What’s your position at K&L and how long have you been with the company?
My business card says “wineguy,” a term that suits my endeavors, both present and future, fairly well I’d say. I’ve only been working at K&L for about four months. I did, however, spend close to a decade, first as a supplier rep and then as a wholesale sales manager, trying to sell vast quantities of wine to K&L, something which was met, every now and again, with varying levels of success.
What did you do before you started working here?
Just prior I was the wine director/sommelier at Pizzeria Mozza. Just prior to that, I was on a 4 and ½ month trip around the world. And just prior to that, I worked as a portfolio and sales manager in Northern California, again, trying hard to get my wines placed at K&L.
What’s your favorite movie?
Wow, tough question. I’ve always thought The English Patient is one of the most poignantly beautiful films I’ve ever seen.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Listen to music, read, cook, hang with my fiancée, go to the gym, ride my bicycle, drink lots of beer, and wish I had more spare time to do all of the above plus snowboarding, scuba diving, surfing and traveling.
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?
October of 1995 on the steps of the cathedral in Toledo, Spain, at sunset. Not sure what that fellow backpacker and I drank straight out of the bottle that afternoon, but I did have a revelation, and knew wine would be a part of my life forever. That, or ’78 La Tache.
Describe your perfect meal (at a restaurant or prepared at home). What wine(s) would you pair with it?
Wow, another tough one. A fall afternoon at the Hog Island Oyster Co. on Tomales Bay, fiancée, six or seven dozen fresh shucked Kumumotos with a tangy mignonette and a mag of ’88 Salon Champagne.
How do you think your palate’s changed over the years?
When much younger (much younger!), my initial musical tastes tended towards AC/DC, Ozzy Ozbourne, Speed and Rap Metal. Now I’m really into the Thievery Corporation, Ray LaMontagne, Yo La Tengo and Gillian Welch. There’s an unmistakable similarity in how my palate has developed.
What do you like to drink?
Per my analogy in the previous question, I prefer lower alcohol, higher acid, cool climate, complex wines, as opposed to huge, oaky monsters. Hugh Johnson once said, “When I finish a sip of wine, I want to be left with a question mark, not an exclamation point.” Bravo, well said chap! Oh, pretty much any beer under the sun, and I’m a coffee snob.
What words of advice do you have to offer people just getting into wine?
Find a “wine guru” you like, someone to whom you can ask a lot of questions, get advice, etc. Taste as many wines as you can. Read some. Most importantly, in the words of the esteemed Flava Flave, “don’t believe the hype,” and trust your palate.
If you could have dinner with any three people in history, who would you invite? What wine would you serve each of them?
Toughest question of them all. The prophet Mohammed, Buddha and Jesus Christ. Think what a fascinating conversation that would be. I don’t think any of them are big drinkers, but I would tempt them with some Krug Rosé, a mag of ’96 Leflaive Montrachet, a ’90 Jayer “Cros Parantoux” and ’88 Rouseau Clos de Beze to go with our vegetarian feast. Then some Racer 5 IPA’s late into the night.