What do you do at K&L?
I take care of purchasing the wines from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. [This is my 21st] year with K&L.
What did you do before you started here?
I made my living as a freelance drummer living in the Bay Area. I’ve had the chance to work with many jazz greats such as Jimmy Witherspoon, Ray Brown, Joe Henderson as well as burlesque queen Tempest Storm. And of course weddings, bar mitzvahs and everything in between. As they say, soup to nuts.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I still am out there playing drums, sometimes with my wife, Cookie Wong, who is a singer. Other than that, sharing good food and wine with friends, riding my bike and long walks with my sweetie and our dog Ella.
What’s your favorite movie?
This is tough. Fritz Lang’s M, The Godfather, Hitchcock was great, and I have to say it gets me every time, Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life.
What was your “epiphany wine?”
I’ll sound like a snob/geek, but it was a bottle of La Tache (I forget the vintage) in a blind tasting that blew me away. The other was an older bottle of Chambertin at Gros Freres with the classic peacock tail of color unfolding on your palate and a finish that wouldn’t quit.
Describe your perfect meal. What wine(s) would you pair with it?
In my fantasy world, I’d love to go the restaurant [Jules Verne] in the Eiffel Tower with my wife on a clear night in Paris. Back on earth, I suppose starting with a great vintage of Salon and then moving on to Burgundy and Bordeaux. The fact is, we get to eat and drink pretty well in this business, so the real perfection is in having the time and people to share it all with.
How do you think your palate has changed over the years?
I think that when I taste wine now I spend less time trying to come up with exact descriptions, Bing vs Rainier cherries, and rather focus on the components of bouquet, balance and structure.
What do you like to drink?
Anything that’s well-made and interesting.
What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?
Taste all you can. Trust your palate, it will evolve at its own pace. Don’t be a snob!
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?
Duke Ellington would get Champagne and Burgundy. Jack Kerouac, Chianti Classico and hanging out in North Beach.With George Carlin, Châteauneuf-du-Pape.
Want to drink the wines that Jimmy C likes?
Join K&L's Personal Sommelier Service and let him pick your wines!