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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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2008 Lanson "Gold Label" Vintage Brut Champagne
Review Date: 10-10-2019
We are very lucky to have secured an allocation of this great vintage Champagne from Lanson. Many Champagne fans will remember the 2002 from this house, and I am happy to report that this 2008 is even better. They selected only the very best Grand Cru vineyards for this wine, Ay, Verzenay and Bouzy for the Pinot Noir and Mesnil, Oger and Avize for the Chardonnay. The blend is 53% Pinot Noir and 47% Chardonnay, and the wine has not gone through malolactic fermentation, giving it a straight line finish of crisp acidity that will see the wine through the ages. It is ready to drink on release, especially paired with cracked crab or scallops, but its best days are ahead of it. If you were married or had children in 2008, this is a bottle not to be missed. The 1976, which I tasted recently is proof of the immense ageing potential of these wines!
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: $89.99 Add To Cart
JS 94 RP 93

2000 Lestage, Listrac-Médoc
Review Date: 09-21-2019
Last night Cinnamon and I had this with a magnificent piece of bone in ribeye. This wine sang with the beef, and really showed how well places like Listrac do in a great vintage like 2000. This vineyard is located inland from St. Julien, and situated on the highest peak of the Médoc, at just 43 meters of altitude! This had the silky mouth feel that only time can bring, and a huge plum and cassis bouquet. The best part about it was the finish- so dry and refreshing! A deal for sure!
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Le Gallais Cuvée du Manoir Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-13-2019
I drank this last night at home, and loved it every bit as much as I did when I was inside the clos Boursault where it was grown. This Champagne is so easy to drink, but has so much depth and complexity underneath its easygoing exterior, that it's hard to believe it sells for such a low price. The baguette toast, creamy texture, and fine bead show off the wine's four years of ageing on the lees, while its smooth character and multi-faceted intrigue show off the underground solera where the Gallais store their reserve solera. This is a great aperitif for a party, but even a better bottle for two. The second glass is better than the first!
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Damien Hugot Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-05-2019
I drank this with Damien Hugot and his wife at the Royal Champagne, the newly refurbished hotel and Michelin one-star restaurant just between Epernay and Reims this spring, and have been thinking about it ever since. This is a clean, refreshing style of rosé that gets hints of richness not from the small percentage of ancient vine Meunier that is added, but rather from the Cramant and Chouilly base of Chardonnay that makes up more than 90% of the blend. This is “rosé all day” rosé, with bright red fruit and racy minerality, along with top-notch chalk on the long finish.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Damien Hugot Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne
Review Date: 09-05-2019
This is no ordinary brut sans année. I premiered this wine last week for Champagne Friday, and I was impressed by the generous, creamy, white fruit character of the wine. It is composed of 70% Chouilly Grand Cru and 30% Cramant Grand Cru, with 30% reserves from his solera style foudre of older vintages. The back end has not only the chalk that one would expect, but also a very nice chestnut flavor. This is top class blanc de blancs, and no one that enjoys this style should miss it given the extraordinary price.
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Fallet-Dart "Cuvée de Réserve" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-05-2019
Champagne Fallet-Dart's Reserve is one of our top values in Champagne. It is a rich, toasty style which earned its brioche aromas and flavors the old fashioned way, with time on the lees. It is aged for four years and has the additional benefit of 1/3 reserve wines to make this a smooth customer with a perfect bead. This round, full bodied Champagne is generous in every way, and does not have an austere bone in its body. The finish is dry, long and makes me want to come back for more!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2014 Coriole "Lloyd Reserve" Shiraz McLaren Vale
Review Date: 08-22-2019
This ancient vine Shiraz has all the density, concentration and power that one would expect from a top flight Aussie at double the price. Even better than that, it also has great snap and a long finish. This will be an incredible treat for your next mixed grill feast, but shouldn't be looked over as a cellar candidate as well. I would love to check in on this again after another decade... The trick will be leaving it alone.
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2016 Coriole "Sparta" Syrah McLaren Vale
Review Date: 08-22-2019
The Coriole line is the most exciting wine that I have tasted from Australia in more than a decade. The Sparta especially so- this sub $15 Syrah is one of the best value red wines in the store from anywhere. Not only is it rich, full bodied and spicy as I would expect, but it also has quite nice balance and refreshment. If you like big reds that are a value, this is not to be missed.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 93

2017 John Duval "Entity" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 08-20-2019
The critics love big, supple, decadent wines like this one for their smoky, dark fruited intensity. For me, the part that impresses the most is the lack of heat and the lack of residual sugar. This is a big boy that can dance, and a fantastic value for this style of wine.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JH 99 WS 94

Laurent-Perrier "Grand Siècle" Iteration #24 Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-20-2019
The first Grand Siècle to be numbered with an iteration! Now we won't have to wonder which batch it is from anymore. This is Champagne at its most refined, subtle and elegant. If you like a silky style, with just the right amount of baguette toast and a whole lot of length, this is for you. The price of the 24th iteration is very fair given how much all of the other grand marques charge for their younger, higher production tête de cuvées. It is composed of the 2007,2006 and 2004 vintages.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2007 Thiénot "Black Ball" Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne
Review Date: 08-09-2019
A very good grower friend of mine from the Aube, far away from the Cotes de Blancs said to me once that Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs is like a marionette; delicate, precise, elegant and full of hidden complexity. This Thiènot matches that description perfectly, with a soft, round, texture and an airy feel that one could never tire of. The Champagne has beautiful brioche aromas and flavors that transport me to the best bakeries in France, while the wine is balanced by subtle meyer lemon flavors and a subtle, but ultimately fresh minerality.
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart

2012 Pol Roger Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-01-2019
Concentrated, toasty and virile, the 2012 Pol Roger Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne reminds me quite a bit of the 2002 with its more powerful personality, and the pain grille bouquet is bound to thrill Champagne fans that like this style. It comes from a harvest that was a real miracle; after a miserable spring and early summer, a golden autumn saved the crop. Yields were quite low because of problems at flowering, but almost everyone in the region made a bit of vintage because of the great quality. It is still the only harvest that I have ever heard the growers excited about- they really thought it was all bound for the distillery in July, and when nature gave them a miracle, they celebrated it. We had this wine with sushi, and it worked very well, but I wrote in my notes that it would be even better with white fish with sauce- or just as the aperitif.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2009 Pol Roger Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-01-2019
Open, friendly and full of brioche toast, the 2009 Pol Roger Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne is drinking great right now. It wowed everyone at our tasting last Friday with its creamy texture, round, friendly personality and dry finish. This vintage is a favorite with the growers in Champagne because of how sunny and easy the harvest was for them, and how clean and open knit the wines turned out to be. This should keep very well, but perhaps not for multiple generations like the 2008.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2008 Pol Roger Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 08-01-2019
The 2008 Pol Roger Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne comes from a vintage that needs little introduction. I am far from alone in calling it the best in a generation, critics and collectors alike cannot heap enough praise on this magical harvest. The weather was very similar to 1996, with a cold east wind keeping the acidity high in the grapes while plenty of good sunshine ripened them fully. This wine has both the pure, aromatic white fruit of the best Chardonnay in Champagne and the killer focus, belemnita chalk and laser like acidity that the vintage is famous for. For me, this is a perfect candidate to lay down for children born in this year.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2018 Franck Millet Pouilly Fumé
Review Date: 07-25-2019
After visiting the Loire valley, the first thing I did upon my return was buy some of this Pouilly Fumé! This has a touch of smoke and green grass on the generous nose and comes from a mixture of flint and clay infused chalk sites on the other side of the Loire from Sancerre. This was Cinnamon’s favorite of the whites from our trip, and had fantastic tart white fruit up front but also some lovely nectarine flavors on the focused, dry finish.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2018 Franck Millet Sancerre Rosé
Review Date: 07-25-2019
The Franck Millet Sancerre Rosé is the smallest production wine that is made at this great domaine. This wine is made by selecting the freshest, highest acid Pinot Noir from the harvest, and then done with direct skin contact for one or two days. In lighter vintages, they will also add some of the red wine, but in 2018, that was not necessary. This wine is loaded with beautiful strawberry aromas but also a surprising amount of similar notes to white Sancerre, with a peachy as well as fresh herb quality. This dry rosé has persistence and minerality that one rarely finds in even very good Provençal wines, and is a must try for the summer.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2002 Billecart-Salmon "Le Clos Saint-Hilaire" Brut Blanc de Noirs Champagne
Review Date: 07-09-2019
This monumental blanc de noirs is made from a walled vineyard that is inside the grounds of Billecart-Salmon in Mareuil. They carry the baskets by hand from the vineyard to the press house, as it is only a few meters away! All though it is dosed at only 1g/l of sugar, it has on a scale of power rarely seen in Champagne. Loaded with Nutella, truffle like savor and still lifted by chalky cut, this wine expands on the finish like only the best wines in the world do. My words fail me. Don’t hesitate when this arrives- 3700 bottles is not enough for the world- and I already drank two of them!
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2008 Billecart-Salmon Vintage Champagne
Review Date: 07-09-2019
While the similarities between the 2008’s and the 1996’s are well known, this wine made me write 1996 with a big exclamation point because of the resemblance when I tasted it with Mathieu Roland-Billecart. The generous toasted brioche and cream of the aromatics jumped right out of the glass. On the palate, the wine was super refined, with a perfect bead, gentle texture and complex flavors of nuts and subtle Pinot fruit. The back end was pure, chalky, and driven. This is one of the top wines of this great vintage.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2018 Franck Millet Sancerre Blanc
Review Date: 06-28-2019
Nothing could be more perfect for an aperitif than this outstanding Sancerre from Franck and Bettie Millet. Not only does this have the clean refreshment that Sauvignon Blanc lovers flock to this region for, but it also has great medium bodied texture. The finish is lovely, acqueux pleasure with very nice minerality. It is a natural with goat cheese as well! Will one case be enough?
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2016 Craggy Range "Te Kahu" Bordeaux Blend Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 06-27-2019
The old and the new world meet in this excellent, clean, gentle Bordeaux blend from the famous Gimblett Gravels in Hawkes Bay. It has dark, plummy fruit, very nice medium body, and best of all, round tannins and bright acidity. This is a long finishing, fine wine that will go great with a grilled steak or better yet, a piece of New Zealand lamb!
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 97 JS 93

2018 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 06-27-2019
The Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough is a huge pleasure to drink. It not only has the grapefruit like, extroverted character that this region is famous for, but it also has very nice texture and body. This is still a very refreshing drink that would be at home on the porch on a hot summer day, but it has the concentration to pair with nice food, like a warm goat cheese salad or even a piece of grilled halibut.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
BC 95

Suntory Hakushu 12 Year Old Japanese Peated Single Malt Whisky (limit 12) (750ml)
Review Date: 06-27-2019
This expertly crafted single malt has extraordinary balance for a peaty style and a refreshing salty lightness that makes me come back for more. I love that this has the smoke and complexity of peat, but doesn't get bogged down with oily heaviness. To the contrary, this is a refreshing Whisky that is fantastic to enjoy after a big meal!
Price: $109.99 Add To Waiting List
WE 91
Limit of 12 per customer

2009 Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac
Review Date: 06-20-2019
I tasted this with Florent Fresse, export manager from Chateau Mouton Rothschild when he came to do a staff seminar in Redwood City. The 2009 Chateau Mouton Rothschild lived up to its billing as a super star of a super vintage, and was extremely expressive at 10 years old for a first growth. This is a chocolaty, full blown Cabernet style with deep dark fruit and vanilla aromas and flavors. This wine has lots of body and texture but does not in any way feel ponderous or fat. In fact, it finishes dry, bright and long. It is composed of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 12 % Merlot. It was an extraordinary treat.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2005 Mouton-Rothschild, Pauillac (1.5L) 3-Pack in OWC
Review Date: 06-20-2019
This was the highlight of the tasting we did with Mouton Rothschild export director Florent Fresse. I loved the pure cassis, subtle cola and saddle leather aromas and flavors and was very impressed with the rich, full body and silky texture. To have so much ripe Cabernet flavor and mouth feel without heat or overweight notes is a unique experience. The wine was so aromatic and giving, yet completely dry and fresh. The finish expanded and went on forever- a truly top-notch experience! This wine is composed of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2005 Mouton Rothschild, Pauillac (1.5L)
Review Date: 06-20-2019
This was the highlight of the tasting we did with Mouton Rothschild export director Florent Fresse. I loved the pure cassis, subtle cola and saddle leather aromas and flavors and was very impressed with the rich, full body and silky texture. To have so much ripe Cabernet flavor and mouth feel without heat or overweight notes is a unique experience. The wine was so aromatic and giving, yet completely dry and fresh. The finish expanded and went on forever- a truly top-notch experience! This wine is composed of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

Jean-Jacques Lamoureux Pinot Blanc Champagne
Review Date: 06-19-2019
This is rare stuff! The Lamoureux Pinot Blanc is one of the very few Champagne's to be bottled exclusively with this grape variety, and the only one that we have ever carried here at K&L. I love the mango and kiwi exoticism that show on top of the baguette like aromatics, and the richer texture that this grape variety brings. This is broad, silky Champagne, but still has the bead, refrement and length of top quality Champagne. I love the hint of pumpkin on the finish, and think this would be excellent with any white fish.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

1999 La Closerie du Poujeaux, Moulis
Review Date: 06-14-2019
My evening with this wine was a finer experience than I would hope for with a bottle at double the price. Even though it had just arrived from its long container ship journey that same day, it was full of calm, confident authority. The wines main feature was great cassis fruit and plenty of it, all packaged with great acidity and 0 residual sugar. Even though the wine was only 12.5% it had great body, silky texture and some power. This wine was excellent with my well marbled market steak, and my wife had to tell me to slow down or she wouldn’t have had her half!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Nicolas Maillart "Platine" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-06-2019
This is the most exciting new Champagne producer that we have added to our lineup of direct imports in a very long time. This entirely estate grown Champagne comes from plots in Ecuiel, Bouzy and Villers-Allerand from mostly old, massal selected plots. The four years of ageing on the lees have given this wine a lovely creamy texture and beautiful, toasty aromas. You can feel the power of the Pinot Noir, with some subtle dark cherry fruit and savor. The most incredible thing about the wine is its complexity, which I found kaleidoscopic, something I am not used to in such a fairly priced wine. Every sip is a discovery!
Top Value!

2013 Louis Roederer Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 06-05-2019
The 2013 vintage was a late one in Champagne, with some producers not finishing until the beginning of the second week of October. The great acidity of this cool vintage tempers the ripe power of the Cumières Pinot Noir in this Champagne. I love the coppery, pale rose color of the wine and the tart cherry flavor of the Pinot Noir. This wine has a very nice baguette toast frame, fine, compact streamers and a fabulous, long, mineral driven finish. It is on the back end that I really taste the Chardonnay, it is clean, dry and refreshing, with persistence that one would expect only from a famous vintage.
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WE 93 RP 92

2007 Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan
Review Date: 05-16-2019
I drank this with a medium rare skirt steak and frites- I was in heaven! This 2007 is drinking beautifully now but will easily cellar for another decade or more. The wine is dry and medium bodied yet packs an incredible amount of dark fruit power all at just 12.5% alcohol. I loved how it had classy polish with catnip like French oak but also had the vibrant gravelly finish that can only come from the best sites in Pessac-Léognan. This has everything from subtle baking spice and new leather to earth tinged cassis fruit. A week later, I am still thinking about it.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

2002 Dom Pérignon "P2" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-16-2019
This is not a shy Dom Pérignon- it is loaded with toasted brioche, melted beurre d’Issigny and ripe white peach fruit. It has developed deep complexity over the years with great oyster shell notes to contrast the fruit and toast. Most importantly, the finish is very fresh and still has the chalky minerality that we all look for in tête de cuvée Champagne. It is unmistakably Dom, and the kind of Champagne that I would love to meet in a blind tasting because of its strong signature.

2012 Alexandre Le Brun "Cuvée Revelation" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-10-2019
This Champagne comes from one special plot in the village of Monthelon, half of which was planted in 1950, and the other in 1902. These ancient, massal selected vines are in a super cold microclimate, giving the wine an incredible tension between old vine concentration, Meunier exoticism and nearly Salon like freshness. The tiny, super high quality 2012 vintage has served up a rarity in Champagne, something that has the power of Krug and the lift of Comtes de Champagne. After tasting 100's of bottles, this was my top Champagne of my 2018 spring trip to the region and our first allocation sold out in less than a week. We were lucky enough to get another 300 bottles. Only 1500 bottles were made!
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart

1999 Lestage Simon, Haut-Médoc
Review Date: 05-01-2019
This Friday, Cinnamon and I enjoyed a bottle of the newly arrived 1999 Lestage Simon, Haut-Médoc ($22.99) with our steak. Saturday morning, I bought myself a case. This wine, like the best of the 1999’s has wonderful, fresh, dark fruit which is still going strong 20 years after the harvest. To go along with this beautiful fruit, this wine is framed by subtle earthiness and also has the texture that only decades of patience can bring. It has become quite silky and the tannins are full integrated. The alcohol is low on this Haut-Médoc, coming in at a classic, old school 12.5%. This means a lot to me, because I have to work on Saturdays, and I like to drink more than one glass of Bordeaux with my steak on Friday night! Perhaps my favorite thing about this wine is how it combines dark fruit and texture with a lifted and bright finish. It provides the kind of refreshment that I love when having a juicy New York steak like the one I had with it.
Drink from 2019 to 2019
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

Krug "Grande Cuvée" 167 Ème Édition Brut Champagne
Review Date: 05-01-2019
The Krug team dug deep into their reserves for the 167th edition, using 42% reserve wines in the final blend, leaning on not only older Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also some of their prized old vine Meunier. The final composition is 47% Pinot Noir, 36% Chardonnay and 17% Meunier from vintages spanning 1995-2011. This 167th edition of Krug is my favorite out of the gate since the 163rd, and I think might end up being a legend like the 157th, known internally at Krug as the savoir-faire, based on another difficult vintage, the 2001. The use of a lot of reserve wines really shined through in this bottle, with hazelnut complexity, brioche like depth and beguiling savory fruit. The texture, as usual for Krug, is perfect after 7 years of ageing on the lees, and the bead is tight and precise. The best feature is how all of these elements are brought into focus by the incredible minerality of the wine… This is not heavy, vinous stuff, but rather elegant, nuanced Champagne.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

1995 Charles Heidsieck "Blanc des Millénaires" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 04-04-2019
The Blanc de Millenaires from Charles Heidsieck is not only a masterpiece of craft, but also of patience. To say that this Blanc de Blancs is made rarely is an understatement, it has only been made four more times since the original release in 1983! It is composed from the fruit of five cotes des blancs villages; Avize, Oger, Cramant, Mesnil and Vertus, and then aged for decades in the pure chalk crayeres of Charles Heidsieck, 90 feet below Reims. The results are spectacular, with toasted brioche aromas and flavors as well as fabulous freshness and minerality.
Drink from 2019 to 2019

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Brut Champagne
Review Date: 02-14-2019
Elisabeth and Jean-Marie are ready to wait for the wine to be right before selling it, and unlike any other producer we work with, their non-vintage Champagne is kept longer than the vintage. The Egrot Brut Champagne is based on 2008, with reserves from 2007, and the current batch has seen eight years on the lees. It is composed of 80% Pinot Noir from the grand cru of Ay and 20% Chardonnay from the 1er cru of Louvois and dosed at a little under 8 grams per liter. This wine has the silky texture and tiny streamers that only patience brings and I think you will be surprised at the finesse of this bottle. That being said, the power is still there, and I love this Champagne with full flavored, hot smoked salmon.
Top Value!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2011 Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Grand Cru Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-31-2019
This Champagne comes from the impossibly steep slopes of Ay Grand Cru in the heart of the Marne Valley. It is composed of 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay from some of the chalkiest soil in all of Champagne. While this vintage proved challenging for many, some of the best plots in the Grand Crus did exceptionally well, producing wines of both power and finesse. This is one of those wines, and has plenty of richness for drinking on its own, but also the backbone of minerality to pair with the best salmon or tuna fillets. The wine is round and rich, with a pain grillé generosity that reminds me of old style Bollinger or Charles Heidsieck. The dark Pinot fruit has wonderful savor and complexity; like a red Burgundy of the same age. The texture, like all of the Egrot Champagne, is flawless, with tight streamers and nice creaminess. The back end is virile with great acidity and freshness, making this a pretty complete package.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

Egrot (formerly Elisabeth Goutorbe) Extra Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-31-2019
The Egrot Extra Brut is made for Champagne lovers who are looking for something extra crisp as an aperitif or to pair with oysters or other shellfish. This Champagne is composed of two-thirds Pinot Noir and one-third Chardonnay, entirely from the 2010 harvest. It is dosed at just 2 grams per liter, but with over six years of aging on the lees, it does not come across as overly austere. It actually shows more creamy notes on the nose than the brut, perhaps because of the addition of softer wines from Mutigny from the sunny 2010 harvest. The cherry fruit has a slight hint of exoticism, but it snaps back into laser focus on the finish, which is as dry as Champagne can be without having a mean spirit. I love this with the Kumamoto oysters that we get from Hog Island Oyster Co. up in Tomales Bay this time of year—this Extra Brut richens up with the shellfish, and gets me shucking the next one!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2012 Michel Arnould "Memoire de Vignes" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-31-2019
This Champagne is always sourced from one of three plots, and sometimes a combination of all three. This year it is made from the Perthois, near the lighthouse in Verzenay. It is a 100% Pinot Noir Blanc de Noirs, and the vines are 60 years old and massal selected. This wine is dry and tense, with kaleidoscopic complexity. The airy maraschino cherry fruit and lightning rod acidity play very well with the best pieces of sushi-grade tuna right now, but the best this wine has is yet to come. In another five years it will open up to reveal a warm, nut bread toast to rival the best Krug your cellar.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

A.D. Coutelas "Cuvée Louis Victor" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 01-31-2019
It is growers who are innovating the most radically in Champagne, and no wine in our stock shows that more than the Cuvée Louis Victor. This comes from a single large barrel and is made in the solera style, with wines from 2007 to 2014 included in the blend. The composition is unknown, as 20% is bottled each year and replaced with the best vin clair in the cellar, regardless of variety. This wine has savory, deep richness and fans of Selosse and Krug should take note… It is easily one of the most complex Champagnes that we have on the shelf.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

Dérot-Delugny "Cuvée Fondateurs" Brut
Review Date: 01-08-2019
The Derot-Delugny estate has been producing their own Champagne for four generations in the tiny village of Croutes-sur-Marne in the western part of the region. Everything they do is estate, and this all Pinot Gris Champagne is their smallest production. It is the only time I have ever tasted a single variety Pinot Gris from Champagne, and it is fantastic as well as exotic! With both effusive and tropical notes, this is still grounded in the world of dry Champagne with a dry (7g/l) finish and plenty of minerality. A must try with asian cuisine!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2002 Louis Roederer "Cristal" Brut Champagne Late Release (Direct from Roederer 2019)
Review Date: 12-14-2018
Last July, Cinnamon and I were invited to the Hotel Particular, a private residence at Champagne Louis Roederer, for a wonderful dinner with Jean-Baptiste Lecaillon, the chef de cave of Roederer. We enjoyed this Champagne with our main course, a duck and root vegetable dish. This 2002 was from the last disgorgement that was released years ago, but Jean-Baptiste held some back for extra ageing on the cork. It was disgorged in 2011, and has now had seven years on the cork. This was Cristal in its power age, full of Verzenay hazelnut concentration, leesy richness, and open-knit expressiveness. I feel honored that we received an allocation of 15 bottles to sell!
Drink from 2018 to 2018

Launois "Cuvée Reserve" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne
Review Date: 12-05-2018
We are very fortunate to be the importer for this great cult producer of blanc de blancs in the famous village of Mesnil. Launois is the only Champagne that I have sold to someone from Champagne to bring back to Champagne with them! It is that sought after. All grand cru, estate grown Champagne doesn't get better than this, but it is almost always more expensive. This is a wine of depth, finesse and intrigue and yet is about as easy as it gets to drink without engaging the grey matter at all. When we get it, it is always snapped up in a hurry... Don't wait and get disappointed!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

Thierry Thibault Brut Champagne
Review Date: 11-27-2018
Thierry Thibault expanded doubled our allocation of this excellent Champagne this year... Maybe we will have it in stock for two days after the email this time! Thierry is the son of one of the giants of Champagne, the late great Daniel Thibault who was chef de cave for both Charles and Piper Heidsieck and pioneered the concept of transparency in non-vintage Champagne with his mis-en-cave bottlings. The estate spans two villages in heart of the western valley of the marne- Verneuil and Passy-Grigny. This Champagne is composed of 1/3 each Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier and is aged for three years on the lees. This is a very bright, fresh style with vibrant acidity, but also with wonderful Chablis like clean earth and complexity. It has a perfect, tight bead and a creamy texture, as well as a very dry and long finish. I was shocked at the price- this is the kind of value that will not last on our shelves!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2012 Louis Roederer Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-27-2018
The vintage brut from Champagne Louis Roederer is a world class Champagne. I love the hazelnut cream and subtle dark cherry on the very giving nose and can't get enough of the concentrated, leesy mid-palate. This is all from the original vineyards first purchased by the family in the late 1700's; 70% Pinot Noir from Verzenay and Verzy and 30% Chardonnay from Chouilly. The special plots destined for the vintage are farmed specifically for this wine, and the dry but powerful Champagne shows off this dedication.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

Laurent-Perrier "Cuvée Rosé" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-27-2018
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 cellar master always judges the length of the maceration on the aromatics, and the result is a rose with character that is still completely elegant. The LP Rose has set the standard for rose Champagne for many years, and for good reason.

Trudon "Emblematis" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-27-2018
Our most exciting new value in Champagne is here, the Emblematis from Jerome Trudon. With more than three years of ageing on the lees, this all estate blend of 70% Meunier and 30% Pinot Noir should be more expensive... Luckily we buy direct and the dollar is strong! This wine has 50% reserves from older vintages and features subtle baguette toast and exotic yet elegant fruit on the nose and in the mouth. Since Jerome does not use malolactic, this wine has great focus and a finish that I would only expect from a wine costing 50% more!
Top Value!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

Trudon "Rosephile" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 09-27-2018
This is the only pure Meunier rose that we have that has been made by blending red wine with white. About 91% of the base is pressed gently to make the white wine, while 9% is sourced from over 60 year old vines and made as red. The result is a rose Champagne with decadent luxardo cherry flavor, balanced by a precise, fine bead and very good minerality. The finish is dry and long- a very impressive Champagne.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2008 Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne
Review Date: 09-20-2018
For me, this is the best young Dom Perignon I have ever tasted, better than the 2002, 1996 and even the 1990. We were treated to a preview bottle, and what a treat it was. I found the wine to have the classic Dom Perignon yeasty nose, but found it to be as transparent and pure in the mouth as their ethereal 2004. On the back end, the wine has concentration to spare, and blooming, chalky finish that seems to still be with me two days later as I type this. This wine is made from 95% grand cru fruit, with the balance of 5% coming from the historic 1er cru of Hautvillers, where the monk Dom Perignon worked and lived. As usual, this is very close to 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, although the powers that be do not like to discuss the cepage.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

2015 Tapiz "Alta Collection" Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza
Review Date: 09-04-2018
If you enjoyed the 2014 Tapiz Cabernet, be prepared to be impressed. I found the 2015 to be far superior, with all of the dusty, dark cassis fruit of an old school Napa Cabernet, but this time with even better freshness. While the 2014 reminded me of old fashioned Caymus, this excellent 2015 reminds me more of a Heitz. Don't miss this deal!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RP 90

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