If you yearn to escape to France soon, I recommend reading the New Yorker writer Bill Buford’s new book, Dirt: Adventures in Lyon as a Chef in Training, Father, and Sleuth Looking for the Secret of French Cooking. I was listening to an early passage last week about ratatouille, which, according to one of Buford’s instructors, is the “taste of a French summer, because it is made with ingredients that every French household grows in its garden plot.” Buford learns that “the most important lesson [is] that each ingredient should be cooked separately.” So what does this have to do with wine? “The cook-it-separate approach,” Buford writes, “was my first genuinely French cooking lesson. Vignerons, bottling a wine made of different grape varieties, do something similar and either toss everything in a vat together and ferment the lot, or vinify each one separately and blend at the end.” Unlike the apparent orthodoxy of chef-made ratatouille, however, vinifying varieties separately isn’t regarded as better or more correct. There are advantages to blending before vinifying: some vignerons believe that blending before fermentation allows the grapes to marry better throughout vinification and the aging process. On the other hand, there are advantages to vinifying the grapes separately and then blending: the vigneron can wait to judge how the varieties have fermented and aged on their own before deciding how much of each they want to mix into the final blend. There are more reasons on each side, but they would take up much more space! What many of the blended wines below, like Tempier’s Bandol Rouge or Fontsainte’s Gris de Gris rosé or Château Ducasse’s Bordeaux Blanc, really have in common with ratatouille is that they also epitomize the taste of French summer. While we can’t travel to France to experience summer there this year, the next best thing is to savor it through these bottles and a roast Provençal chicken, bouillabaisse, or ratatouille!
While our retail shop in Berkeley is not yet open for browsing, all of our staff continues to taste and recommend new bottlings as well as ones that have continued to evolve beautifully on our racks or in the back of the store. Here you will find our staff’s current favorites!
Here at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant we don’t believe in selling anything mediocre, and we would certainly not put our name on a wine we didn’t believe in. So our values are just that, wines that are full of value and quality.
Shaped like a crescent hugging the Mediterranean coast, the region boasts an enormous variety of soil types and microclimates depending on elevation, exposition, and relative distance from the coastline and the cooler foothills farther inland. While the warm Mediterranean climate is conducive to the production of reds, there are world-class whites and rosés
Tasting Grenache, Garnatxa, Grannacia, Cannonau, or whatever you choose to call it across many regions, it quickly becomes apparent that this grape is a chameleon whose identity changes in accordance with the local conditions.
You won’t find many producers who have had such success in their traditional wines over decades and who experiment with new wines. This collection features three examples of the old and three of the new.
Catherine and Pierre Breton are two of the hardest working people we know in the wine business. This explains why their wines, despite the fact that they are totally natural and unadulterated, are so incredibly consistent; consistently delicious.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa