Though we still have a long way to go, Los Angeles is continuing to up its wine game. Taking cues from the French, the culture is moving towards more casual wine drinking, with bars serving wines on tap and restaurants offering carefully selected affordable bottles. But now you can drink like the French at the newly opened Héritage Fine Wines in Beverly Hills, where owner Jordane Andrieu does everything he can to help customers enjoy the wines of his home country right here in SoCal.
“In Paris, we drink wine almost every day," says Andrieu, who in addition to manning the store also manages Clos du Moulin aux Moines vineyard in the Côte-d’Or department of France. "After work with friends, during dinners — wine is a natural companion to our lives.”
His store, located on the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Canon Drive, is high-end and kind of fancy, but it remains not inaccessible to the average wine drinker. Bottles range anywhere from $15 to $1900, and customers can taste from a selection of six wines that rotate weekly in addition to purchasing cheeses, breads and other specialty items flown in from France.
Almost three months old, the modern, stylish shop carries 200 labels, 70 percent of which are organic and/or biodynamic. With an emphasis on French labels and products, it joins several retailers that are turning upscale Beverly Hills into a wine-shopping destination. Already home to The Beverly Hills Wine Merchant, Robert Burns Wines and Vendome Wine & Spirits, the ritzy ‘hood also recently welcomed Wally’s Wine & Spirits in addition to Héritage (which has no relation to the now-closed Heritage Wine Shop in Pasadena).
Andrieu, who spent six years in Burgundy studying oenologie and learning from seasoned vintners, vowed never to leave his friends behind when he moved to the other side of the world to open a boutique wine shop, and his still-solid connection to France makes his store's selection unique. While in Burgundy, for example, he befriended winemakers Antoine and Juliette of Domaine Antoine Lienhardt and Domaine Joblot, labels that can be found in the shop. Domaine Tessier is another wine that Andrieu has a personal connection to — and Héritage is the only U.S. retailer where you can find it.
In addition to vino, Héritage offers Poilâne bread, shipped in regularly from Paris, as well as French cheeses from The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills. “Bread and wine are naturally and historically related,” says Andrieu, “The bread goes through same fermentation processes that converts wheat to bread, grapes into wine.”
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Tucked away in various corners of the store you’ll also find gourmet items such as tea from Mariage Frères, Peugeot salt and pepper mills, mustard from Dijon, sardines from Brittany, jam from Lyon, honey from Burgundy, and olive oil from Provence. Being surrounded by all of his all favorite things makes Andrieu nostalgic, but he is slowly finding comfort in new friends and memories made in Beverly Hills.
Heritage Fine Wines: 9400 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, 310-888-8042. Business hours: Monday-Saturday from 11am to 8pm; Sunday from 12pm to 5pm.