Eric Lawrence Brown has 10 years of wine experience, with five years as Sales Manager at renowned Los Angeles retailer, Wally’s Wine & Spirits. Since relocating from the East Coast eight years ago, this formerly devout Europhile was converted into an avowed proponent of the region as one of the world’s finest – thanks to frequent tasting expeditions to California’s Central Coast, not to mention proselytizing by local wine gurus. Eric holds certifications from the Court of Master Sommeliers, as well as the Society of Wine Educators.
Q: How would you describe your wine personality?
ELB: I enjoy wines of balance and character. Anything can be balanced—I mean, a bowling ball is balanced — but it is really the unique personality and local character that sets a wine apart. I find many little local wineries in the Central Coast that actually remind me of small European wineries, producing almost country-styled wines. These are some of my favorite wines to introduce to the rest of country.
Q: What are your favorite foods?
ELB: Pizza. Beyond that, I love simple roast chicken, in the style of Sunday supper.
Q: What are your favorite wines to drink?
ELB: Champagne. After that, it really depends. I love Burgundy, but it can quickly become a very expensive habit. Santa Maria Valley offers tremendous value to the Pinot-phile, and Santa Ynez’ Ballard Canyon to the Syrah-phile.
Q: What’s the most epic wine you’ve ever tasted?
ELB: 1986 Château Mouton – it is a massive, profound wine. You can’t not be blown away by this wine.
Q: What’s your favorite wine region to travel to?
ELB: Paso Robles. The rolling hills and weird forests remind me of the Lord of the Rings. There are ancient looking tress with thick canopies and then you pop out into clear, bald rolling hills. It is really striking topography.
Q: Why did you get into wine?
ELB: I thought it would get me chicks! I was always into food, ever since I was younger, though my family wasn’t. I would be the one to get excited about going out for something as simple as Chinese or pizza. I started working in a cheese shop in Massachusetts but I got tired of coming home smelling like cheese, so I then went to work at a boutique wine shop.
Q: Why did you join Lot18?
ELB: I am excited to introduce the country to the wines of Santa Barbara and Paso Robles. Most people think of Napa and Sonoma when they think of California wine, but there really are other great regions here that rarely have the opportunity to put themselves out there. So I enjoy helping the wineries expand their reach.
Q: If you had one piece of advice for buying wine, what would it be?
ELB: Make an effort to try things you’ve never heard of before. There’s a reason someone put that on the shelf, and it’s probably because someone loved it.
Q: What’s a fun fact about you?
ELB: I was a musician in LA and was in a few bands. One rock and roll band had a record. I studied Pure Mathematics at Dartmouth College and music at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, aka, the MIT of pop.