Editor's Note: Not only is Mulan our incredible Rhône and French Regional wine buyer, but she's also the author of mumu les vignes, one of our favorite wine blogs. Check it out.
What do you do and how long have you done it?
I am the Rhône and French Regional buyer. I started at K&L in January 2003, so just over seven years.
What did you do before K&L?
I worked in several restaurants prior to working at K&L, including Restaurant Lulu and the Slanted Door. I also worked in film production, primarily as an art director and in web design.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Cooking, gardening, running and re-upholstering antique furniture.
What’s your favorite movie?
Like wine, I don’t really have one. However, at the top of my list are Bernardo Bertolucci’s The Conformist and Woody Allen’s Love and Death.
What was your “epiphany wine?”
I don’t really have an epiphany wine. I have an epiphany moment about pursuing wine as a career, though. Suffice to say it involved driving to Los Angeles on the 101 near San Louis Obispo while listening to the Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.”
Describe your perfect meal. What wine(s) would you pair with it?
For me a perfect meal would be prepared by Chef Loretta Keller at Coco 500. I would start with her famous fried green beans and a glass of Champagne, followed by a slice of truffled mushroom flatbread and a side of oven-roasted beets. Then I’d follow up with Sonoma County duck breast and a side of Star Route Farms Swiss chard. I would drink whatever wine director Clay Reynolds recommends, as he has put together a really fun and interesting wine list. I would finish with a piece of El Rey chocolate and then call it a night!
How do you think your palate has changed over the years?
My introduction to wine was through working in restaurants, so since the beginning I have always been trained to appreciate wines that pair well with food. That being said, my palate has not really changed too much over the years. I have always preferred wines that have bright acidity, modest levels of alcohol and relatively little or no oak flavors.
What do you like to drink?
I like to drink just about any wine that is appropriately paired to what I am eating. I love old vine Carignan, most red wines from Trentino-Alto Adige and great Syrah from the Northern Rhône. However, if I had to pick one wine to drink on a desert island it would be Champagne, preferably from the house of Bollinger or Rene Geoffroy.
What advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?
The study and experience of wine is very humbling. The more I learn and taste, the more I realize I have only hit the tip of the iceberg. Keep an open mind about everything, keep learning and trying new things. You’ll taste lots of great wine, meet really interesting people and have a ton of fun doing so. I promise.
If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?
Queen Elizabeth I: Krug Grand Cuvée Champagne. Marcus Aurelius: Something meditative like a great Barolo. Wolfgang Puck: A great Austrian Riesling from Weingut Nikolaihof.
Want to drink wines that Mulan likes?
Join K&L's Personal Sommelier Service and make her your Personal Sommelier.