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Mon Coeur vineyard

We started “tasting wine” in 1978. We frequented a wine shop in West LA up the street from the Wine House which had recently opened. The shop was located in a bungalow that was once somebody’s home on Cotner. It was the outlet store for The Wine Merchant owned by Dennis Overstreet and located in Beverly Hills. His BH store had all the celebrity clients. The outlet spot was for the lumpen proletariat of LA’s budding wine scene. In 1978 the collector’s find was any Napa Cabernet from 1974. The first wave of Napa Cabernet producers was emerging that included Diamond Creek, Caymus and Ridge. Heitz Cellar was an old guard hot ticket along with BV Georges De Latour. The real sharpies were hunting down old vintages of Inglenook. The good thing about the Cotner store was the Saturday tastings which were loosely formed, spontaneous events. Once a sufficient threshold of aspiring snobs was present somebody bought a bottle and opened it right there in the store. The store clerks were not like the info-matics you find today in upscale wine versions of Target like Total Wine or BevMo [ed. he prefers Total Yawn]. The store clerks at the Cotner store were geeks, folks like the ones buying wine except they had to work somewhere and living in LA was still pretty cheap in the late 1970s so a wine shop was good as any other minimum wage shithole. And you could drink interesting wines when the air got thick with opinions and burning curiosity. (more…)