bank wines have all of the oak and fruit that they have had for the modern era, but without the heat or the extra heaviness. This is a super full bodied Bordeaux, but it still stays fresh and lifted. The scale of the wine is hard to believe for the money, with great sweet tannin on the finish.

2017 Tenuta Roveglia Chiaretto Rosé
Review Date: 08-07-2018
This fantastic rosé from Garda is a perfect summer time wine. The Chiaretto from Tenuta Roveglia has the breadth and power of Tavel, but without the heat or heaviness. If you are looking for a bottle that has a lot of flavor, but without excessive alcohol, you will love this!
Top Value!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
VN 90

2017 Santo Assyrtiko Santorini Greece
Review Date: 08-07-2018
This clean and refreshing Assyrtiko from Santo has more body than most, and drinks very nicely on its own. That being said, it has plenty of aromatics as well as flinty minerality on the bone dry finish. I would love to pair this wine with spanakopita with spinach and feta!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
W&S 93

2016 Joseph Phelps "Freestone Vineyards" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-07-2018
The very cool conditions out in the Freestone AVA have allowed the folks at Joseph Phelps to make a pretty amazing Chardonnay. Not only does this have the intense, full throttle flavors that our customers love in California Chardonnay, but it is also balanced out by the crispness of the coast. If you are looking for a Chardonnay with great texture and full flavor, but are tired of heaviness and residual sugar, this is a perfect choice!

2017 Margerum "Riviera" Central Coast Rosé
Review Date: 08-07-2018
The "Riviera" rosé from Margerum broke all of my stereotypes of domestic pink wine. This extraordinarily light and crisp wine is made from very early picked grenache, so early that the alcohol is only 11.3%, making it among the lowest that we have in rosé from anywhere in the world. I love the hint of red fruit in this subtle, aperitif style rosé, and can't wait to fool my colleagues with it blind!
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 92 W&S 90

2010 Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-07-2018
This is surprisingly exotic Champagne, with plenty of white fruit, and even some candied ginger on the very open nose. It is also very toasty and generous, with plenty of the yeasty, baguette quality that so many Champagne lovers can’t get enough of. The color is silvery and the wine has the minerality and steely cut to match. This vintage is composed of all estate grown, grand cru fruit and is given slightly less liquer de tirage at bottling and so has slightly lower pressure than most Champagne. One can usually expect Champagne to be six atmospheres, while this is between 4.5 and 5… But I can’t say I noticed less bubbles. In fact, this had the precise, tiny bead that one would expect from the people who bring us Cristal! Don’t let this great bottle slip by you just because it isn’t from a famous vintage. I found it to be very intriguing and delicious Champagne, and a worthy follow up to the 2008 and 2009. It drinks very well now, but I expect it should keep until 2030 without any problem at all.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-03-2018
Bollinger has a sterling reputation in Champagne for stalwart quality for a great reason. They do the hard work to make great Champagne, and there Special Cuvee is the standard barer for their range. Along with Krug, Bollinger is the only grand marque to refuse to give up their barrels, which they still ferment the wine in to this day. They are located in the village of Ay, famous for being the chalkiest terroir for Pinot Noir in all of Champagne, and Ay is the soul of this blend. It is one of the fullest, most powerful non-vintages from the grand marques, and also one of the driest. If you are a fan of Champagne and haven't tried this classic lately, you should!

Petit & Bajan Nuit Blanche Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-03-2018
The excitement of the best of Avize is all here in this bottle. Like the best of Selosse, Bonville or Agrapart this wine is buzzing with chalky energy and manages both richness and cut at the same time. This wine is very dry, with a dosage of just 4g/l, but it has the natural roundness and toast to bring it into perfect balance. Sadly, what we have is all we will get, so I am buying my case now.
Price: $42.99 Add To Cart

2016 Domaine de Verquière Vacqueyras
Review Date: 07-31-2018
This fabulous, grown up Rhone has not only great texture and poise but also the wonderful, wild blackberry fruit that makes the wine so fun to drink. It is fermented in concrete, keeping all of the soul while sacrificing none of the clean concentration of this sunny, southern red. This is perfect wine to go with grilled meats, especially sausages on the grill!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JD 89 - 92

2017 Domaine Vico Corse Rosé (Corsica)
Review Date: 07-31-2018
The rosé of Corsica has taken the staff of K&L by storm over the last few years. The Domaine Vico is a delicious example, with more dark fruit and presence than our provencal bottlings, but not the excess alcohol or weight of the Rhone or domestic offerings. We had this at our staff barbeque with a tomato tart that Cinnamon had made, and it was fantastic. It is also great for just sipping in the yard!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price

2017 Domaine de la Ferme Blanche Cassis Rosé
Review Date: 07-31-2018
This is one of my favorite rosé wines that we have, regardless of price. Cassis rosé is very hard to find, and always very expensive, but Keith has found a great producer to bring in direct with Domaine De La Ferme Blanche. With a generous, fragrant nose of wild strawberries, this wine also has nice fruit in the mouth. The finish is what sets it apart- this is a long, dry, serious wine- but you don't have to take it too seriously! The balance stays fun and easy to drink, but the depth is there if you care to pay attention!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2005 Tullibardine "The Murray" Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-31-2018
The Murray from Tullibardine is one concentrated, delicious malt! If you like whisky with high class sweetness, beautifully balanced barrel spice and a finish that goes on forever, this is a great choice. I love an unpeated malt that still has complexity, and this has captivating layers of flavor.
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

Cutty Sark "Prohibition Edition" Blended Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 07-31-2018
Whisky drinkers rejoice! The Prohibition Edition from Cutty Sark is here, and it tastes great. Unlike most blended scotch, even much more expensive bottles, this does not have the raw grain flavor that I don't care for. Instead, it has more than a hint of sherry cask and a solid, medium body. I also appreciate the higher proof- at 100, this is perfect for an ice cube.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WA 90 WE 90

2017 Torti Pinot Noir Pavia
Review Date: 07-31-2018
Old world Pinot Noir for a great price? I know, it is hard to believe! We had the Torti Pavia this Sunday at our staff barbeque, and I loved the way it went with the chorizo and the chicken sausage that we were enjoying for appetizers. It is a super refreshing style, with high toned red fruit, light body, but yet a surprising bit of sap in the middle that really appealed to me. This is a must try for anyone who likes lighter style Oregon Pinot Noir- they can do it in Italy too!
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2009 La Rioja Alta "904" Gran Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 07-24-2018
The Gran Reserva 904 is one of the greatest wines of Spain, and always stands on the table proudly next to any wine of the world. The 2009 is a special opportunity, as all of the oldest plots, usually reserved for the 890, have been added into it. This wine is a baby, packed, and concentrated with the vanillian tinged dark tempranillo fruit of youth. It is the kaleidoscopic back end that hints at what it will become in the future with blood orange, leather and earth all flaring out on the finish.
Drink from 2020 to 2020

2016 Mas Codina Xarel-lo Penedes
Review Date: 07-24-2018
Our star cava producer has a hidden talent- making great still white table wine at an awesome price! This dry, clean white wine has striking honeyed intrigue on its very long finish. It is structured very much like a good Pouilly-Fuissé, with some good mid-palate weight and great refreshing acidity. This would be a perfect partner with a big seafood paella!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2014 Cristom "Estate" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-24-2018
This might be the best drinking current release that I have had from Oregon! I love the translucent ruby color, the complex nose of red cherry, bacon and vanilla as well as the developed, silky texture. While I was tasting it, all I could think about is Oregon plank salmon, and how well this purely Oregonian wine would go with the noble, grilled on the wood fish.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

Rieger's Midwestern Missouri Dry Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 07-19-2018
The story of this gin is amazing- the master distiller of Tanqueray taking on a passion project in the midwest, but the spirit itself is even more so! This runs straight down the middle with firm juniper flavor married to a flawless, creamy texture. The quality is just higher than most in this style, and the price is considerably lower than most gins of this superlative quality. I never thought I would fall in love with a gin from Missouri!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Piùcinque Gin 750ml
Review Date: 07-19-2018
What a stylish bottle of gin! I suppose we should expect as much from the Italians! With haunting citrus notes from the deft use of bergamot and a rich, creamy texture that never becomes heavy, this is worthy of being considered in the top tier of gin. The sage in the recipe gives this the right amount of green lift to balance out the exoticism, and I can't wait to get this home and make a G&T with it!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

J.H. Cutter Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-19-2018
This blend is definitely greater than the sum of its parts! Four fifths of this blend is from the heart of Kentucky bourbon country, and grounds this whiskey with the richness and smooth manners of a southern gentleman. The other fifth is wild rye from the left coast, giving this spice, wildness and energy. It all works out in perfect harmony, making it my favorite new American whiskey that I have tried since the "craft" whiskey movement started!
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc "Les Sétilles"
Review Date: 07-17-2018
One sip of this transported me back to La Table, Olivier Leflaive’s very nice bistro in the center of Puligny. The Les Setilles has both the meyer lemon citrus drive and the only-in-Burgundy earthiness in spades, all at a great price. Their is not much of the frost affected 2016 to be had, but the quality is at least as good as the fantastic 2014's.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2015 Montes Alpha Pinot Noir Aconcagua Coast
Review Date: 07-17-2018
What a value in Pinot Noir! If you are looking for a great wine to have a glass of after work, this dark fruited, easy drinking, extroverted Montes Alpha from the Aconcagua Valley is a perfect choice. This is velvety and easy going, but it does not have any residual sugar weighing it down or excessive alcohol to diminish the pleasure. A great choice for a red wine to enjoy on its own!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 91

2016 Oakridge Estate "Willowlake Vineyard" Chardonnay Yarra Valley
Review Date: 07-17-2018
This super flinty, focussed, concentrated Chardonnay from Oakridge Estate smashes every stereotype of Australian wine. With excellent acidity, light body, but undeniably concentrated minerality, this is a perfect wine to pair with everything from oysters to grilled shrimp. The cool, refreshing style of this Willowlake Chardonnay is far from the fat wines of Barossa as Chablis is from Chateauneuf!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JH 97

Jim Beam Bonded 100 Proof Bottled in Bond Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 07-03-2018
What a deal! This bottled in bond offering from Jim Beam is going to be a new family tradition for the Westby house. It is better than most of the craft whiskey that I have tasted at three times the price, and works just as well for neat sipping as it does for all of your Bourbon drinks. It has great vanilla flavor and corn richness, but doesn't finish candied or harsh. What a find!
Top Value!
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2016 Conreria d'Scala Dei "Les Brugueres" Blanco Priorat
Review Date: 07-03-2018
I can count the white Priorat that I have had a chance to taste on one hand. These rare wines come around only once in a blue moon, and are a must try for fans of this region. For an area so strongly associated with gigantic, dark reds, the Les Brugueres Blanco couldn't be more different. This is light, not at all affected by oak, super crisp white wine. It is a subtle, understated white with considerable complexity and grace. Try it out- you don't know the whole Priorat story until you do!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2016 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 07-03-2018
I find Seghesio to be one of the most reliably good producers of Zinfandel in the state. Their regular Sonoma County offering is a huge success in 2016, with plenty of wild, dark, brambly fruit and great spice. It is low in tannin, but has good zip on the back end, and I can't wait to crack it open with a big rack of pork ribs!
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
WS 93

2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-29-2018
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 to 0

2008 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-05-2018
The most anticipated Champagne in my 20 years in the wine business is finally for sale. This has been so hyped up with 100 point scores that I figured it couldn't possibly be as good as the critics say... But it is. This is the most concentrated, long finishing Cristal I have ever tasted, and so loaded with chalky minerality and bright vivacious acidity that one could mistake it for a blanc de blancs. But then the hazelnut cream Verzenay Pinot Noir swells up to balance everything out, leaving me at a loss for words. The big shame is how much will be drunk down immediately (it is all too delicious right now) since the real story is the long term ageability of this masterpiece!
Drink from 2018 to 2018

Krug "Grande Cuvée" 166 Ème Édition Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-31-2018
The wine was loaded with limey, Puligny like drive and a ton of chalky minerality, and I would have guessed that it had even more than the 39% Chardonnay that they did use in it. It cut the fish like a razor blade, and had fantastic structure and chalky length. I think this is a great one to put down for a few years. It is brimming with power! I think this is the most concentrated Grand Cuvée that I have drunk young. My suspicion is that little, and perhaps no vintage wine will be made at Krug in 2010, allowing them to use lots that would normally go into more expensive wines. This is the conundrum of multi-vintage blends. The market scrambles for lots like the 164- which had a majority of the great 2008 in it. But, we know that there will almost certainly be not only Krug vintage 2008, but also Clos du Mesnil and Clos Ambonnay, meaning those wines were not available for the Grande Cuvée. Many at Krug say that the best Grande Cuvée that they have drunk is the 157- which is mostly from the miserable 2001 vintage. They put all the best stuff in it- that is something to think about!
Drink from 2018 to 2018

Alfred Gratien Brut Classique Champagne
Review Date: 05-31-2018
This fantastic non-vintage is entirely barrel fermented and then aged on the lees in the bottle for five years before release. It is composed of half Chardonnay and a quarter each Pinot Noir and Meunier. The long ageing has given this Champagne great depth and natural toast, but the old fashioned non-malolactic winemaking has balanced that with incredible dry finishing freshness. This is one of the finest famous names in Champagne, and this wine is an unbelievable value at this price!
Top Value!

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-31-2018
The Grand Siecle has long been my favorite tete de cuvee, but for several years it has been out of reach. Since 2008, just a trickle has made it to the USA, and it was a fantastically expensive trickle. We managed to secure some at a very fair price and I can't say enough about what a great wine this is. Most big houses talk a big game about the "Blenders Art" and the synergy of Grand Cru terroirs when combined not just with balancing sites, but also across time. This is the embodiment of synergistic blending and monk’s patience. Nearly every Grand Cru in Champagne is represented; the wine is from three different vintages and aged over 10 years on the lees. I believe this is the most underrated of all the tête de cuvees in Champagne. First of all, it is real and honest tête de cuvee, representing only a sliver of their production and allowing them to select the cream of the crop for this bottling. Some of the most famous tête de cuvees are actually the second highest production wine from their respective houses! As one would expect from a Champagne that is aged this long from such excellent sources, it is very complex. This complexity is not a vinous, heavy complexity, however; in fact it is almost vanishingly subtle and elegant. I think it's necessary to spend time with the Grand Siècle to truly understand it. The wine is simply lovely with a fantastic bead of tiny bubbles to start and I always feel like a having second glass when I taste it. That is when I start to notice the complexity! That desire for more speaks volumes.

2015 Raised By Wolves "Old School" Cinsault - Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch
Review Date: 05-30-2018
I love it when a wine surprises me like this one did! The "Old School" Cinsault from Raised By Wolves is made in a buy gone style- low alcohol, balanced and refreshing. If you are expanding your wine horizons, this is one not to miss, and I think it will go spectacularly with a sausage grill up or even a fancy steak. It is just wild and brambly enough from the Cinsault to keep you guessing!
Price: Hidden View Price

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