I wish I had a better sense of Kermit Lynch. Some intimate knowledge that I could share with you of one of the most revolutionary wine importers—something that would make you run out and buy his book. The same book I am only 20 pages into, but completely captivated by. One of the most real books about wine ever written.
Over 20 years has past since Adventures on the Wine Route, A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France was first published—and while I had every intention of pulling it from my shelf for the last 10 months, my biggest hesitation was in regard to its relevancy to the wine industry today. In an industry that seems to be in a constant state of flux, either Kermit was remarkably ahead of his time, or far less change has really occurred. I’d put my money on the former.
Kermit on blind wine tasting:
Such tasting conditions have nothing to do with the conditions under which the wines will presumable be drunk, which is at table, with food. When a woman chooses a hat, she does not put it on a goat’s head to judge it; she puts in on her own. There is a vast difference, and insurmountable difference, between the taste of a wine next to another wine, and the same wine’s taste with food.
Test it yourself. Take two impeccable wines… Comparing them side by side, you will find one a winner, the other a loser. Served intelligently at the table, neither loses, your pleasure crescendos, and you, finally, are the winner.
I began to notice that most of the blind-tasting champions in my own cellar remained untouched, because I had no desire to drink them. Just as they had overwhelmed the other wines to win a blind tasting, they overwhelm practically any cuisine. Drink with Stilton? lamb fat? enchiladas?
Those big rock-’em-sock-’em blockbusters perform one function admirable—they win tastings.
The same notion was echoed less than a year ago in a WSJ Weekend Journal article, A Hint of hype, A Taste of Illusion—one of the most aggressive mainstream pieces targeting the wine rating system I’d seen in a while.
Kermit’s $12 Côtes Du Rhône was a staple in the Burden house for months. Then it lapsed for no apparent reason, while I went crazy on bargains from Calatayud, Spain. I think the ’07 may be better than the ’06—although it does require an hour to open up.
Plum and blackberry, nutmeg and cyprus wood—a beautifully and fairly complex nose. Incredible floral components of dried roses and autumn marigolds.
Overlapping descriptors on the palate with an emphasis on a cool graphite. There is a direct tip of tongue to tip of pencil likeness. Spicy and age-able. Easy to forget this is a borderline bargain wine. Classic—satisfies old-world value seekers. Nice heft on the midpalate and I expect the finish with soften and lengthen with age. I will keep you updated—which means I will be buying this wine again!