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When the film industry drives you to drink, open a wine shop: Domaine L.A.

Jill Bernheimer in her wine shop, Domaine LA.
(Jill Bernheimer)

Jill Bernheimer is the proprietor of the sweet little wine shop Domaine LA. After working many years in the film business for producers and then as an independent producer, she says laughingly, the film business drove her to drink.

“Wine was always something I was passionate about, and in 2007 I started my shop as a website,” she said, “and then in September 2009 I opened up the brick-and-mortar on the edge of Hollywood and Hancock Park.”

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The shop is known for its eclectic selection of wines, and she likes to say taht “the wines that we carry are honest wines made by people, not by corporations.”

What’s your favorite wine region to visit?

Since opening the store I’ve been really tied to that physical location, but the place I want to go next is the Loire Valley. I was there a long time ago as a young adult and didn’t know that much about wine at the time. Now Loire Valley wines are among my favorites to drink. I’ll probably stay near Touraine and visit with Puzelat and Clos Roche Blanche. Other than that, I’m not sure where else I’ll visit.

What’s the sleeper on your list?

I’m just bringing in this week a non négociant Gevrey-Chambertin from Domaine Frederic Esmonin that will retail for under $30. An amazing price for a wine that’s really balanced, with good fruit and neutral oak. It’s really a great way for people who tend to drink California Pinot Noir to experiment with Burgundy. To be able to offer a village wine from the Côte de Nuits for that price is pretty exciting.

If you could encourage every customer to buy just one bottle, what would it be?

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It would be the 2011 Arnot Roberts Santa Cruz Mountain Chardonnay. I’m not personally a Chardonnay drinker and even more so, not a California Chard drinker, but this is a bottle that surprised me. It has great acidity, great minerality and lean tangy citrusy fruit. Take a sip and it just keeps going. It’s a wine that I keep wanting to reopen, which is rare for me.

What’s the last wine that really blew you away?

At the recent Louis Dressner Selections trade tasting, the wine that really surprised me was a Carignan from Chile made by Louis-Antoine Luyt. I do not stock any Southern Hemisphere wines, and this Carignan was so complex and food friendly, just a real pleasure. I ended up wondering where can I fit this in my store.

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Who else has a great list?

I love what Maxwell Leer is doing at Bestia. He’s so focused on what goes with the food. I also love what Kris Yenbamroong is doing at Night+Market. He’s a chef who buys all the wines for his restaurant and treats his list almost as a wine bar list. Everything is very affordable.

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Twitter.com/sirenevirbila


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