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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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Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne Jeroboam (3L)
Review Date: 04-20-2016
This is great Champagne- and perhaps one of the best values for money in any category of wine. Louis Roederer has been pushing quality like few others in the region over the last decade, and no wine shows the heights that they have reached as well as the Brut Premier. With massive investment in organic viticulture, including a massive purchase of 1er vineyards from Leclerc-Briant, a return to plowing in the vineyard instead of chemical treatment and obsession with every detail in the winery they have created something here that has no rival among the big names, especially at this price. The 1/3 of the fruit that they buy comes from growers like Benoit Marguet- so you know they are getting top stuff. While most of my time is spent advocating for single origin Champagnes, this bottle is a great argument for blending and the balance that cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon created here is second to none. This wine has a great brioche nose and plenty of vivacious sparkle. It is a perfect aperitif!

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne (375ml)
Review Date: 04-20-2016
This is great Champagne- and perhaps one of the best values for money in any category of wine. Louis Roederer has been pushing quality like few others in the region over the last decade, and no wine shows the heights that they have reached as well as the Brut Premier. With massive investment in organic viticulture, including a massive purchase of 1er vineyards from Leclerc-Briant, a return to plowing in the vineyard instead of chemical treatment and obsession with every detail in the winery they have created something here that has no rival among the big names, especially at this price. The 1/3 of the fruit that they buy comes from growers like Benoit Marguet- so you know they are getting top stuff. While most of my time is spent advocating for single origin Champagnes, this bottle is a great argument for blending and the balance that cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon created here is second to none. This wine has a great brioche nose and plenty of vivacious sparkle. It is a perfect aperitif!

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 04-20-2016
This is great Champagne- and perhaps one of the best values for money in any category of wine. Louis Roederer has been pushing quality like few others in the region over the last decade, and no wine shows the heights that they have reached as well as the Brut Premier. With massive investment in organic viticulture, including a massive purchase of 1er vineyards from Leclerc-Briant, a return to plowing in the vineyard instead of chemical treatment and obsession with every detail in the winery they have created something here that has no rival among the big names, especially at this price. The 1/3 of the fruit that they buy comes from growers like Benoit Marguet- so you know they are getting top stuff. While most of my time is spent advocating for single origin Champagnes, this bottle is a great argument for blending and the balance that cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon created here is second to none. This wine has a great brioche nose and plenty of vivacious sparkle. It is a perfect aperitif!

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

2012 Louis Jadot Beaune 1er Cru "153rd Anniversary Cuvee"
Review Date: 02-25-2016
There is no place in the world that values specificity of site like Burgundy, and it is rare to see a blend of 1er Cru sites like this. Jadot has created a cuvee that is greater than the some of its parts for their 153rd anniversary, and this is without a doubt the best value in fine red wine for your cellar that we have at K&L today. If you love finesse, delicacy and balance in your Pinot Noir, this wine will give you great pleasure right now. If you are willing to wait, this wine will doubtless gain power, breadth and texture over the next couple of decades and turn into a real "blood making" Beaune. I am putting buying a case for myself, I recommend that you do too.
Top Value!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
BH 92 VN 92

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 a 1.5L Due to Bottle Size/Shape)
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!

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
DC 90

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 "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

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 Brut Rosé de Saignée Champagne
Review Date: 11-18-2015
This is 100% Pinot Noir, made by the maceration method. All of the skins are kept in contact with all of the juice, yielding a rose not just of great color, but of aromatic generosity and flavor.This is an absolute must try for any fan of rose with its salmon/ Valentines Rose color, savory black cherry nose, poised, elegant texture and dry, mineral laden finish. A wow bottle!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
WS 92 VN 90

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!

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

Louis Roederer "Brut Premier" Champagne
Review Date: 09-10-2015
This is great Champagne- and perhaps one of the best values for money in any category of wine. Louis Roederer has been pushing quality like few others in the region over the last decade, and no wine shows the heights that they have reached as well as the Brut Premier. With massive investment in organic viticulture, including a massive purchase of 1er vineyards from Leclerc-Briant, a return to plowing in the vineyard instead of chemical treatment and obsession with every detail in the winery they have created something here that has no rival among the big names, especially at this price. The 1/3 of the fruit that they buy comes from growers like Benoit Marguet- so you know they are getting top stuff. While most of my time is spent advocating for single origin Champagnes, this bottle is a great argument for blending and the balance that cellar master Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon created here is second to none. This wine has a great brioche nose and plenty of vivacious sparkle. It is a perfect aperitif!

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

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

Pascal Lallement "Brut Reserve" Champagne
Review Date: 08-04-2015
This tasty, Pinot Noir driven, grower Champagne comes from the not-often-imported Petite Mountain of Reims. It is an excellent aperitif!
Price: $34.99 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

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: $24.99 Add To Cart
W&S 92 JG 90

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

Billecart-Salmon "Brut Réserve" 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 "Sous Bois" Brut 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: $26.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

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

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!
Price: $299.00 Add To Cart
WS 96 JG 95

Chateau de Bligny Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-07-2015
Pure Chardonnay bottlings from the Aube are quite rare. Champagne has a very continental climate, and this is even more pronounced in the Aube making growing the early budding Chardonnay quite difficult. The problem isn’t quality, the limestone and Kimmeridgian soil here give this variety excellent minerality and a ton of character. The problem is survival: late spring frost routinely destroys the harvest in this sub-region as Chardonnay is the first of the region's grape varieties to bud out. Luckily, Bligny has enough to make this excellent blanc de blancs, which has grand cru Chablis scale and very clean earth on the back end. A star wine that I can’t wait to pair with Dungeness crab!

Chateau de Bligny "Grand Reserve" Brut Rosé 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
WE 93 WS 90

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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