What’s your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?
I’ve been with K&L since the Hollywood store opened almost four years ago. Wow, has it been that long? Time flies when you’re having fun, I guess. My position? Usually standing, but sometimes I sit for a bit. Mostly I just sell booze.
What did you do before you started working here?
In this life or the previous one? In this life I’ve done lots of things, but have spent most of my more recent past in the food and wine industry. Although at one point I was an insurance salesman. Yuck! (No offense to all of the insurance salesmen out there.)
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Party like its 1999! Oh and golf, lots and lots of golf.
What was your “epiphany wine”—the bottle or glass that got you interested in wine?
I can’t remember having an “epiphany wine” (maybe I had too much of it). I got really interested in wine while living in Austin, Texas. I worked at a fabulous restaurant there and one of the owners was a big wine geek. He started taking me to tastings, and I was bitten by the wine bug and it’s been “over the teeth and through the gums, look out stomach, here it comes” ever since.
Describe your perfect meal (at a restaurant or prepared at home). What wine(s) would you pair with it?
Hmm…I love to cook, but for this question I’ll pick my favorite restaurant dishes. I’d start with red beet tartare from Madeleine Bistro in Tarzana, CA with Ariston Brut Rosé, then tomato-artichoke bisque from Mother’s Café in Austin, TX with a nice Grüner Veltliner, some seitan piccata from Candle 79 in NYC with a killer Cru Beaujolais, chicken-fried seitan at Madeleine Bistro with an aged Valdicava “Madonna del Piano” Brunello di Montalcino Riserva and finishing with sweet corn crème brûlée at Madeleine Bistro with a German Auslese or a glass of 1972 Glenrothes Scotch. Of course, this meal should be had with lots of close family and friends, since no meal is worth a damn unless you can enjoy it with the people you love.
How do you think your palate’s changed over the years?
Like a lot of folks I started out liking the big, heavily extracted wines from California and Australia. Now I like the more restrained, less fruity wines from Italy, the Rhône Valley and Burgundy.
What do you like to drink?
If it’s open I’ll drink it. (Unless it’s Coors Light or Charles Shaw.) Everyone here in Hollywood makes fun of me because all I’ve been drinking lately is Grüner Veltliner. But it’s just so damn delicious and cheap, and it comes in a liter bottle. How can you go wrong with that? If I drink red then it’s usually Italian or Rhône, but I like a wide variety.
What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?
DRINK UP! The only way to learn is to taste. Oh, and have an open mind. Lots of my favorite wines come from areas or varietals that I had never heard of before. If you stick to the same old stuff, how will you ever know what other wonderful wines are out there waiting for you?
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?
Just three? I would have like 50 so we could all get drunk and silly and make each other laugh, but if I have to choose three then they would be: my late father, Norman Bohrer, who I would try to get to have some fancy wine, though I know he would end up drinking some cheap whiskey instead. He was a poor, country boy through and through. Albert Einstein, I have no idea what he would like to drink, but I bet a bottle of DRC Romanée-Conti would make him happy. And finally Leonardo da Vinci, who I think would love a nice, perfectly aged Barolo.
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