Star Wine Director Thomas Perez Leaves Mirabel Group for Own Wine Projects
November 1, 2011
They simply do not make many wine whisperers like Thomas Perez.
And now, Perez is making moves to make more of his own wines.
That means he is absconding the throne as wine director for David Fink’s L’Auberge-Cantinetta Luca dynasty not long after Aubergine (624-8578) cracked Zagat’s list of top five “Bay Area” restaurants, including San Francisco and Napa, a historic first locally.
We at the Weekly were onto his excellence ahead of that schedule, awarding him an Editors' Pick in this spring's Best of Monterey County issue for "Best Snob-Free Wine Pedigree."
"Somewhere along the way, all the aromas and tannins got tangled up with ego, expensive taste and pissing matches over who knows more," we wrote. "Fortunately we have fellows like winemaker Thomas (TOE-mas) Perez, who directs wine for Mirabel Group and its mighty lists at L’Auberge and Cantinetta Luca. With Perez there’s no ego, only an oenology degree from the University of Rioja in Spain and a profound understanding of the connection between how the wine is made and how it acts in the glass – knowledge dug out in the dirt during harvests at spots like Domaine de La Romanee Conti, the best Pinot Noir producer in the world. It was there that he drank out of giant magnum bottles without labels – they used chalk to distinguish the year and vineyard – with fellow farmers. No one at that table was snobby over there, so he’s not here."
Perez is already bubbly at the prospect of more time to make wine under the Kristi Lynn label—with Californian and Oregonian Pinot, Spanish Temperanillo, among other varietals, thanks to a lifetime of study and friendships with old professors and new partners alike.
“It’s an exciting time,” he says.
Here's more from Perez about the move, excerpted from an email:
"In the summer of 2004 I came back from Spain to open L'Auberge Carmel, and soon became the beverage director for Mirabel Group. Little did I know I would be there for seven years. It was a great learning experience.
"In 2006 I began making wine under my own label, Kristi-Lynn. I always knew that one day I would be making wine full time. That time is now, and Kristi Lynn Wine Group will be expanding. This year I will be making wine in California and Oregon. Next year I will be adding Spain to the list. Rioja is one of my favorite wine regions in the world, I know the region well and I am familiar with the area since I lived there while going to school. The wine will come from Laguardia which is Rioja alavesa. I plan to stay [based] in Monterey County, as I take on this new venture."
I know I will not be alone in celebrating the fact that he’ll still be based locally, where I will be prepared to pounce on just about whatever wines he comes up with, particularly the Pinot Blanc-Pinot Gris-Riesling blend he’s talking about.
Learn more about Kristi Lynn Wine Group here.