The six wines in this sampler have featured prominently on the Lynch table this summer, successfully accompanying garden salads, grilled fish, ratatouille, lamb chops, and more...
I write to you as KLWM’s foreign correspondent, having spent most of the last several months visiting our longstanding domaines in France and Italy, tasting and blending, living out of a suitcase with an eye and nose out for exciting new wines. The job has taken me from the quaint banks of the Loire Valley to the rustic contrade of Sicily’s Mount Etna, and many places in between. But after each trip, it's been a true pleasure to return home, to Provence, to recharge my batteries and savor the delights that are unique to this part of southern France. Summer is the perfect time to revisit our selections from Provençal vignerons. As you might expect, nothing pairs better with the local rosés, whites, and reds than the scent of flowering broom, lavender, and pine needles wafting through the air, rays of sun beating down generously, and a fresh breeze on a shady terrace providing welcome refreshment. The six wines in this sampler have featured prominently on the Lynch table this summer, successfully accompanying garden salads, grilled fish, ratatouille, lamb chops, and more. The rosés from Gros ‘Noré and Hauvette are valiant contenders to the hotly disputed title of Rosé of the Year—with an extra year under its belt, the Hauvette is all the wiser. Among the whites, you’ll find a pleasant contrast between the lively charm of the Cassis and the deeper nuances offered by the Côtes de Provence. Hailing from the seaside and the mountains, respectively, both offer calcareous minerality and salinity in spades. As for the two Bandol reds, they could not be more different: the carnal chewiness of the Tour du Bon lies in stark opposition to the Terrebrune’s cool focus. Give them a slight chill for optimum summertime refreshment.
Perhaps there is no region more closely aligned with the history to Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant than Provence. Provence is where Richard Olney, an American ex-pat and friend of Alice Waters, lived, and introduced Kermit to the great producers of Provence, most importantly Domaine Tempier of Bandol. Kermit also spends upwards of half his year at his home in a small town just outside of Bandol.
Vitis vinifera first arrived in France via Provence, landing in the modern day port city of Marseille in the 6th century BC. The influence of terroir on Provençal wines goes well beyond soil types. The herbs from the pervasive scrubland, often referred to as garrigue, as well as the mistral—a cold, drying wind from the northwest that helps keep the vines free of disease—play a significant role in the final quality of the grapes. Two more elements—the seemingly ever-present sun and cooling saline breezes from the Mediterranean—lend their hand in creating a long growing season that result in grapes that are ripe but with good acidity.
Rosé is arguably the most well known type of wine from Provence, but the red wines, particularly from Bandol, possess a great depth of character and ability to age. The white wines of Cassis and Bandol offer complexity and ideal pairings for the sea-influenced cuisine. Mourvèdre reigns king for red grapes, and similar to the Languedoc and Rhône, Grenache, Cinsault, Marsanne, Clairette, Rolle, Ugni Blanc among many other grape varieties are planted.
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