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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2006 Bollinger Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 11-07-2017
This super rich, all barrel fermented Champagne from Bollinger is usually sold as "La Grande Année" Rosé for $60 more a bottle. Since the team at Bollinger does not feel that this ripe 2006 will last a generation, they decided to sell it as regular vintage- a first for them. Since it was originally made as "La Grande Année" Rosé, this wine it has been aged all the time on the lees on a cork rather than a crown cap. This is a full, toasty, powerful dry style that will thrill fans of this house, at a price that is too good to miss!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $119.00 Add To Cart
DC 94 JG 92

Canard-Duchêne "Authentic" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 10-05-2017
This charming rose is an excellent value, and I love the creamy texture and beautiful ripe strawberry fruit. The team at Canard Duchene has sourced almost all of the fruit for this rose from the mountain of Reims. It is composed of 45% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay and 25% Meunier. While this rose has great fruit on the nose and on the palate, it finishes nice and dry. At this price, why not try it?
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Canard-Duchêne "Authentic" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-05-2017
If you are looking for a richer, toastier style of Champagne for the aperitif, this Authentic from Canard-Duchene is a great choice. It is composed of 43% Pinot Noir, 25% Meunier and 20% Chardonnay and comes almost exclusively from sites owned or contracted on the Montagne de Reims. It is delicious, round brut at its easy going best and it will thrill your guests with its charm.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Four Pillars "Faultline" K&L Exclusive Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 10-03-2017
This great bottle of gin comes across as a classic from the first sip, with poise, elegance and refreshment its main qualities. Even though it made out of a long list of exotic, only-in-Australia botanicals, the balance is still exquisite and exactly what I am looking for in my therapeutic gin and tonic. I am sure we will disappoint many customers looking for a second bottle of this after it all sells out. If you love it, make sure to get what you need quickly!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2014 Hyot, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 09-29-2017
Clyde has done it again: found another incredible value in Bordeaux. I can't remember enjoying a Right Bank vintage as much as 2014 since at least 1998. This shares the virtues of many of the more expensive wines from 2014 that I have tasted. While the Hyot is dark, loaded with flashy coffee and plummy fruit on the nose, it is medium bodied, and has very good lift on the long finish. This Cotes De Castillon is ideal for mid-week meals!
Top Value!

2009 Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-28-2017
The 2009 Dom Perignon is one of the purest and most elegant that I have had of this famous tete de cuvee. I had an opportunity to taste a preview bottle back in March, and I was very impressed. The wine is much less yeasty than the 2006, and has rounder, riper fruit than the more mineral driven 2004. In an unusual move, but certainly a smart one, they decided to release this ahead of the 2008, which is still resting on its lees in Epernay!

2004 Krug Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-23-2017
Tasting the new 2004 Krug next to the 2002 was a revelation for me. This has the power and mid-palate presence that we all love from this great house, but it is married to the extraordinary freshness, minerality and purity of the 2004 vintage. As soon as I touched my lips to the glass I was transported back to the moment over a decade ago when I tasted the 1988 on release. The 2004s and 1988s are like peas in a pod, and I think this will be a vintage that collectors will be kicking themselves for not paying enough attention to. The finish on this bright, lively Krug is still with me the morning after drinking it. It is a Champagne for the ages.
Drink from 2017 to 2017

Ardbeg "An Oa" Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky (750ml)
Review Date: 09-19-2017
This incredibly elegant and sophisticated Ardbeg retains the peaty personality of the distillery while showcasing a suaver side of Islay. I enjoyed my little taste of this immensly, and I can't wait to take it home and drink it my favorite way- after dinner. Any fan of Islay malts should have a bottle of this generous, textural Ardbeg!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WA 93

2014 Senejac, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 09-16-2017
This is a great addition to any cellar, the only problem with the wine is that it tastes too good now! The 2014's have a fresh lift to them that makes them almost irresistible young, but should prove to keep them drinking nicely for decades. I love the purity of the Cabernet cassis aromas and flavors in this Chateau Senejac, as well as the long, bright finish. Pair it now with grilled skirt steak or bury it in the cellar for decades to come- either way you will be very happy. At this price, why not do both?
Top Value!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2013 Burgess "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-06-2017
This fantastic 2013 from the Burgess estate is a great bottle of full bodied, yet dry Napa Cabernet. If you are looking for a dark fruited, powerful mountain cab to go with some man sized rib eyes off the grill, look no further. While most Napa Cabernet in this price range is made from purchased valley floor fruit, this is entirely from the Burgess estate on Howell Mountain. Enjoy some now, and save some for a few years... I just drank a bottle of the 1993 a few months ago and it was still fresh at 24 years old!
Drink from 2013 to 2013
Price: Hidden View Price
RP 92 VN 92

Mahr's Bräu "Mastodon" Lager, Germany (500ml)
Review Date: 08-29-2017
I don't always drink Märzen named after metal bands, but when I do it is always the Mahr's Brau Mastodon. This is classic German brown lager, with very nice texture and malty flavors, balanced by enough hoppiness to keep it refreshing enough to have another two or three.
Price: $6.99 Add To Cart

Professor Fritz Briem "1809" Berliner Weisse, Germany (16.9oz)
Review Date: 08-29-2017
Drinking the 1809 Berliner Weisse from Professor Fritz Briem brings takes me back to my first visit to Berilin, just before the wall came down. This refreshing, light, delicately fruity and subtly sour beer made me think of loud, smoky clubs in Kreuzberg. I might have to spin some Einstürzende Neubauten this weekend and drink a couple of these delicious brews!
Price: $6.49 Add To Cart

Louis Brochet "Extra Noir" Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-24-2017
This all Pinot Noir blanc de noir is the smallest production Champagne for Brochet. They only make it when the Pinot Noir is great and then 2000 bottles at most. We were lucky enough to get five cases. It is sourced from two old massal selected plots, the Hautes Vignes and Les Chaillots. I couldn’t believe the crazy complexity of this wine; it had Chambertin like dark cherry power, but was still super easy to drink. The Pinot power was framed by fine brioche toast and the finish goes on forever.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Louis Brochet 1er Cru "Extra Blanc" Champagne
Review Date: 08-24-2017
This blanc de blancs comes from the two best Chardonnay plots of the Brochet estate, Mont Benoit and Vognes. Although it is 40% barrel fermented, the oak only comes through in the richer than normal texture of the wine. I did not pick up any barrel aromas or flavors in the wine. This is clean, refreshing mountain Chardonnay, and since although we only have five cases, I already drank one with sushi! If you love pure, white fruit and great minerality, but also demand fine texture in your Champagne, this is one not to miss.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

Louis Brochet 1er Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-24-2017
This is composed of 80% Pinot Noir, 15% Chardonnay and 5% Meunier and dosed at 9 grams per liter. The blend is half reserves, with 35% from the previous two harvests and 15% from the solera that Louis started in 2010. The red cherry power of top Pinot Noir jumps from the glass and is framed by classy sourdough toast. I love the texture of this lighter style Pinot based Champagne, and the very high proportion and quality of reserve wines give it great texture, a fine bead and elusive complexity. This is hard to beat at the price!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Langoa-Barton, St-Julien
Review Date: 08-22-2017
Langoa has made a fabulous wine for the cellar here, but you'll have to bury it at the bottom of a big stack... It tastes a little too good to hold onto right now! This great 2014 has an explosive nose of red fruit with bonbon ceris and extraordinary purity on the palate. The length is striking, as is the focussed acidity. This will prove to be one of the great Langoa's in time, if we can keep our hands off of it!
Drink from 2020 to 2020

2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 08-18-2017
We have a few house favorites when it comes to Bordeaux here at K&L, and the 2009 Coufran, Haut-Médoc confirms why we love this property. For the Haut-Medoc, this wine has a huge proportion of Merlot at 85% and just a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon at 15%. In its youth, the wine had a big, ripe, plumy nose, but was still very elegant in the mouth. It reminded me very much of old fashioned Pomerol; medium bodied, pure, racy Merlot without the extraneous sugar and oak. At the price, too much of this wine was probably consumed too young, but the patient will now be rewarded with a great experience at a very small price.

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 06-20-2017
This is one of K&L's best selling Champagnes for a very good reason. The Bonville family has some of the best terroir imaginable for growing Chardonnay--every acre that they own is super chalky, east-facing Grand Cru on the Cote des Blancs. They have been making their own Champagne here since the 1920s, and growing here for many generations before that. This is their entry level bottling, and what a way to start! It is made of at least half reserve wines, giving it not only the dry, chalky drive that makes this area famous, but also giving the wine toasty, creamy, delicious drinkability. A must-try for any Champagne lover.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 06-20-2017
This is our most popular half bottle of Champagne by far. The Bonville family has some of the best terroir imaginable for growing Chardonnay: every acre that they own is super chalky, east-facing Grand Cru on the Cote des Blancs. They have been making their own Champagne here since the 1920s, and growing here for many generations before that. This is their entry-level bottling, and what a way to start! It is made of at least half reserve wines, giving it not only the dry, chalky drive that makes this area famous, but also giving the wine toasty, creamy, delicious drinkability. A must try for any Champagne lover.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

Franck Bonville Grand Cru Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 06-20-2017
I always have to order extra of these magnums - Clyde & Trey always gobble up about half of what we get! All Champagne has an advantage in magnum, seeing more surface area for lees contact and half the amount of air exposure. The Bonville family doubles down by giving these an extra 2-4 years of ageing! This is one of K&L's best selling Champagnes for a very good reason. The Bonville family has some of the best terroir imaginable for growing Chardonnay- every acre that they own is super chalky, east facing Grand Cru on the Cote des Blancs. They have been making their own Champagne here since the 1920's, and growing here for many generations before that. This is their entry level bottling, and what a way to start! It is made of at least half reserve wines, giving it not only the dry, chalky drive that makes this area famous, but also giving the wine toasty, creamy, delicious drinkability. A must try for any Champagne lover. Already exceptional out of 750, the Bonville Selection picks up both richness and zip in the larger format bottle - making it the "smallest" big bottle that we have. It ends up empty far too soon!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 90

Wild Turkey "Master's Keep - Decades" Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 06-15-2017
I feel strongly that this Decades bottling from Wild Turkey is the best Bourbon in the store, and I haven't tasted anything this good in a long time. Instead of doing a series of single barrel releases to go after collectors money, Eddie Russell has put together a masterpiece by blending some of the best stuff in the vast Wild Turkey stocks. The synergy of these whiskeys is obvious at first sniff, and I have to pinch myself when I get to taste something this good at work! This has cream, caramel, and a hint of something savory that makes it beguiling to return to. If you want to treat yourself to an unforgettable bottle, look no further!
Price: $129.99 Add To Cart
WA 94

Copper & Kings American Dry Gin (750ml)
Review Date: 06-08-2017
Copper Kings nailed this fantastic batch of gin! Not only does it have great lift from intense juniper flavor and brightness from a great blend of botanicals, it also has texture. This is going to feature often in gin and tonic drinking in the future!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Marietta "Román" North Coast Zinfandel
Review Date: 05-31-2017
The Roman from Marietta is one of my favorite Zinfandels in the store. This bottle has what all zin should have, plenty of wild brambly fruit and excellent balancing acidity. I can't wait to pair this with a big rack of pork ribs smoked in the backyard or even sausages cooked over the campfire. If you love zin, but can do without monstrous alcohol and residual sugar, this is a must try!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 90 VN 90

2000 Dom Pérignon "P2" Brut Champagne (No gift box)
Review Date: 05-18-2017
This toasty, beautiful P2 is a big step from the 1998. I am very impressed by the generosity and balance of this Dom, as well as the incredible freshness given the extended ageing. I tasted this with Vincent Chaperon this March, one of the winemakers, at the Abbey of Hautvillers where Dom Perignon himself worked. I am very excited that it is now here for you!
Price: $349.00 Add To Cart
JS 97 VN 96

2010 Ariston Aspasie Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-11-2017
No Champagne producer is better loved by K&L customers than Paul-Vincent Ariston of Champagne Aspasie, and he has delivered another great vintage with his 2010 Ariston Aspasie Brut Champagne . This is a blend of 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier from his estate in Brouillet, and is in a drier, more focused style in 2010. I love this Champagne for the aperitif, and it also goes very well with summer vegetable quiche or even pate!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$34.99

2012 Franck Bonville "Millesime" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 05-11-2017
From the Grand Cru of Avize, this Champagne is one of our first from this “miracle” vintage. Much like 2000 in Bordeaux, the Champenois had many problems during the 2012 growing season. After a golden autumn, the wines turned out to be fantastic, and I have never seen so many smiling facings in the region as when I visited to taste the 2012’s as vin-clair. This is a very rich blanc de blancs, with more body and substance than even the quite broad 2006’s. That being said, it is loaded with Avize chalk, and focuses very nicely on the finish. If you like the wines, stash some for the future, I have never tasted tired Bonville, and I have tasted back to the 1959!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2007 Bollinger "Grande Année" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-04-2017
The 2007 Grande Annee is classic Bollinger, and reminds me very much of their great 2004. It is composed of 70% Pinot Noir, mostly from Ay and Verzenay and 30% Chardonnay primarily from Avize, Cramant and Oger. I tasted a preview bottle with Denis Bunner and found it lovely, nutty, generous, and toasty on the nose. In the mouth it was full of intense, savory creamy, even nougat like flavors, and the finish had the chalky cut to balance out all of the decadence! If you love great vintage Champagne, this is not to be missed.
Drink from 2017 to 2017

2015 d'Yquem "Y" Bordeaux Blanc
Review Date: 04-20-2017
This rich white wine is a powerhouse! It is composed of 75% semillon and 25% sauvignon blanc from d'Yquem's estate vineyards in Sauternes. It has the right amount of honey to set off the grassy notes of the sauvignon blanc, and an unbelievable amount of length and laser like focus. They use 80% one year old barrels that were used once for d'Yquem, and the balance brand new oak, and yet the oak is barely a feature in the wine. This is concentrated stuff!
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: $149.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2014 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 04-14-2017
This big, ripe powerful Cabernet will thrill fans of Napa wines. It is loaded with cassis fruit, and has plenty of tannic structure on the back end. This is excellent for drinking right now for fans of the big Cabernet style, and priced for any old night. Similar quality from Napa would cost a lot more than twice as much!

Trudon "Monochrome" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-13-2017
This all Meunier Champagne is made by Jerome Trudon, who used to make the wine at Roederer, both in Anderson Valley and in Reims. He returned to his family farm, and the Monochrome is his flagship. It is made entirely out of Meunier, aged for three years minimum on the lees and benefits from 1/3 reserve wines from older vintages. This is strikingly pure Meunier, with great white flowers and fresh bread on the nose and in the mouth. It is very fresh, as Jerome does not let the wine go through malolactic, and has very good length and quite a bit of minerality.
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 04-12-2017
My favorite wines of our very strong New Zealand direct import program are from TWR. The 2015 Te Whare Ra Pinot Noir is full of dark cherry fruit and vinous, savory drive. If you like complexity in your Pinot, this medium bodied, long finishing bottle is a must try.
Drink from 2017 to 2017

Laurent-Perrier "La Cuvée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-08-2017
Several years ago, Laurent Perrier was fortunate enough to acquire a small Champagne group that owned vineyards and had some very good contracts in the Côtes de Blancs. This is the first product to be released that includes fruit from these marvelous sites and it is a revelation. They have increased the proportion of chardonnay in the blend to 55% (the balance is 30% pinot noir and 15% meunier), and now only use the first and most delicate portion of the grape pressing, while increasing the aging minimum to over four years on the lees. The result is a Champagne with a near blanc de blancs character, singing with Puligny Montrachet-like lime and vibrant chalk.

Jean-Jacques Lamoureux Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-02-2017
I have only been down to Riceys at the southern tip of Champagne twice. Vivien Lamoureux’s vineyards are only three miles away from the border, and he makes both Champagne and Burgundy. Due to French law, they are produced in different cellars on their respective sides of the boarder. In the past, Les Riceys seemed switched hands between the Comtes de Champagne and the Dukes of Burgundy to many times to count, and that split heritage is very evident in Vivien’s Chamapgne! If you love full bodied rose with plenty of Burgundian Pinot Noir flavor, this one is not to be missed!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Laurent-Perrier "Cuvée Rosé" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 01-05-2017
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 LP Rose has set the standard for rose Champagne for many years, and for good reason.

2007 Michel Arnould "Cuvée B.50" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-03-2016
This ambitious all barrel-fermented Champagne is only available in tiny quantities—we received less than 10 cases and we are his US importer! If you are looking for a powerful, ultra-rare bottle, you have found it! Look for vanilla and hazelnut as well as brioche on the nose, and incisive, dry minerality on the back end.
Price: $99.00 Add To Cart

Michel Arnould Verzenay Brut Rosé Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 10-03-2016
The value that Patrick Arnould delivers with this top-notch rosé is mind boggling. This is the only rosé Champagne that I have ever had that is exclusively Pinot Noir, but made by blending wines that are vinified white with wines that are vinified red. Patrick is very proud of his Burgundian clones in his best exposed vineyard plot that he uses to make the red wine that gives this Champagne its color and flavor. This rosé has dark cherry authority as well as complex savor from that high quality vineyard. It also has easy refreshment and a dry chalky finish from the rest of his Grand Cru estate vineyard that makes the white Pinot portion. A must try for every rosé fan!
Price: $74.99 Add To Cart

Fleury Brut Rosé Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 10-03-2016
The Fleury rosé is made entirely of Pinot Noir from Courteron, in the southern part of Champagne. Locals proudly say that their town is closer to Chablis than Reims, and the style of wine owes as much to Burgundy as the stylish bottle does to the grand marques of Champagne. The vineyards, which are all owned by Fleury, are farmed 100% biodynamically, the strictest form of organic viticulture. This Champagne, composed of 100% Pinot Noir, is made by maceration, with all of the skins in contact with all of the juice. Most rosés made in this style are very big, but this one is the exception; it is very elegant. Mr. Fleury contends that his organic methods allow him to get great skins, and thus a very clean rosé as a result. Anyone who loves the pink stuff must try this at least once. In the glass it has a wonderful, fresh Pinot Noir nose of strawberry fruit and forest air intrigue. On the palate it has a great small bubble texture with magnificent depth and terroir.
Price: $109.00 Add To Cart
VN 90

Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 09-25-2016
This is the best-selling Champagne in the USA.

Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne Jeroboam (3L)
Review Date: 09-25-2016
This is the best-selling Champagne in the USA.
Price: $399.00 Add To Cart
JS 92 WS 90

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Reserve" Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 09-24-2016
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!

A.D. Coutelas "Cuvée Louis Victor" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-20-2016
This bottling is a blend of 2007 through 2012 vintages with three years of ageing on the lees. It is a brassy gold color and has a generous nose of fresh forest aromas and brioche toast. In the mouth it has a round, rich, seamless texture and an amazing array of flavors… It is easily one of the most complex Champagnes that we have on the shelf. The truly amazing thing to me is the focus of the wine. It stays completely refreshing, vibrant and mineral on the long finish, which makes the 750ml format seem to small! This Champagne is produced out of one 8000 liter barrel and every year about 100 cases is bottled, and the barrel is refreshed with the best wine of the next harvest.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

Gosset "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
We were very lucky to have Gosset export director Bertrand Verduzier come from Epernay to present his Champagne at the summit this year, and we learned a ton about this very old grand marque. Their flag ship wine is the Gosset "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne, and it is an exceptional wine. The current batch is composed of 43% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir and 15% Meunier with 20% reserves that are blended in the solera style. They never do any malolactic fermentation for this wine, and as such need to age it for a minimum of 4 years on the lees before disgorgement. It has an almost green color in the glass, and has a great tension between opulent toast and chalky, nearly apple like crunch. If you like this Champagne, be sure to put some in the cellar, I have had them going back 30 years and they are spectacular with age as well as young!

Drappier "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-15-2016
The best non-vintage of our whole Champagne summit was the Drappier "Carte d'Or" Brut Champagne. That is saying a lot, since we tasted so many greats! This combination of 75% Pinot Noir, 15% Meunier and 10% Chardonnay is made with the lowest sulfur counts of any grand marque Champagne. The fruit for this is all from the Aube and Kimmeridgian clay rather than the chalk of the Marne. It is also mostly estate grown. This gives Champagne not only with the lovely red fruit expression one would expect from so much Pinot, but also layers of nearly Chablis like minerality. If you like dry, yet full flavored Champagne, you it to yourself to try the Drappier!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WS 91 WE 90

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

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

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!

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