Holiday 2022 Q&A
CLIFF KORN | NOVEMBER 23, 2022
Q: What would you bring to a holiday party when you want to impress?
A: Chateau Yquem. Without question.
Q: What are you serving at your table for the holidays?
A: My wife is pregnant so I can’t go too crazy, but most likely a bottle of Champagne, a nice White Burg, and a Sine Qua Non Syrah for the main course!
Q: Is there a wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion, or something special on your holiday wish list?
A: Well, in preparation for my 50th birthday, I bought a magnum of 1970 Unico. Then Covid happened, and my 50th was spent at home on a Zoom with friends, so that mag is still waiting for the right moment to open. Easily my favorite 1970 (non-port). I had one other mag about 20 years ago and I am hoping this one is as good. 😊
Q: What was the first Cali bottle you tasted that made up your mind to go into wine?
A: That’s easy. 1994 Sine Qua Non Syrah, Queen of Spades. I have probably had about 6 in my life and each one was more amazing than the previous one!
Q: Do you have any favorite under the radar California producers?
A: I love Alban. His wines are always among the best in the US, if not the world, and a surprisingly large number of wine folks are not familiar! Keeps the prices down for those in the know, at least!
Q: What’s the next big thing out of California?
A: I am a particularly big fan of Paul Lato. His Chards and Pinots are at the top of any list, but they turn up so infrequently that I think once more people have a chance to try his wines, he will ascend to Rockstar Status. 😊
Q: You’ve met some pretty incredible people along your 25 year journey with Acker. What was one of your favorite experiences since you’ve started?
A: The best, by far, was meeting Sparky Marquis for the first time. I knew I was supposed to be meeting him and tasting through the whole lineup including the fabled “Red Box Special” as we used to call Integrity. Some guy walked into the shop wearing what appeared to be a Burger King-type crown and started looking around. I thought he might be a local who just wandered in. So I went over to see what he was up to, and lo and behold, it was Sparky! He greeted me with a hearty, “How you goin’, mate? Sparky Marquis here. And I was given this crown because I was “King of the McLaren Vale” for my most recent Shirvington!” Well, that answered that! We proceeded to taste through EVERYTHING and the wines were wonderful. Everything I had hoped for and more. We got to the Integrity (a 99 point wine in Parker) and I asked him what the optimal age was for drinking it. I will never forget his answer. “Today! Any winemaker that says the wine needs 10 years in the bottle before you can drink it is just giving himself a 10 year head start on getting away from you! Bad wine never turns good”
Q: If you could host an event with anyone in the world – who would you invite, and what would you drink?
A: I’d pull the old Acker poker game back together. JK, our CTO Ron, “The King of the Business” and a few others. We’d drink Burgundy and Champagne, and then I would pay a few months of my mortgage. 😊
Q: What is the most surprising food and wine pairing you’ve ever experienced?
A: Not surprising, but right up my alley - hamburger and a Williams Selyem Zinfandel that was made by Helen Turley.
Q: What Champagne are you opening for New Year’s Eve?
A: Krug. Always.
Q: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
A: I am secret fan of Riesling. Don’t tell Justin.
For over 25 years, Cliff has worked in all parts of the wine business in both New York and California. Beginning in 2007, and now our Managing Director of Sales, Cliff is committed to finding just the right wine for every collector, business, or event – and he’s really good at it. While California wines were what first drew him to the business, (he entered the industry just as the 1994 Napa Cabernets were released), Cliff has had countless experiences with the best wines ever made, forming friendships along the way with top collectors and winemakers around the world. Never one to miss a beat, Cliff pays special attention to both the legendary wines of the world, as well as being on the constant lookout for new and rising stars. His approach to wine has always been rooted in fun and friends, and he combines decades of knowledge with a commitment to accessibility and enjoyment.