Staff Favorites - Christie Brunick

Christie Brunick
Christie Brunick  | Send Email  |   Subscribe to My Sommelier Service
I was first introduced to the fabulous world of California wine in Napa where I spent weekends bike riding and wine tasting with my parents up and down the Silverado Trail. Growing up in the East Bay Area it was only a hop...skip...jump away from wine country where my family would venture to relax and play every possible moment. It wasn't until my senior year at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo that I realized I had a passion for the wine industry. My first encounter with the working world of wine was my volunteer internship at Edna Valley Winery where I traveled to a number of tasting events with the marketing manager for the winery and realized I needed to get in the business. I added a minor in wine and viticulture to my communications studies major and ended up writing my thesis on the differences in wine marketing throughout a choice number of Paso Robles wineries. My first "real job" in the wine industry was at the smallest tasting room with the biggest personality in Paso Robles named Four Vines Winery. I worked there for almost three years while going to school and fell in love with not only central coast wines, but also with the business of sales and all those who loved, appreciated, and enjoyed our fruitful product. After graduation in 2007 I loved the central coast so much I decided to make a go for it and stay in this blissful paradise of beach and vines. I became fond very fond of making trips to Los Olivos and Santa Ynez valley quite often and in the mean time also became employed at Tolosa Winery in San Luis Obispo and 15 degrees wine bar in Templeton. In the summer of 2009 I decided to take a chance and move to Hollywood for more opportunity. Being from northern California I wanted to expand my horizons and see what the LA lifestyle was all about. I knew this was where I belonged the moment I stepped into this oasis of wine and cuisine. Never had I been to a place where I could find so many restaurants, bistros, wine bars, and the like within a 4 mile radius, and I don't have to get on the freeway! I'm in heaven. When I walked into the infamous K&L Hollywood Store it was love at first sight! I'm thrilled to be working here doing what I love, and love the incredible people here who share this passion and commitment with me.


Reviews

  
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2014 Domaine du Tariquet "Classic" Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
Review Date: 12-18-2015
This is my favorite weeknight white! And even better, it's perfect for your holiday parties, because it's friendly enough for a crowd yet still unique and intriguing enough for people to get excited about! Crisp and clean like a Sauvignon Blanc, with lots of citrus and mineral notes, and a brightness about it that keeps your palate wanting more!
Price: $8.99 Add To Cart

2013 Secoli Valpolicella Ripasso
Review Date: 12-18-2015
This wine is like wrapping yourself with a warm blanket and sitting in front of the fire. It warms you from head to toe with its full-bodied texture and ripe, warm fruit profile!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2012 Simi Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-05-2015
I can't say enough how much I'm loving this 2012 Alexander Valley Cab by Simi! It's like wrapping a warm blanket around yourself and cozying up by the fire! This is exactly what I want in a winter red. It's full bodied, yet not overly extracted and sweet like so many Cali-Cabs in this price range. This reminds me of a Bordeaux meets Napa wine. Lots of fun savory earth and spice notes, but luscious and velvety fruit wraps up your palate like an Xmas present. Soo delicious, the best Cab under $30 I've tried all year!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2012 Grgich Hills "Estate" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-03-2015
Classic and elegant, Napa meets Bordeaux in style and drinkability. Will cellar nicely as well for the next decade.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
JS 92

2010 Heitz Cellar "Martha's Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 12-03-2015
If I could have a "last meal" wine this would be it. It doesn't lack anything. And it's not pretentious or shy. It's exactly what you want for a special occasion to blow your palate away!
Price: $199.99 Add To Cart

2012 Grgich Hills "Estate" Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 12-03-2015
Always classic and lovely. Grgich has a way with keeping their wines balanced and nuanced without too much oak and malo. I always recommend this to someone who is trying to cut back on the typical Cali Chard and wants to move closer to a Burgundian styled Chardonnay.
Price: $36.99 Add To Cart
CG 90

2014 Domaine de Biéville (Louis Moreau) Chablis
Review Date: 11-18-2015
You literally can't find a better deal in white Burgundy than this! I don't remember the last time I tasted a Chablis this pure and focused for under $20! Super classic in texture and style, this Chablis is chock-full of minerality, quenching acidity, and subtle stone fruit/citrus undertones. This is the perfect wine for a crab feast this holiday season!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2014 Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay (375ml)
Review Date: 11-09-2015
My favorite vintage of Rombauer Chard yet! Why? Because this year they have made a more balanced and intriguing style of their Chardonnay with more vibrancy and purity of fruit than ever before, and it's not covered up by the copious amount of oak and malo that usually hides the pretty fruit.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2012 Kamen Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-01-2015
Classically 2012 with a touch more finesse and elegance coming from the cooler climate Sonoma Valley. Drinking beautifully now, with supple and soft, integrated tannins, and will age gracefully, as well.
Price: $84.99 Add To Cart
RP 96 VN 93

2013 Layer Cake California Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-28-2015
This is A LOT of wine for the money, people! If you are looking for a full-bodied, lush yet soft, rich and velvety textured Cab that will please palates across the table for a price that won't break the bank, then look no further! I love this for the holiday's and will be stocking up because the quality of fruit here really shines through with its intensity of blackberry, chocolate, dried currant, red berry and blueberry fruit, and even a touch of vanilla from French Oak. Absolutely Delic!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Layer Cake Central Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-28-2015
Best Pinot for the price I've tasted all year! And the name says it all -- juicy, supple, rich, ripe, soft yet sultry intensity, and just plain delicious! I can't think of a better party Pinot than this! Or just a great Tuesday night wine...or any night of the week for that matter!
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2014 Evesham Wood Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-28-2015
If you thought 2012 was an amazing vintage for Oregon Pinot Noir then wait till you start tasting the 2014s! Like the '12s, these puppies are vibrant and juicy, but with possibly even more suppleness on the palate and intense purity of fruit. I love the Evesham Wood's entry-level Pinot at just $20 because it shows off the highlights of this amazing vintage while remaining true to the classic roots of this Burgundian inspired producer with all of its complex spice, floral, and savory undertones. Absolutely the perfect wine for fall, and will pair perfectly with all those autumn-inspired Thanksgiving flavors!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 Bishop's Peak San Luis Obispo Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-28-2015
I love Talley Vineyards. And what I love more is a great value from one of my favorite Central Coast producers! Bishop's Peak is Talley's second label, but the fruit is still being sourced from all their esteemed local vineyards, and the result is a mind-blowing, amazingly delicious and juicy Pinot Noir for sub-$20! Not only am I a huge fan of this label but I even served it at my very own wedding reception because it over-delivers for the price and is everything you could want from a classic California Pinot Noir. It's drinkable with or without food, it's balanced with the right amount of acid and fruit, it's bright and juicy, and is perfect for a crowd-pleasing Pinot! Thanksgiving is around the corner and I could not think of something better for your guests that will be well received and not break the bank!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

Opus One "Overture" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 10-12-2015
I took a whiff of this and the aromatics screamed Bordeaux! But with a Napa Valley sensibility, of course. You can smell how expensive the oak is they use in this, and trust me, they spare no expense in accessories at Opus One. I love the Overture because it's so much more open and gives immediate gratification, while their first label takes a few years in cellar to open up. This isn't usually released and is very rarely in stock. So take advantage.
Price: $109.99 Add To Cart

2014 Kalinda Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-12-2015
A Russian River Chardonnay for $12.99!!??? Get outta town! I can't reveal the fruit source, but trust me, if you typically like a Chardonnay from this region, with palate richness, stone and citrus fruit, creaminess with a touch of toast, and balance, then you will love our version.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2014 Pine Ridge California Chenin Blanc-Viognier
Review Date: 10-06-2015
This wine always over-delivers for the price. And with the fall weather and Thanksgiving coming up this is the perfect white wine, with the mouth-feel just a bit richer than your other typical aperitif-type whites but still plenty of great acidity making it food-friendly.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2012 Inglenook "Cask" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-06-2015
Just like the classic story behind this famous label, so is the wine...Classic! This is pure, polished, elegant yet packs a punch, and is cellar-worthy as well. You really can't ask for much more with this quality of fruit and winemaking combination for this price!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 VN 92

2005 Heitz Cellar "Martha's Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-06-2015
If you want to drink one of the finest and most old-school styled Napa Cabs that is actually almost ready to drink, then get your hands on a very special and limited release Martha's Vineyard Cabernet for a special occasion. It never disappoints!
Price: $159.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-06-2015
Elegance, polish, and class, all bottled up and packaged for your drinking pleasure. Dumol always delivers the goods: richness of fruit, purity of fruit, and a juicy and balanced mouthfeel. Always a winner in my book.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2013 DuMol Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-06-2015
Dumol has been called by an anonymous source "the DRC of California Chardonnay and Pinot Noir." And I won't totally disagree. These wines are extremely elegant and classically made, and very cellar-worthy for California standards.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
CG 91

2012 Ehlers Estate St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-01-2015
During the holidays I like to buy gifts that keep on giving. The 2012 Ehlers Estate St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon is my favorite Napa Cab to gift because it makes me feel good as well as those who receive it! Ehlers Estate is a “not-for-profit” winery and is held in trust for the Leducq Foundation. Jean and Sylviane Leducq established the trust in 1996 to fund the Foundation which supports international cardiovascular research. So every time you drink this wine it's good for your heart in more ways than one! I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited the Ehlers estate. All 39 acres are 100% organically and biodynamically farmed. This is always a well-received wine because of how approachable and balanced it is. Gorgeous color in the glass, with pretty fruit aromas of crushed flowers, with sweet Bing cherries and dried berry patch fruit. Silky and supple on the palate with savory baking spice and smooth tannins, this wine makes everyone happy.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2012 Frog's Leap "Estate" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-01-2015
My biggest surprise in this year’s 2012 Cabernet lineup was the 2012 Frog's Leap "Estate" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. If you tasted it blind, you would swear you were smelling and tasting Bordeaux! I’m so happy they released this wine for the first time this year, because it is the best Cab I’ve ever tried from Frog’s Leap, hands down! And it comes from 100% Rutherford AVA estate fruit that is dry farmed, as well. This explodes out of the glass with crazy aromatics that remind me of Pauillac, with its crushed savory herbs, flowers, and purity of fruit. The palate is rich, refined, and elegant. Completely complex in all the right ways with structure that will age, this wine will do so beautifully or can be enjoyed right now!
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
VN 93 W&S 93

2014 Rombauer Carneros Chardonnay
Review Date: 09-29-2015
My favorite vintage of Rombauer Chard yet! Why? Because this year they have made a more balanced and intriguing style of their Chardonnay with more vibrancy and purity of fruit than ever before, and it's not covered up by the copious amount of oak and malo that usually hides the pretty fruit.
Price: $33.99 Add To Cart

2013 Domaine Tour Boisée Minervois Rouge
Review Date: 09-29-2015
I love the south of France in the summer, winter, and fall, but most of all I love it for the amazing wines that come out of this picturesque place that constantly over-deliver for the price. Speaking of a real find, my new favorite find comes from the tiny region of Minervois that is producing the most amazing red blend for $9.99 that I've tried all year! This 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah blend explodes out of the glass with fresh berry patch fruit of dried black and red raspberries, rhubarb, and boysenberries. The palate is eager to please with its supple, lifted, and juicy fruit undertones of fig and quince with quenching acidity on the finish. Great to drink on its own and complex and compelling enough to enjoy with a variety of cuisines. Stock up for the holidays because this is a crowd-pleaser for sure!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2014 Talley/K&L Wine Merchants Edna Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 09-25-2015
Gorgeous baby Burgundy here for an amazing price! From cool climate vineyard sites in San Luis Obispo's Edna Valley, this mimics the minerality and freshness of Burgundy, with gorgeous texture and fruit, as well. Just the right amount of creaminess and brioche on the finish.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2013 Dry Creek Vineyard "Heritage Vines" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 09-25-2015
Full bodied, voluminous, decadent, sultry, velvety, rich, ripe, and delicious. What more could you ask for? This Zin over-delivers for the price and is perfect for the fall and winter months ahead.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WE 90 WS 90

2013 Beckmen "Cuvée Le Bec" Santa Ynez Rhône Blend
Review Date: 09-25-2015
Year in and year out, Beckmen has always delivered solid Rhone-styled blends that are truly Californian in fruit but classically Rhone in quality and texture. This is by far the best vintage of the Cuvee Le Bec I've tasted yet, and for this price, it won't last long. Talk about a crowd-pleaser for the upcoming holidays, well this is it! Act fast or forever be regretful.
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
VN 91

2014 Veronique Anne Perret "Le Minéral" Vin de Savoie
Review Date: 09-25-2015
This is the kind of white that is perfect to drink year round. It's refreshing and bright in the summer, and perfect with traditional Swiss fondue in the winter. I love the zippy minerality and acid with its clean, dry finish! An absolute steal!
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2013 Domaine Dugois Trousseau Arbois Rouge
Review Date: 09-25-2015
This is the perfect Thanksgiving wine. More interesting than your typical Pinot Noir, but with similar weight and color. Gorgeous aromatics of crushed flowers and crunchy red fruit on the nose, potpourri, baking spice, quenching acidity and minerality make it food friendly and approachable as well.
Price: $18.99 Add To Cart

2012 Domaine de Verquière Côtes du Rhône-Villages Plan de Dieu
Review Date: 09-25-2015
I'm thrilled to have this new Direct Import in our hands, thanks to our amazing buyer Keith Mabry finding us all kinds of new hidden gems. All the Rhone blends in the lineup are stellar, and classically styled, for a ridiculous price. My favorite of the three is the Plan De Dieu, which is primarily Grenache and 10% Syrah. The reason I prefer this one is because it is not as heavy-handed and serious as the Sablet, but has more richness and intrigue than the entry-level Cotes Du Rhone. Pure and ripe juicy Grenache fruit explodes out of the glass, and on the palate you get a very pretty blue fruit quality, with this quenching acidity that makes it both surprising, unique, and very, very delicious! Great to drink on its own or with food.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2013 D'Amico "Seiano" Lazio Rosso
Review Date: 09-21-2015
If your looking for your new Italian Stallion that won't break the bank while keeping you and your friends coming back for more, then look no further! This is by far the best sub-$10 direct-import Italian Sangiovese-based blend that I've tried all year! And I love my Italian! This is great with pasta, red sauce, pizza, bolognese, charcuterie and cheese, or just on its own. Juicy and explosive out of the glass, with ripe berry and spice aromas, and medium-full bodied on the palate with a slightly sweet toasty oak finish, it's balanced with that great Italian acidity and spice. This is easy drinking but will keep intrigue.
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2012 Novelty Hill Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-11-2015
The perfect no-brainer, easy drinking Cab that's food-friendly, with lots of fruit and rich velvety texture. A for-sure crowd-pleaser. I haven't tasted a well balanced $20 Cab like this in a while, so get your hands on some!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WE 92 RP 90

Sean Thackrey "Pleiades XXIV Old Vines" California Red Blend
Review Date: 08-18-2015
Consistently one of the best non-vintage blends on the market today. Always food friendly, yet drinkable on its own, this is the perfect red that can be enjoyed all year round. Spicy, floral, medium-full bodied, supple texture and ripe fruit. This is always surprising and intriguing every time.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Renaud Mâcon-Solutré
Review Date: 08-05-2015
Year in and year out Domain Renaud is always my favorite Direct Import white Burgundy producer. The wines always over deliver for the price and this 2014 vintage delivers all the goods! The Solutre is always my personal favorite pick because the fruit comes from the highest elevation vineyard with the most drainage, which gives the wine amazing minerality, acidity, and texture that the others in the line-up seem to lack a bit. This is like a cross between Chablis with the minerality, and Pouilly-Fuisse with the fruit and lovely texture. It's just the perfect Chardonnay with no new oak, and is extremely food friendly but great to drink on its own as well!
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart

2012 Amici Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-05-2015
If you like Big, Massive, Layered, Textured, Sultry, Sexy, Voluminous, Full-Bodied and Oaky Napa Cabernet, then the Amici is for you! This is a boutique Napa winery and one that always over-delivers quality for price! I call it Caymus for half the price! Only the Amici has way better structure and longevity than Caymus does these days. Tons of rich, dark Napa fruit, and plenty of new French oak that makes this wine scream..I need a steak! Absolutely stunning and you deserve every drop!
Price: $43.99 Add To Cart

2014 Domaine Dragon Côtes de Provence Rosé
Review Date: 08-03-2015
Simply the best Provencal rosé I've tasted under $15 all year! Or for the past few years for that matter. This boutique producer we just started importing delivers everything you could want in a Provence rosé and more! Gorgeous light salmon color, dry, crisp, mineral driven, subtle fruit undertones of grapefruit pitch, pomelo rind, even a touch of white nectar and strawberry seed. Super light and refreshing, perfect pool-side sipper for the long summer ahead! If you're looking for a food pairing try it with a summer salad of prosciutto, melon, and burrata! Yum!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2013 Joseph Carr Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 07-22-2015
A classic California styled Chardonnay with nice creamy texture and integrated oak that doesn't finish bitter or too toasty. Even a nice tropical note of pineapple upside-down cake on the finish. Delicious summer Chardonnay for a great price!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2006 Drappier "Grande Sendrée" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 07-15-2015
Drinking perfectly upon release, this blend of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Chardonnay is the definition of expressive elegance in a glass. Gorgeous aromas, texture, and fruit, this is the belle of the ball. Absolute perfect amount of creaminess to acid ratio, this is bright and buttery at the same time.

2013 Domaine Anne & Arnaud Goisot Chablis
Review Date: 07-15-2015
Flinty, mineraly, high acid, bright, racy, crisp, and clean...these are the elements that make great Chablis. Try finding one better than this for under $15! Good luck.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2013 Clos de l'Anhel "Lolo de l'Anhel" Corbieres
Review Date: 07-08-2015
Classically Corbieres, complex, completely old school, and oh so food friendly. This new DI addition is perfect for anyone wanting to try something new, or get out of their Rhone Rut! Give it some air or a decant first, this wine totally over-delivers for the price with its super-structure and depth of savory earth, spice, and dusty tannins.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Bench Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-08-2015
A very classicly styled Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Juicy and rich on the palate, with silky and seamless texture. Lots of black cherry and red fruit notes. Always a go to!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2013 William Hill "Estate" North Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 07-01-2015
This is a great value in California Chardonnay done by the people who know how to do Chardonnay right! Gallo of course! Very classic to the Cali style we all love but not too sweet and alcoholic as many domestic Chards can be. Nice creamy texture with plenty of toasted oak and vanilla on the finish.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WE 90

2011 Ousterhout "Nance's Vineyard" Alexander Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 06-16-2015
An extremely food friendly style Zin that we don't see very often. Almost reminds me of Italian Zin or Primitivo with its brightness and spice. Great to drink now or cellar a couple years!
Price: Hidden View Price
W&S 95 WE 90

2012 Jordan Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-16-2015
Jordan is great at making wines true to varietal character yet displaying all the nuances of the terroir from which they come. This Chardonnay is no exception. It has subtle, creamy aromas and a great texture on the palate, yet this cool-climate Chardonnay has an intense leesy quality that mimics Burgundy. Food-friendly and ready to consume.
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 91

2014 Domaine des Côtes Blanches Sancerre Rosé
Review Date: 06-16-2015
Unbelievably fresh, bright, mineral driven, with subtle hints of that light Pinot Noir strawberry fruit coming through. This is the quintessential Sancerre summer rosé that is so refreshing with its quenching acidity and mouth-watering finish. And for this price you should stock up before it's gone...won't last long!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart

2012 Caymus "Special Selection" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-04-2015
This vintage of Caymus Special Select is just as special as ever. The 2012 is massive and mouth-coating. If you love the over-the-top style Caymus has become famous for, then this year's is going to make your eyes roll back and drool at first sip!
Price: $169.99 Add To Cart
RP 96 WS 94

2013 Haut Rian Blanc, Bordeaux
Review Date: 06-04-2015
Finally, A Bordeaux blanc that is superbly balanced and priced to drink! With 60% Semillion and 40% Sauvignon Blanc, this white has amazing texture and viscosity on the palate while remaining crisp, mineral-driven, and with high acidity all the way through. I'm obsessed! Will be drinking this till it's gone!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart

2012 Dominus "Napanook" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 06-04-2015
The 2012 Napanook is the second label from the 99-Robert-Parker-point 2012 Dominus and is just about the best value I've seen for this pedigree of fruit in years! This Napa Valley Bordeaux blend should constitute a wine that's triple in price! A bit more plush and forward than the usual restrained and more lean style of Napanook, but with all the structure and finesse that will keep this baby aging gracefully for decades to come. I love it now, but I will love, love, love it in 5 to 15 years!

2012 Roth Estate Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-02-2015
California Chardonnay fans watch out! This second label Chard from Lancaster is going to take over by storm! This screaming deal comes from vineyards with all estate fruit that is better quality than some of the biggest Cali Chard producers in the business. If you love Rombauer, Cakebread, or Ramey and don't want to be in the well over $30 range than try the Roth Chard for well under $20! You will find your new everyday wine!
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
W&S 90

2012 Olema Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-22-2015
Again and again, the Olema Cabernet never fails to be the best in its class! The 2012 is even more exceptional than usual because the fruit is matched by its pure elegance. More richness, but also more texturally pleasing, without too much oak, leaving it supple and food friendly with its integrated light tannins and juicy acidity. This is the perfect $20 Cab for anyone looking for a super versatile everyday red that can pair with almost any food, or just enjoy it on its own!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

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