Reviewers


K&L Email Alerts

Sign up to receive custom alerts, new arrivals and the latest happenings from K&L Wines

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 >>
2009 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
For many years now, Champagne Louis Roederer has been leading the way in progressive practices in the vineyard in the region. This approach showed in the wines at this year’s staff summit, and in a quite spectacular way. The wines of Roederer really have a shine to them, and the soon to be released 2009 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne exemplifies this luminescent style. Roederer has been the largest organic vineyard owner in Champagne for many years, and this is the first year that Critstal has been made exclusively from these organic, mid slope, pure chalk sites. The ripe vintage of 2009 has made for a precocious wine that is already showing much more aroma and giving much more pleasure than Cristal normally does when first released. That being said, this is a chalky, complex, detailed Champagne that has decades and decades of time to shine!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2004 Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 09-14-2016
My favorite vintage Champagne of our 2016 staff summit was the 2004 Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne. It epitomized the ideal of elegance in wine, and had a creamy ease and subtle restraint that would leave even the most jaded of palates asking for another glass. The incredible fruit sources in the Grand Cru’s of Chouilly, Mesnil and Avize and the natural balance of the classic 2004 vintage undoubtedly contributed top quality ingredients, but the cold fermentations and judicious use of top quality cooperage at Billecart delivered the wine… This is a bottle I hope to drink again soon.
Drink from 2016 to 2016

2008 Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-14-2016
The 2008 vintage has rightly been hailed as a great one in Champagne, and this Veuve Clicquot Rose is a great example of this fantastic harvest. I drank this with Mr. DeMarville, chef de cave of Clicquot, paired with a long roasted chicken at Town in San Carlos- what an experience! The wine has incredible power and a nearly Burgundian savor to it which was very satisfying with the food. It also has the clarity and lift of the highest acid vintage since 1996. This is a wine for the ages... But it will be very difficult to keep my hands off of now!
Drink from 2016 to 2016
Price: $84.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2016
This is Champagne of masterful balance, and certainly defies its reasonable price with its elegance. Cinnamon and I shared this with her mother Margaret the night before last, and while it has the black cherry of Ay, it is not as powerful or obvious as most of the wines from that village. It ended up coming very close to our three person fridge to recycling bin record!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 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

Aecht Schlenkerla Helles Lager, Germany (500ml)
Review Date: 07-20-2016
I hate flavored beer. This is the exception that proves the rule- a subtle, smoky lager that reminds me of a smoked sausage combined with the right beer to wash it down. If you want something a little different, but don't need guava, lemon grass or sauterne barrels in your beer, check this out!
Price: $4.49 Add To Cart

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!

2014 Felton Road "Calvert" Pinot Noir Central Otago (Biodynamic)
Review Date: 06-22-2016
This is one of the most serious bottles of Pinot Noir in the store. When we had this yesterday, I was struck by the depth, concentration and length of this Calvert. If you like your Pinot Noir flashy and sweet to drink in front of the TV, look elsewhere, but if you want a bottle of intrigue complexity to pair with food, the Felton road is it. I loved this wine for it's dark cherry and new leather aromas, seamless medium bodied texture and dry, high toned finish. I immediately thought of leg of lamb, roast potatoes, and at least one extra bottle of this Cavert!
Drink from 2016 to 2016

Fallet-Dart "Clos du Mont" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-02-2016
This comes from a small plot adjacent to the church in Drachy, and has been planted for over 1000 years. The monks of the middle-ages had knowledge of great vineyard sites that we can barely aspire to today, and they never bothered to construct a handmade wall around anything that was short of world class. This clos is now a little worse for wear- it was bombed heavily in World War I and much of the original wall was destroyed. This wine is aged for over 12 years on the lees and is a blend of the great 2002 and 1999 vintages. It is composed of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir. It is the lowest dosage of the line at 5 grams per liter, but because of the long ageing is no less rich than the rest… I would say that it is the richest of the bunch! This is one of the greatest Champagnes that we carry, and while we will never get enough to keep it in stock all the time, it is the kind of wine that will stand on the table next to anything. This is creamy, nougat loaded Champagne that manages to be honeyed and fantastically complex without getting heavy or ponderous. If you are a fan of a fine bead, the extraordinary long sur-lee-ageing given to this wine will impress you with a near perfect texture.
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

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

Wine Club

$29.99
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!

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

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 #2 Barrel Aged Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 02-11-2016
If you are interested in barrel aged gin, the Venus Batch No. 2 should be the first one you try. Sean was inspired by Manhattans when creating this, and it shows through in the finished product. The base spirit has a custom blend of botanicals made to go into barrel, and it rests for two months in ½ new and ½ one year old 53 gallon, 3 char American oak. I have to say my mind went straight to Negronis when I tasted it, and I love the bay leaf and spice in this top quality gin.
Price: $36.99 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 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

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

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
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

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!

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

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)