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Kermit Lynch, Wine Merchant

by David on November 21, 2006

As kind of a coda to my last posting, “Alternatives to Wine Ratings” in which I suggested you find a retailer you trust, I have to give a plug to one of my very favorite wine merchants, and he’s one I’ve actually never met.

Kermit Lynch has to be the best wine writer on the planet. Every month when his newsletter arrives, he makes me want to buy out his entire inventory. He even has me lusting after wines of a type I don’t generally care for because he describes them so vividly, and with genuine affection. And that helps me to become that more adventurous, independent consumer that I’m always talking about.

It takes more than great writing to create a loyal customer. Over the years, I’ve found that his descriptions, which are not accompanied by numerical ratings, are pretty darned close to what I experience once I pop the cork. He’s not sitting at his desk in Berkeley, ordering out of a catalogue. He and his staff hand-select the wines and buy them directly from the producers, so the quality of the wines is reliable. It was interesting that when Colleen, our proprietor, and I were in Provence and Chateauneuf-du-Pape last month (see post titled “Culinary Getaways a la Provencal ” the name Kermit Lynch was well known, and in one case, a producer asked if I knew how to get his attention. Who, me???

And there’s the bummer. Provence is his springboard for buying wines from all over France, with an occasional sprinkling of Italian wines. I prefer to buy local most of the time, but I can’t resist placing an occasional order with Kermit Lynch. I rationalize by reminding myself that tasting wines from outside my own back yard is important to my work.

Anyway, if for no other reason than a great read, you should subscribe to his newsletter. I tell ya, if I won the lottery, he’d have to buy another truck just to keep up with my deliveries!

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