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Staff Favorites - Gary Westby

Gary Westby
Gary Westby  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
I started at K&L in February of 2000, after 4 years of working down the street for another retailer, and although I take care of the Champagne buying here at K&L, I love to drink wine from all over the world. I prize authenticity in wine, and love representative examples of many different styles, whether it is a spicy dry creek zinfandel or a mineral driven Manzanilla. I almost always drink my wine with food, and am drawn to food wines rather than the softer styles that are good for drinking on their own. My wife Cinnamon and I cook a lot of Italian & French food at home, and my list of wines reflects those food choices. I also love value, at every price point, and can't stand "prestige" labels that under deliver in the bottle. I love honest wines for the table. If you love good wine to go with your good cooking too, I think that by joining my personal Sommelier list you will be treated to a wide variety of wines that represent a strong value for money at what ever price range you feel comfortable with. Give it a try!


Reviews

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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

Charles Heidsieck "Rosé Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-16-2015
The Charles rosé has the honest toast that comes from extended lees contact and very high quality, subtle dark cherry fruit from the still red wine added to the blend. The best thing about the wine is that this rich toasty character is balanced perfectly with top class chalky drive on the back end. Pairing it with ginger garlic chicken, the Champagne had the vinous power to match the assertive flavors of the dish, and the cut to refresh the palate after each rich bite. I love rosé Champagne that can provide both richness, dark fruit flavor and top class refreshment--this Rosé Reserve from Charles Heidsieck delivers it all!

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!

Baron-Fuenté "Grande Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-02-2015
Why bother with sparkling wine when you can drink real Champagne at such a great price? This fantastic bottle is aged for three years on the lees and has great honest toast from the aging process, as well as great refreshment from the high percentage of estate-grown vines used in the blend. I love this Champagne for its friendly, open-knit personality and its easygoing refreshment, but it has more than this for those who want to take the time to get to know it... It is a serious bottle of Champagne! Don't let the low price fool you!
Top Value!
Price: $23.99 Add To Cart

Taittinger "La Française" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-23-2015
Taittinger has always been known for the creamy refreshment that the La Francaise has delivered so consistently through the years. If you like a little bit of toast balanced by some citric zing, this high Chardonnay blend is for you!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 WS 90

Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 06-23-2015
The best-selling Champagne in the USA in a cute little half is a great entry into the wonderful variety of Champagne.

Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-23-2015
If you like your Champagne clean and refreshing, this is the best bottle that we have for you. Antoine Billecart insists on fermentations that are slow and cold, and the family has developed its own strain of yeast that can work in super low temperatures, resulting in a Champagne that is light as feather and arcs with electric excitement. This wine delivers all of this without any harsh grain, since it has been aged for over sixty months on the lees... A fabulous treat!

Baron-Fuenté "Esprit" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-23-2015
The Baron Fuente Esprit gets an amazing five years of ageing on the lees. Not many Champagne houses make a non-vintage wine like this, with such a suave texture from long aging, and none at such a low price. This is elegant Champagne for sure; not at all austere, yet in no way sweet, a balanced and fine aperitif. If you want to find out what expensive tasting Champagne is all about, this is a great bottle to try... And it isn't expensive!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WS 92 WE 91

1998 Dom Pérignon "P2" Brut Champagne (no gift box)
Review Date: 06-10-2015
I first tasted the 1998 Dom Perignon P2 Brut Champagne with Pacific King Salmon, Spring Squash and Porcini Mushrooms at Madera restaurant. This was in a completely different league than the initial release of 1998; gone was the big hit of yeast and instead the wine showed elegance that I rarely associate with this vintage. It had a gorgeous store of pin point streamers and a generous nose of black cherry Pinot. The finish went on and on.

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Reserve" Champagne
Review Date: 06-10-2015
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!

Billecart-Salmon Brut "Sous Bois" Champagne
Review Date: 06-02-2015
The current batch of the Sous Bois from Billecart Salmon is based on the spectacular 2008 vintage, and the combination of richness from the all barrel vinification and the extraordinary acidity of the vintage makes for one of the most impressive bottles in their line. If you haven't tried this newest addition to the great line from Billecart, don't miss out, the 2008 based wine is very special!

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve Champagne
Review Date: 06-02-2015
This large co-op produces very well priced Champagne.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

Chateau de Bligny "Grand Reserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-13-2015
This is composed of half each Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and fermented in stainless steel at the Chateau. It is very clean, but not at all austere; in fact it is quite broad and rich ... A real signature Aube characteristic! It has great texture and body focused with very nice Burgundian style minerality. This will make a great aperitif, but also go well with charcuterie or even a cheese course. The Chateau de Bligny is a big property, one of the largest growers in all of Champagne at 75 acres. They also have one of the few Clos Champenois, a walled vineyard of just 2 acres which they bottle separately.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
W&S 90 WS 90

2012 Pierre Gelin Fixin 1er Cru "Clos Napoléon"
Review Date: 04-22-2015
This site was considered one of the top flight premier crus in Burgundy 150 years ago, and with Domaine Pierre Gelin's excellent work in the vineyard, it is rocketing back to prominence. While it might seem expensive for Fixin, it is a great deal for the wine inside. In another 5 years, we'll be talking about the good old days when the Napoleon was affordable--mark my words! This is broad shouldered, powerful, tannic Burgundy that is fit for an emperor, but best for the cellar. Although the 2012 vintage has given it the fat to make it approachable now with food and a long airing in the decanter, this fantastically long and complex 1er cru will be much better in a few years.
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
BH 90

Krug Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 04-14-2015
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!

Chateau de Bligny "Grand Reserve" Rosé Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-07-2015
This all estate-grown rose is composed of 50% Chardonnay, 35% Pinot Noir that is vinified white and 15% Pinot Noir vinified as red wine or Coteaux Champenois rouge. I love the rose from the Aube department, and if you have been a fan of bottlings from Fleury, Fluteau and the like, you should definitely try this out. This balances wild Pinot Noir red fruit with dry precision and manages to have plenty of personality without losing easy-drinking charm.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

Chateau de Bligny "Cuvée Six Cépages" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-07-2015
What a wower of a bottle. There are not many Champagnes made from individual walled vineyards, but they are justifiably famous in spite of their tiny production. Wines like Krug’s Clos du Mesnil and Clos Ambonnay are fantastically expensive, while Philipponnat Clos des Goisses is near impossible to get. This brassy powerhouse comes from two acres planted to 1/6 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Meunier, Arbanne, Petite Meslier and Pinot Blanc. The result is a vinous, gold-straw-colored show-stopper that crackles with citric acidity on its very long, strong finish. This is a must for every serious fan of Champagne to try--it is expensive, but the price can only go up…
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

1989 Clos du Marquis, St-Julien
Review Date: 04-01-2015
This 1989 is still very dark and young, and I am glad that we gave it an hour and a half to air in the decanter. The nose shows off the purity and power of Cabernet Sauvignon from this hallowed area with some of the best dark cassis aromas that I have smelled. In the mouth, the wine is medium bodied, with great texture that has the potential to get even better with more time. The tannins are firm and the acidity fresh- I was very happy to have thick slices of marbled, prime New York steak to act as a foil to this big wine. Our bottle was also layered and complex with a nod to Pauillac showing through in pencil lead hints. Best of all it was super easy to drink despite its size and complexity; a virtue that only wines of great breed have.
Drink from 2015 to 2015
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart

2004 Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-17-2015
I have been telling everyone who will listen that the 2004 vintage in Champagne is one not to miss. The region used to get "classic" vintages like this twice a decade, seasons that offered even weather, cool conditions and produced wines that are streamlined, bright and mineral. Not anymore... A vintage like 2004 has not come along since 1988, and there have been none since. This LP has all of the virtues of the vintage; spectacular length, elegance and lift, as well as the toasty richness that one expects from a long-aged vintage bottle from a great house. Don't miss this!
Top Value!
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
VN 92 WS 91

Drappier "Charles de Gaulle" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-06-2015
The Charles de Gaulle might be the best deal in top notch grand marque Champagne at K&L. It is composed of 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and is one of the most leesy, layered powerhouses in the building. If you like wines like the Bollinger vintage and the Pol Roger Winston Churchill, you should definitely try this Champagne. I found it to be very complex, with hazelnut, fine toast and Kimmeridgian minerality all in great balance. The texture and bead are as good as it gets. This is the first batch of this wine that is non-vintage, the last vintage dated Charles de Gaulle was the 2006. I am guessing that this is based on 2007 with reserves, but I don’t know for sure.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 WS 91

Drappier Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 03-06-2015
This all Pinot Noir Champagne is made with a three day long maceration, rather than more common method of adding red wine for color and flavor. It is vinified in only stainless steel vats and moved by gravity to avoid oxygen and preserve freshness, and dosed at a fairly low 7g/l. This Champagne has a wild nose with plenty of black cherry Pinot authority and savor. In the mouth it is spicy, extroverted and fresh.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
WS 92 RP 91

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
This is the benchmark in rose Champagne, and it deserves every bit of its fame. I find it elegant and balanced every time that I have it, and the blushing pink color is always perfect. If you are looking for a famous producer that delivers the goods, the Billecart Salmon Brut Rose Champagne is a great choice. I like the wine best as an aperitif, the only thing it need to pair with is a good glass.

2002 Piper-Heidsieck "Cuvée Rare" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
The wonderfully rich Cuvee Rare from Piper Heidsieck reminds me of the great tete de cuvee's of years gone past. Like those, it is made in tiny quantities and only in the very best years- only 8 vintages have been made in 36 years! We drank this wine at a staff sushi and Champagne party at my house, and loved it with the eel especially, but I think the ultimate pairing for this wine would be a nice sunset. It doesn't need anything! I love the warm toastiness of this wine and its fine balance. The refreshing finish will have you coming back for more!
Drink to 0

Ariston Aspasie Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
Nobody in Champagne works harder on making a great rose than Paul-Vincent Ariston, owner of Champagne Aspasie, and no bottle that we carry is as outstanding of a bargain. Most producers either make a red wine to blend into their white or do a maceration of all the skins for a short time to make rose. Paul does both, as he likes the complexity that the maceration method brings to the wine, and the control that the addition of red wine offers. This isn't just a good deal, it is a Champagne of spectacular depth and character, that is also super easy to drink.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2004 Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
When Champagne lovers ask me about what vintage they should think about collecting, I always bring up 2004 first. While many other vintages such as 2002, 2006 and 2007 have produced fabulous wines, they have all been crazy in one way or another. Because of climate change, the only two harvests that could be counted as typical, “classic” Champagne vintages in the last 25 years are 1988 and 2004. Of course, many vintages in the past 25 years have been great; 1989, 1990, 1996, 2002 and almost certainly 2008 and 2012. All of these vintages have a story, and all of them are odd. Even vintages with plenty of water and slow ripening, which over the last 200 years would be considered typical and classic, are an endangered species. The character of the 2004’s is very transparent, revealing of terroir (especially in single vineyard wines), long and light on its feet. The wines do not have the weight and authority of the 2002’s or the crazy concentration of the 1996’s. What they have is deft, elegant balance and I believe that they will, like the 1988’s, prove to be great. The Dom is a great indicator and example of the strength of this vintage. I can’t remember liking a vintage of Dom when it was first released as much as this since the 1990, or finding one of such good potential since the 1996. I wanted to make the most out of this chance to drink the 2004 as a preview and decided to prepare a special dinner for Cinnamon and I. I picked up an ounce of Osetra and we started out enjoying the bottle with blini and creme fraiche. For the main course I cooked some local wild king salmon on an alder plank on the grill after giving it a light brine. I topped it with some fleur de sel, pepper and paddlefish roe. The 2004 is certainly the driest non-Oenotheque release I have ever tasted from DP and the white gold color has a real flash of green to it. On the nose, the signature Dom Perignon yeastiness is front and center framed by some delicate Chardonnay fruit. The Osetra blini brought out the nuttiness of the Pinot Noir very nicely on the palate. It was too bad that there was only one ounce! One of the things that I learned from the DP seminar that I wrote about in April was that the wine is always close to 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Chardonnay, and this 2004 certainly tasted that way. When we had the salmon, which was very rich, the Dom showed more of its cutting, mineral driven Chardonnay side. This elegant bottle of Champagne went down very easily, and showed the strength of Moet’s massive vineyard resources and incredible store of knowledge. These wines age very well, and the 2004 has the balance to go the distance. I was very impressed!
Drink to 0

Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
I love extra brut Champagne, and Antoine Billecart has made a great example of the style with this bottling. He and I drank this along with his team at Quince in SF the last time he was here, and with four years on the lees, it came across as dry, but without a hint of austerity. Many big houses lack respect for Meunier, but not Billecart- this wine gets its charm from the clean fruit that this indigenous grape brings to the blend. It is composed of 40% Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir and the long, cool fermentation and generous lees time has given this wine the fruit and balance to please even a first time extra brut drinker.

Thienot Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
I was lucky enough to be invited by Garance Thienot to the Plumed Horse in Saratoga for an incredible Champagne dinner. I hadn't been to this restaurant in more than a decade and the story about it being the biggest fine dining remodel in all of Silicon Valley must be true- it was amazing inside. We started the dinner off with this rich, full bodied, toasty Champagne that still had the snap to make a great aperitif. What a tasty wine!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WE 91 WS 91

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
I almost find it embarrassing to drink this 3000 bottle production single vineyard Champagne as often as I do... But I get over it every time Cinnamon and I open a bottle. Like a great white Burgundy it has terroir, and the flavors are inimitably cotes de blancs Champagne. It has the complexity and the detail for the fussy wine person in me, but it is also shockingly easy to drink. The Belles Voyes always grows in my memory after having it. One of the most memorable bottles I drank of it was with a bib on, eating fresh king crab legs, but it is just as appropriate for the aperitif. Take advantage of our unfairly large allocation of this tiny production Champagne and treat yourself to a bottle!
Top Value!
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

Krug "Grande Cuvée" Brut Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 03-03-2015
What indulgence is more romantic than a half bottle of Krug? I can't think of one. This little bottle is assembled from a generation of harvests and has the complexity of great old Champagne while keeping the freshness of a current release. It is the perfect size to enjoy with someone special before (or after!) a nice meal! My favorite memory with a half bottle of Krug Grand Cuvee was with Cinnamon on the train to dinner in the city. Even the conductor was jealous!

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 03-03-2015
Nothing is better than Champagne from magnum, and this is the benchmark in rose Champagne, and it deserves every bit of its fame. I find it elegant and balanced every time that I have it, and the blushing pink color is always perfect. If you are looking for a famous producer that delivers the goods, the Billecart Salmon Brut Rose Champagne is a great choice. I like the wine best as an aperitif, the only thing it need to pair with is a good glass.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 03-03-2015
These are more than just cute half bottles, this is the benchmark in rose Champagne, and it deserves every bit of its fame. I find it elegant and balanced every time that I have it, and the blushing pink color is always perfect. If you are looking for a famous producer that delivers the goods, the Billecart Salmon Brut Rose Champagne is a great choice. I like the wine best as an aperitif, the only thing it need to pair with is a good glass.

Moët & Chandon "Impérial" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
This wine replaced the white star in the US market in the fall of 2009 as Champagne lovers here asked for a drier style. Starting in the summer of 2012 all the Imperial is labeled Brut and the dosage is the same worldwide- 9 grams per liter. They blend four batches of the imperial a year, keeping the winemaking team and bottling lines busy. When I drank this with Moet winemaker Elise Losfelt, she explained that the first blend in January following the harvest uses the most reserve wines- around 30%, while the last blend of the year will use around 20% because of the better maturity of the base vintage. Since they want a fresh style of wine at Moet, they only use one to two year old reserve wines. They age all of the Imperial for 30 months on the lees before release. This was certainly the best Imperial I have drunk, with a discreet nose of bread dough and apple-like Meunier fruit. It was easy to drink, dry and clean and a nice way to start an evening.

Franck Bonville Brut Rosé Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 03-03-2015
Rose is great to have around in half bottles and this elegant, driven Champagne is my top rose for serving as the aperitif. A colleague of mine once bought a case of this in 750's for his wife, and half of it was consumed the first night at a quite small dinner party... So maybe a half bottle is too small for something this tasty. Cinnamon has one in our fridge at home right now!
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

Franck Bonville "Prestige" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
I feel guilty for consuming too much of our allocation of this wine, but never when I am drinking it! I have had many great bottles of this, and one of the most memorable was not from the K&L allocation, but rather off the wine list at Bistro 7 in Epernay. I was dining alone, and it felt extra special and decadent to order a bottle just for me off of their fairly priced list. It went spectacularly with the rabbit terrine and even better with the seared turbot. The Bonville Prestige has ripe, round white fruit balanced perfectly by old vine top terroir, Avize chalk. This wine has texture to beat most of over $100 bottles of Champagne on our shelves!
Top Value!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
WS 92

Ariston Aspasie Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
I opened this magnum as business petered off on Christmas eve for the staff here in the Redwood City store, and it made me a popular man at K&L. Carrying a magnum around to the various work stations put a smile on many faces here, and the wine inside the bottle kept those smiles. This wine is single vineyard, from the very steep Gouttes d’Or site in Brouillet, and has a very different style than the Chardonnay from the Cotes de Blancs. This is creamy, decadent wine, and great on its own in the final moments of the retail rush…or just about any time! I need to buy this for my cellar.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Franck Bonville "Belles Voyes" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 03-03-2015
It is embarrassing to have hogged so much of this tiny production beauty for myself, but an embarrassment that I am willing to live with. Olivier Bonville only makes a handful of these magnums each year. Out of 750ml, this Champagne is one of our best. Out of magnum, it is transcendent. Take it away from me- please!
Price: $139.00 Add To Cart

Bollinger Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
This spectacular bottle delivers the vinous power that one would expect from Bollinger, but with elegant panache. It is one of the best rosés available at any price.

Charles Heidsieck "Brut Reserve" Champagne
Review Date: 03-03-2015
My jaw almost dropped when I learned the story of the new Charles Heidsieck from Cecile Bonnefond, the CEO of both Charles and Piper. Instead of the normal package change / price increase rationalized by “increased international demand” this wine had been improved at great cost to the producer before the price went up! The new package contains a selection of half the vineyard sites of the old one, and older reserve wines. The result is non-vintage Champagne that is better than most big house vintage wines and a stronger value now at the current price than the old Charles was at $34.99. When we poured this at a recent in-store tasting on “House Style” it was one of the stars of the night. This Champagne has depth, combining maturity and freshness, nutty intrigue and minerality!

2000 Gruaud Larose, St-Julien
Review Date: 02-26-2015
This bottle was a generous contribution from Sean Fernandez in our old and rare department at our 2000 Bordeaux wine dinner, and was a contender for wine of the night. It is composed of about 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petite Verdot. The Gruaud was the earthiest, most savory bottle of the whole tasting, and had a little bit of bret that in no way detracted from my appreciation of the wine. It had dark fruit and leather flavors and one of the best supple, medium bodied textures of the whole evening. It was seamless and beautiful wine that drank great now with balance for the ages.
Drink from 2015 to 2015

Veuve Clicquot Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-24-2015
This is the best selling Champagne in the USA.

Laurent-Perrier Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-18-2015
A great value in Grand Marque Brut Champagne! This is a blend of 45% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir and 15% Meunier that has a nice nose of fresh baguette and a clean, racy impression in the mouth. A very good aperitif!

Louise Brison "L'Impertinente" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 02-06-2015
This all Pinot Noir Champagne is one of our very best rosés at any price. It is made by maceration, with 100% of the skins in contact with 100% of the juice and entirely from organically grown, estate fruit in Noe Les Mallets near Troyes. While many rosé Champagnes made in this style are dark and heavy tasting, this wine is bright, full of subtle red fruit and vivacious refreshment. Cinnamon and I enjoyed this with Chinese scallion pancakes (Cong You Bing) and it was a fantastic pairing!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2012 Barde-Haut, St-Emilion
Review Date: 01-17-2015
I was worried that the freshness might have left St. Emilion- trampled by points and pundits. Luckily, this very well balanced Barde Haut is proof that refreshing purity can still be found on the right bank of the river. This sweet fruited, pure, plummy Bordeaux will drink well with an hour in the decanter and a skirt steak now, or for many years into the future.
Drink from 2015 to 2015

2011 d'Yquem, Sauternes (375ml)
Review Date: 01-17-2015
It is very hard for any wine as venerated as Chateau d'Yquem to live up to the expectations that its fame creates. This 2011 delivers on all promises- it is great wine. While it is only a light straw color now, it has authoritative viscosity, full, clean botrytis sweetness and a kaleidoscope of complexity that is impossible to duplicate. Put this in your cellar and forget it for many years and it will be even better than it is now. Wow!
Drink from 2015 to 2015

2011 d'Yquem, Sauternes
Review Date: 01-17-2015
It is very hard for any wine as venerated as Chateau d'Yquem to live up to the expectations that its fame creates. This 2011 delivers on all promises- it is great wine. While it is only a light straw color now, it has authoritative viscosity, full, clean botrytis sweetness and a kaleidoscope of complexity that is impossible to duplicate. Put this in your cellar and forget it for many years and it will be even better than it is now. Wow!
Drink from 2015 to 2015

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