It's been almost fifteen years since Coley Den Haan's landlord showed up with three moving vans at her successful downtown LA wine bar, The Must, took everything not nailed to the floor, and changed the locks. After she got over the devastation- it took a while-Coly moved into retail, a lucky development for us.
Now she has two Vinovores, shops that sell only women-made wines. The wines lean towards natural biodynamic wines ("Think of it as minimal intervention," she says).
Coly herself is a Certified Sommelier. She was a bartender when she was offered the sommelier course, so it was a bit of a fluke, but of course she fell in love with wine. It didn't take long after that before she found herself wanting to educate on the snootier aspects of wine-tasting. Like all those notes and flavors apple pie, lemon drops, mist on the water does anyone really taste them? Or are they just made up?
They're real. Though you have to train yourself and your palate to make them out.
Start with what you know, Coly says. "Think about what you're tasting on that first sip. Is it floral? Is it chocolate? And, if so, what kind of chocolate? Milk? Dark? Cocoa? If it's apricots, what kind? Fresh? Dried? Overripe? That's the way you start to refine."
In case we still don't get it -it does take experience, after all-Coly came up with this wine chart. It's taken off like wildfire at Vinovore and became indispensable to the shop.
"People come in and say, 'I'm a Pink Pony, but my boyfriend's a T-Rex,' and then I know exactly what to give them," she says.
If you go to one of the Vinovore stores in Eagle Rock or Silverlake, you'll find not only unicorn wine stands, tarot card decks, handmade charcuterie boards and artisanal honey, but every bottle in the store is color-coded to match the chart. You'll also find Coly's colorful descriptions of wines, and the line she made in collaboration with the women winemakers she loves. She even has a section on novels with pairings White Teeth by Zadie Smith, The Truth Will Set You Free, But First It Will Piss You Off by Gloria Steinem, The Flame Throwers by our own Rachel Kushner-and stocks sake and beer as well. Should you wish to go even deeper, there's Coly's podcast, Winesplaining, and a Wolfpack Wine Subscription club.
So here, without further ado, is Coly's Local Wildlife.
Find out which animal you are, and then you'll know the kind of wine to drink at Vinovore or anywhere else.
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