Adventures On the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France

A few years back, I was travelling for business and our darling children were voted to the island to stay with their grandmother. So my hubby was batching it for a few days. He treated himself to dinner and a movie at one of our local fancy theatres and that is where he discovered Kermit Lynch.  This was a regular date night spot for us, so for quite a while, we simply enjoyed the nice little cuvée from the guy with the funky name.

You must admit, the name is memorable.  So when the Amazon algorithm recommended Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France by Kermit Lynch, I tossed it on my Kindle.  I like wine, I love France, and there was that name again.

I really enjoyed this story. Starting with his first trip in the early 70s, Lynch traveled all throughout the wine regions of France, discovering the terroir, meeting the people, learning the history, and tasting the wine. Like me, his philosophy seems to be more about “I like what I like and I prefer my wine less messed-with” instead of drinking what the wine smarty-pants folks tell us we should like. It is a fun travelogue with colorful detail. I could almost see the smooth round stones that cover the hillside vineyards of Côte Rôtie.

I read the 1988 edition with Richard Olney’s forward where he notes that Lynch’s father was a preacher and Kermit himself likes to evangelize his vinicultural and viticultural beliefs.  I think this is an apt comparison. I appreciate someone with an informed perspective and it was fun to learn about things I didn’t even know I should form an opinion about.

Old World Wines feel a bit more approachable for me now.  They were once a pretty daunting topic that I avoided in favor of the nice knowable wineries down the street.  This is both a fun expansion of my wine palate and an exciting whole new area of dirt to explore. I like how wine and travel pair together so well and am now planning Wineaversary 2018 in France for the big 2-0.

After finishing the book, I checked out Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant on the web and found a few local distributors so I could further my investigations.  On Mother’s Day we went to the glassybaby hot shop in Madrona and strolled down the street to meet Mark at Madrona Wine Merchants.  He has a shop jammed full of interesting wines and stories. I walked out of there with a nice little Tintero Rosato. I like pink bubbles, so that was a fun find.

Closer to home, I visited Bothell’s own Rain City Wines. Santo of the glorious moustache proudly drinks rosé all year round and has a fun “Daily Drinkers” monthly wine club – 3 bottles for $13 apiece.  Old World research at a bargain!  His tasting notes are a bit like Thug Kitchen with less f-bombs.  Straightforward, fun and right on the money.  His strong opinions led to my interest in all things Bandol. I look forward to visiting his shop often in the future for both the wines and the witty banter.

Thank you Kermit Lynch for opening up the wines of France and Italy for me.  I look forward to forming my own opinions about them.