The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2017

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122  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2017 Like many others, David Milligan faced a major life change in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Unlike most affected, though, the change was actually for the bet- ter, as it forced him to make the decision to leave finance and seek out something new. "There hasn't been a day since that I haven't enjoyed going to work," he shares. Growing up in the San Fernando Valley, Milligan tried his hand (and found some success) as an actor and singer in his early years before starting a career in the financial sector. It wasn't until he joined Vendome Wine & Spirits in 2009, though, that he felt like he really found his niche. Milligan will take the Society of Wine Educators Certified Specialist of Wine exam later this year, and will sit for the Court of Master Sommeliers Certified next year. The Vendome Toluca Lake location, one of three in Los Angeles, includes a 28-seat tasting bar in the corner of a large retail space. They hold wine tastings six days a week, or seven on the last week of the month when Milligan hosts a Vinyl and Wine Night where patrons are encouraged to bring along their own records to play on the last Monday. "I don't know if it's the records or the wine that brings them in," he says with a smile. Vendome also holds beer tastings every weekend and has a wine list that includes a white flight, a red flight and a reserve flight daily; they typically have 20–25 wines open for tasting at any given time. With its retail offerings, laid-back atmosphere and knowledgeable staff, Vendome Toluca Lake is a treat to visit if you find yourself in the area. Repeat customers, because you know they come back because of the service and because they are happy. I also like the new customer who recognizes when you knock it out of the park in choosing something to please their palate. When you see the lights go on for someone; when you witness that "aha" moment. Being able to change someone's mind about a particular grape variety. Reusing and repurposing wine crates for my feline furniture; it lessens the impact on the planet, and it's fun. (Check out The Retro Kats at www. theretrokats. com. –Ed.) When a guest asks for a recommenda- tion but then chooses something completely opposite. When a guest wants a wine that costs $150 but only wants to spend $15. When guests associate screwcaps with poor quality—that's just not the case anymore. When guests have no understanding of how they smell, especially too much perfume or cologne. THE "5" LIST DAVID MILLIGAN'S TOP FIVE FAVES DAVID MILLIGAN'S TOP FIVE PET PEEVES TAKING INVENTORY WITH . . . Why ask the stranger next to you for a recommendation rather than the person who buys the wine—I'll even let you taste it! DAVID MILLIGAN WINE BUYER/DIRECTOR OF SPECIAL EVENTS, VENDOME WINE & SPIRITS, LOS ANGELES by Allyson Gorsuch / photo by Dustin Downing David Milligan, Wine Buyer & Manager of Special Events, hosts a popular Vinyl and Wine Night every month at Vendome Wine & Spirits in Los Angeles.

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