Sunday, July 25, 2010

Coachella Valley Attorney Shares His Passion for the Vine and All Things Pinot

Rob Bernheimer has a thing for Kosta Browne. You can see it in his eyes as he giddily recreates the scene of a verticle tasting (wines of different vintage years but from the same winery) he hosted at his Indian Wells home recently. There's a wait list to get on the wait list with this producer, and Rob uses words like 'killer' as he lovingly cradles each bottle like a newborn child.
This desert attorney's decade-long obsession with vino didn't happen overnight, nor did he amass his collection of more than 400 bottles in a day. Rob's passion for grapes developed slowly over the years, aging like a fine Burgundy, and growing with cult bottlings from the likes of Sea Smoke Cellars and the aforementioned Kosta Browne, arguably his favorite Pinot producer.
"I dont' consider myself a collector," he says. "I buy wines I want to drink and wines that I know my friends and I will enjoy with a terrific meal. I don't have a problem opening the last bottle of something, because I know the experience will be special."
Special is an understatement when it comes to this collection. Rob admits he's partial to Syrahs and Rhone-Style blends, some of which he keeps at home. Most of his bottles are stored at a temperature-controlled facility specific to wine, ready and waiting for his eager palate, a palate awash in First Growth Bordeaux and Super Tuscans.
Its not uncommon to find him in an animated conversation via cell phone with some of California's most noted winemakers, many of whom have become fast friends, as evidenced by the sea of signatures that grace much of his treasured collection.
I was itching to ask the question, though I suspected I knew the answer: "If you were only able to drink one more of your wines in this lifetime, what would it be?"
Something tells me that even if the answer was a Zin from an up-and-coming vintner in Paso Robles, Rob would still enjoy every last sip of it...just like I reveled in the 2004 Pinot he opened for my birthday a couple years back...the producer? You guessed it...Kosta Browne.
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