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

Page: prev 1 2 3 4 5 next >>
Launois "Quartz" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
We can never get enough Launois Quartz at K&L. Unfortunately; the production is limited as Bernard Launois only has so many grapes each year in the great Mesnil plot of Les Chetillons. Having access to single vineyard, estate, grand cru Champagne from one of the best growers in the region at such a fair price makes me proud to be the Champagne guy at K&L. This wine has a fabulous white fruit quality that few Champagnes get at any price, and a chalky laser beam finish that is pure Mesnil. No Champagne we carry sells out faster.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Launois "Veuve Clemence" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
This is the "insiders" Launois, and most of what we can get sells very quickly to people who have visited the property in Mesnil. This comes from the tops and bottoms of the slopes in the grand crus of Mesnil, Cramant and Oger, and is aged for an extra year compared to the reserve. This has classic chalky drive and length, with more than a little complexity. Don't get hooked- we never get much and it always goes fast!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Veuve Clicquot "Rich" Doux Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
We got a huge laugh of the frivolity of drinking this Champagne in ice filled goblets with cucumber after closing the store last night. It was the opposite of the intellectually engaged, notebooks out studiousness of most of our tasting here at K&L. Best of all, the wine tasted good. I had recently been by the Niyija Market in Mountain View and bought some very nice Japanese cucumbers, so I packed up my cutting board and my Nakiri to prep them after closing. I put two thin slices at the bottom of each goblet, loaded the goblets with ice, poured in the Champagne, through another cucumber slice in and decorated the rim with one more. That was all there was to it!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart

Brasserie Lebbe "L'Amalthee" Saison, France (750ml)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
France is not famous for its beer, but this Basque beauty is worthy of your attention! This has depth and intrigue, but not at at the expense of moreish refreshment. A 750ml of this goes down quite quickly. I have a question: why does the best beer in France have to come from the opposite side of the country to Champagne? I would love to see just one tap handle of this in Epernay... I would become a fixture in that bar!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

Orval Trappist Ale, Belgium (11.2 oz)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
As a young wine professional I often yearned for a complex drink when I didn't have the money to afford it. At times like that, I always turned to Orval, a beer that provides an experience akin to 1er Cru Burgundy, but at a price that I could easily afford even when rent was due. Somehow the monks manage to combine great lift, refreshment and ease of drinking with serious layers of savory complexity. The look of the stuff in the glass is worth the price of admission on its own... The Belgian lace this ale throws always takes longer than I want to wait to come down in the glass low enough for me to have a sip!
Price: $5.99 Add To Cart
WE 96

Anchor Brewing "Anchor Steam" Ale, California (12oz)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
I can't think of a beverage that I have had a longer and better relationship with that San Francisco's great Anchor Steam. This is the golden states great contribution to the beer lovers of the world- made at ale temperatures in shallow, open concrete vats with lager yeast. This is a beer of impeccable balance, and even though I must have had more than a thousand of them by now, it never gets old. This is the kind of beer that real beer drinkers love- it is not a box to check, it is something to buy a case of. Whenever I have visitors from Champagne, I often offer them an Anchor Steam before diving into Mount Eden Chardonnay and Ridge Monte Bello. It is that good.
Top Value!
Price: $1.69 Add To Cart

Lustau Almacenista Oloroso "Pata de Gallina" (500ml)
Review Date: 06-28-2016
A bottle of Pata De Gallina and a plate of Cotswold, Cheddar and Stilton lead me into predation every time. I pour a big glass, put the bottle back in the cellar and close the door; otherwise I will be powerless against its charms and pour another. Then I go back to the cellar... It is the tang and zip of this bone dry wine that make it so moreish, while the scale, richness and complexity make it beguiling. What a wine!

Four Pillars Navy Strength Gin 750ml
Review Date: 05-28-2016
This has all the great attributes of the Rare Dry from Four Pillars- just more of them! If you love citrus lift and a strong juniper foundation and sneaky power, this is for you. I love the way that Navy Strength Gin leads me down the wrong path, and I can't wait to get a bottle of this home.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars Rare Dry Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 05-28-2016
The colonies know their gin. This fragrant, balanced bottle does not try and reinvent the gin wheel, it just tastes better than most drinks. I love the high citrus notes and the low juniper base in the Four Pillars Rare. I think you will find it as at home in tonic as in a Martini. I am buying mine now!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

Jean Josselin "Audace" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 05-27-2016
This deeply colored rose Champagne is one of the most painstakingly selected and made in our stock. Almost all of the fruit comes from the Viller Deniere parcel, one of the most limestone rich sites in Gye-sur-Seine. The fruit is then sorted so only grapes with healthy skins are used for the Audace. All of this fruit is then macerated with all of the juice for about 18 hours, but the extra color from this special plot still yields a lot of color, but without too much tannin. This results in a rose with shockingly pure Pinot Noir fruit, with great richness and power!
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart

2006 Veuve Clicquot "La Grande Dame" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-14-2016
This is one of the most elegant, subtle, and delicate bottles in our Champagne section. Crafted entirely from Grand Cru vineyards, this great Champagne could not be further from the mass market style. It is a jewel for the jaded palate, and I can't get enough of its laid back, creamy, detailed style. I had this most recently with a warm Napa Cabbage salad, and it worked perfectly, cooling and refreshing my palate after every savory, bacon loaded bite. It is composed of 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay and has class and length to spare!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2008 Veuve Clicquot "Gold Label Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-14-2016
This is one of the best examples of the great 2008 vintage in Champagne that I have yet to taste. While many people only think of Clicquot for their yellow label (it is after all the number one selling Champagne in the USA!) I have always found the Gold Label to be not only their best wine, but one of the great Champagnes of the world. This might be the best young one that I have ever tasted, and has all of the features of a legend in the making. It is composed of 61% Pinot Noir, 34% Chardonnay and 5% Meunier sourced exclusively from Grand and 1er Cru vineyards. This is the first vintage with Dominique DeMarville at the helm, and he has integrated 5% of large would foudres into the otherwise stainless steel fermentation. This is a bottle that has it all- big, nutty, dark cherry power from powerful Pinot Noir and incredible chalky drive and a near endless finish from classy Chardonnay. It is impossible to have too much of this in the cellar- it is not only fabulous now, but will improve for as long as you can keep your hands off of it!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne Jeroboam (3L)
Review Date: 04-20-2016
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!

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 04-20-2016
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!

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 04-20-2016
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!

Lanson Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 04-13-2016
This dry, racy rosé has great toastiness and an exceptionally fine bead. It is composed of 50% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonnay and 15% Meunier, with 7% Bouzy rouge giving the Champagne its color. It has been aged for three years on the lees and is dosed at only 9 grams per liter. Like all of Lanson's Champagnes, the wine is fermented in stainless steel without malolactic.

Charles Ellner "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-06-2016
This all estate-grown blend of 75% Chardonnay and 25% Pinot Noir is an outstanding value in top-class Champagne. This wine has been aged for over five years on the lees and has a wonderful lemon curd and brioche nose. They never do malolactic at Charles Ellner, and because of that decision they must age the wines longer... The results are spectacular. This has incredible texture and finesse, but also fantastic mineral-laden length!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 VN 90

2006 Billecart-Salmon "Cuvée Elizabeth" Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-25-2016
I tasted this with Antoine Billecart in October, and it lives up to its lofty reputation as the best rosé in the world. It is composed of even parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but it is the red wine that is added (about 9%) that puts this wine in a class of its own. The red Pinot Noir is all from the 1er Cru of Mareuil, in fact from one 80-year-old plot called the Valofroy. This ultimately elegant Champagne has kaleidoscopic complexity with everything inside from white flowers to subtle hazelnuts. The Volnay-like character of the red wine is in the background now, but for the patient, this wine will be a treat on the level of any wine in the world!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $249.00 Add To Cart
VN 94 WE 94

2012 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru "153rd Anniversary Cuvee"
Review Date: 02-25-2016
There is no place in the world that values specificity of site like Burgundy, and it is rare to see a blend of 1er Cru sites like this. Jadot has created a cuvee that is greater than the some of its parts for their 153rd anniversary, and this is without a doubt the best value in fine red wine for your cellar that we have at K&L today. If you love finesse, delicacy and balance in your Pinot Noir, this wine will give you great pleasure right now. If you are willing to wait, this wine will doubtless gain power, breadth and texture over the next couple of decades and turn into a real "blood making" Beaune. I am putting buying a case for myself, I recommend that you do too.
Top Value!

Ruinart Brut Rosé Champagne (ships as 1.5L due to shape of bottle)
Review Date: 02-12-2016
No Champagne is more famous within France than Ruinart, but it is only now that connoisseurs in the USA are starting to discover these great wines from Champagne. This rich, well balanced rose will delight fans of great pink Champagne with a great contrast between pure Pinot fruit and pure Champagne chalk. It is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay, with 18% of the Pinot vinified red and blended in for color and flavor. It has a little more color than most rose Champagne and a soft, full bodied texture. It is rich and satisfying, despite the deceptively high proportion of Chardonnay.

Ruinart Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (ships as 1.5L due to shape of bottle)
Review Date: 02-12-2016
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!These crus; Trepail and Villers Marmery on the Mountain of Reims round out the mineraly focus of the Cotes de Blancs fruit. This is a creamy, subtly toasty bottle of Champagne with a little bit of lychee exoticism. It has class to spare and is exceptionally easy to drink.

Venus Spirits Aquavit Blend #1 (750ml)
Review Date: 02-11-2016
Cinnamon and I tasted through the entire line of products at Venus last week and the biggest surprise was the fabulous Aquavit. I have never had a spirit with such a strong anise component that stayed in such lovely elegant balance before. The high quality black licorice aromas and flavors were a real revelation.
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart

Venus Spirits Batch #1 Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 02-11-2016
The Blend No. 1 gin inspired Cinnamon and I to travel to Santa Cruz to meet the distillers and tour the facility. When I first tasted it in August of 2014 I wrote the following review: “This one is coming home with me! I love it when a local, small production product delivers not just quality, but also excellent value. The wonderful, creamy texture of this gin is balanced by high toned citrus and grounded by clean juniper. I can't wait to get some fever tree tonic, lime and obnoxiously large ice cubes into this... It will be hard just to have one.” This is in the top echelon of gins world wide, and I would put it in on the table next to anything. At the price, it is peerless. If you love gin and haven’t tried it, you are cheating yourself!
Top Value!
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!

2012 d'Issan, Margaux
Review Date: 01-12-2016
Tear up your vintage chart and tear into this 2012 d'Issan the next time you have a special steak night- you will be glad that you did. It is very rare for such a young wine to charm me as much as this great Margaux. This excellent Bordeaux is amazingly open and balanced for drinking right now, and perhaps the best fruit driven Cab we have from anywhere at this price point. If you like a wine with sexy dark fruit and seamless texture, this is a great choice. I love the coffee house oak and seamless texture in this bottle!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

Michel Arnould Verzenay "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

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 RP 90

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: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 WS 90

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 Vieilles 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

Pierre Paillard "Les Parcelles" Grand Cru Extra Brut Bouzy Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
Non-vintage Champagne does not get much better than this. The Paillard family makes a statement with this great cuvee and show how very serious that they are about quality. All of the details have been studied and sweated over to make this wine, from planting only massal selected vines, to working towards an organic certification. This is Champagne that has power without losing its drinkability, and richness without sweetness. If you are only going to try one new Champagne this year, this should be it!
Drink from 2014 to 2014
Price: $48.99 Add To Cart
ST 91 RP 90

Pierre Paillard "Les Terres Roses" Grand Cru Extra 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!

Fleury "Cuveé Robert Fleury" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
This all 2001 Champagne was meant to be vintage, but they decided to sell it as non-vintage, after hanging onto it for more than three years longer on the lees than the 2004. It is all fermented in small oak barrels, and composed of 53% Pinot Noir, 31% Chardonnay and 16% Pinot Blanc. This is rich, porcini and truffle scented brioche Champagne, and the ultimate pairing with foie gras or charcuterie. After 13 years on the lees, it only needed 6g/l of dosage to arrive at the perfect balance. For all of the weight and intense savory character, it is still snappy and focused on the back end. Too bad there is so little…
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Fleury Brut Rosé de Saignee 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
WS 92 VN 90

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!

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

A.D. Coutelas "Cuvée 1809" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-05-2015
This stunning all barrel fermented blend of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir has the length and finesse to compete with the finest Champagne in the store. Angelique Coutelas ties the top of every one of the 3000 bottles they produce of this with twine- a rewind to the methods of 200 years ago in Champagne. She is one of only three of four people left in the region that knows the technique and has one of the ancient machines for this process! The Champagne is subtle, compelling and loaded with long mineral driven drive!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

A.D. Coutelas "Elixir" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 11-05-2015
If you like dark, nearly red, full powered roses, you have to try the Amaury Coutelas "Elixr" Brut Rosé Champagne. This is composed of 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay but assembled in a completely unique way. Half of the Pinot Noir, sourced from very old vines is macerated into red wine, giving this Champagne strong vinous power and a tremendous amount of savory black cherry fruit. This is a great choice for game birds or turkey. A real powerhouse!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

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

Wild Turkey 101 Rye 1L
Review Date: 09-02-2015
I love liters. They have 250ml more than a 750, which you are going to want in the case of the excellent Wild Turkey 101 Rye. Most rye is purchased spirit in a dressed up package; the "kick'n chicken" rye comes from the Wild Turkey distillery without passing through the hands of another brand owner. It is spicy, surprisingly complex and has very good texture. I love it for Manhattans!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

Ragnaud-Sabourin "K&L Exclusive Fontevieille #35" Cognac (750ml)
Review Date: 09-01-2015
Tasting the Fontevieille 35 Cognac from Ragnaud Sabourin made me wish for a big fire, a big chair and a big snifter. This mature, old fashioned Cognac has plenty of the rancio character that the big houses reserve for their blends in fancy bottles at 10x the price. Tasting it today reminded me of many of the dusty old Louis XIII's and Triomphe's that I have been treated to over the years. I found this expansive, deep and complex Cognac worthy of reflection at the end of the evening. It is a very fine value in top class Cognac!
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart

Thiénot Brut Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 08-27-2015
This Champagne was the surprise of the Oscars - the small upstart house that kicked out Moet! Drink with the stars! It is composed of 45% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir and 20% Meunier. The light gold color and big brioche, cream and baked apple nose gives way to a wine that is packed with power and complexity on the palate. This full bodied Champagne has a luscious finish that is very impressive.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 91

Franck Bonville Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-20-2015
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: $49.99 Add To Cart

Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2015
The famous yellow label- now offered in pink.

Moet & Chandon "Ice Imperial" Champagne
Review Date: 07-28-2015
My favorite use for the first Champagne made for rocks is this modified "Final Word" cocktail: 1 ounce Chartreuse Green 750m 1 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice 2 ounces Moet & Chandon "Ice Imperial" Champagne Prepare a cocktail shaker with plenty of fresh ice, and a large rocks glass with plenty more. Shake the Chartreuse, Luxardo and Lime in the shaker until well chilled. Pour the mixture through a cocktail strainer over the ice in the rocks glass. Top with the Champagne, stir gently and enjoy. As Champagne is less concentrated than gin, it takes a little bit more of it to bring the drink into balance. Since both the lime and the Champagne are acidic, this drink is very bright and refreshing… Perhaps dangerously so! Be careful with these- I thought I was making a more “moderate” drink, but it is easy to get carried away with these!
Price: $56.99 Add To Cart

Deutz "Brut Classic" Champagne
Review Date: 07-07-2015
This great house, located in Ay, is owned by the Roederer group but has a style all of its own. If you love the big, broad Pinot Noir wines of Champagne, this is for you. The wine has a good amount of toast, plenty of richness and finishes dry

Bollinger "Special Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-02-2015
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, you should!

Page: prev 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.
Baron-Fuenté "Galipettes" Brut Champagne ($34.99)

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