What’s your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?
I am the domestic liaison for K&L Hollywood. I was hired in the Fall of 2009. I’ve been with K&L for a year now, and I love it!
What did you do before you started working here?
Before I joined K&L, I was working in San Luis Obispo County at a variety of wineries and wine shops, such as Four Vines, Tolosa and 15 degrees. I loved the area so much after finishing at Cal Poly I wanted to make a go for it and stay as long as possible…which ended up being two-and-a-half-years before it became clear to me it was a place for students, the independently wealthy or small business owners.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
My passion is food and wine first and foremost. As soon as I get home from work each night I spend multiple hours unwinding in the kitchen creating the “healthy fat” Hollywood dishes that only my wino friends can appreciate night after night. My significant other begs for steamed and “lo carb” items…so I give him cheese and avocado! We have a love-hate relationship when it comes to my cooking.
What’s your favorite movie?
A Good Year starring Russell Crowe. If you haven’t seen it then you must. I never get tired of it! Think brilliant wine and romance without the cheesy acting of Bottle Shock.
What was your “epiphany wine”—the bottle or glass that got you interested in wine? Is there a current wine that you consider the equivalent?
I feel like I have the palate of two different people. When I was 21 years old and my palate was at its most impressionable I knew only California wines. When I tasted the power and lusciousness of the Big Dusi Vineyard Zinfandel I was hooked, and drank only big, red Paso powerhouses for quite some time. My palate finally became so tired of all that fruit and alcohol that I’ve been a white obsessed lunatic ever since. Not that I don’t enjoy my occasional Napa Cab, but it was good old Sauvignon Blanc that opened my eyes to the array of Old World wines filled with minerality, acidity and history and really turned my head.
Describe your perfect meal (at a restaurant or prepared at home). What wine(s) would you pair with it?
My perfect meal depends on the time and place, of course. But I will describe the at-home version, since that is where I get to experiment the most. It would start out with bubbles—either a crisp, elegant Champagne from Launois or a vinous Cremant de Loire—paired with a creamy soft cheese and dried fruit or quince paste. Then, we’d switch over to a farmers’ market fresh heirloom tomato, basil and avocado salad with imported strong, spicy Italian olive oil and a balsamic drizzle. It would be followed by a classic Provencal or Lopez de Heredia Rosé, with very thin beef carpaccio topped with arugula, parmigiano, capers and fresh pepper. For the main, I would do the 2007 Staglin Cabernet Sauvignon with a very elegant piece of meat such as a filet, with a red wine reduction. To finish: a beautiful Sauternes or Tokaji just by itself or with some real blue cheese and honeycomb.
How do you think your palate’s changed over the years?
I feel like a new person with a new palate since I started working at K&L. I never thought I could love so many non-domestic wines before. What they say is really true: “The more you taste the better well-defined your palate gets!” I love racy, high acid, mineral wines with structure and depth. The best thing about K&L? You don’t have to spend a lot to get a well-balanced, delicious, interesting wine.
What do you like to drink?
This is no new news to my co-workers at K&L Hollywood, but I can’t get enough racy whites or bubbles. I love Champagne, Cremant, Prosecco, you name it! If it’s dry and has great texture then give it to me. I gotta’ be real though; I do crave a creamy Chard once in a while, too. There’s a place and a time for everything.
What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?
Get a group of fellow tasters together where everyone brings a bottle that fits a theme like New World whites or, even more specific, like Russian River Pinot Noirs. That will give everyone a chance to taste something different and learn something about a particular region or varietal.
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?
I would invite Clyde I, Clyde II and Clyde III to dinner. I would serve each the Billecart-Salmon Rosé and Sancerre followed by the First Growth Bordeaux of their choice, all with an open menu by the Bouchon in Napa.