The Rhône River originates in Switzerland, channeling meltwater from glaciers high in the Alps. More than 500 miles downstream, it reaches the Mediterranean, releasing an average of 60,000 cubic feet of freshwater into the sea every second. While vineyards thrive along the Rhône in the Swiss Valais, as well as the Savoie town of Seyssel, the “Rhône wines” we are concerned with today are born along a north-south span of the river roughly situated between the cities of Lyon and Avignon. The stretch can be divided into two distinct regions: the northern Rhône, where the Syrah grape is king, and the southern Rhône, where Grenache reigns. The river itself plays a role in defining these terroirs, moderating temperatures and reflecting sunlight. Crucially, the Rhône has carved out a valley and transported sediment over millions of years, giving rise to the very landscapes that are now home to many of France’s great vineyard sites. More than anything, the Rhône is the common thread that connects the twenty-five or so appellations in the river’s vicinity. Flowing southward, you’ll encounter a plethora of soils, different climates, and even distinct accents and cultural norms in the local people along the way. You’ll witness landscapes ranging from steep, terraced riverbanks to soft, gentle slopes. You will most certainly feel the violent mistral whipping past as it barrels down the valley. And the wines you’ll drink could be made from more than twenty possible permitted grape varieties, either blended or standing alone. It is no wonder, then, that Rhône wines can be red, white, or pink; dry or sweet; still or sparkling. They can provide basic satisfaction on an ordinary weeknight, or they can rank among the most memorable bottles you will ever taste. With this guide to the appellations of the Rhône Valley, you can work your way through the region’s diverse offerings one bottle at a time. The best way to learn about Rhône wines, of course, is with a corkscrew in hand.
Last holiday season, I finally took the leap and taught myself how to shuck oysters. To celebrate this feat, I walked over to the second-to-last rack in our shop and bought a bottle of the most ambitious and transcendent Muscadet we import: Domaine Brégeon’s Gorges, from rare, blue-green volcanic soil known as gabbro in the western Loire valley.
’Tis the season for sugar plums and festive confections! Gingerbread cookies, yule logs, pumpkin pies... Sauternes, Banyuls, Muscat—whether you prefer your treats baked or fermented, no holiday feast is complete without the final flourish of dessert.
There are hundreds of wines in our portfolio, but not nearly enough space in our monthly newsletters to feature them all. Here you’ll find recent arrivals and new additions to our site, from half-bottles to Jeroboams, across France and Italy.
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.
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