- The Underground Wine Letter - http://www.undergroundwineletter.com -


Kermit Lynch has been importing and selling fine wines since the 1970s. I have been a customer since the very early days. Over the years, he has represented some of the finest domaines in France. These include names like J.F. Coche-Dury and  Francois Raveneau in Burgundy, Vieux Telegraphe in the Rhone valley, and Domaine Tempier in Bandol, to name just a few. Over this time he has built a reputation for bringing in some of the best wines from France and Italy that few, if any, can match. He has always sought out wines that are balanced and honest to their origin in terms of style. He has concentrated on small producers and avoided the large commercial wines such as the top classified growths of Bordeaux. He has also avoided wines that are overly manipulated. In today’s world, with lots of people looking to extract and add whatever they can to make the biggest wine, this is indeed refreshing. But, Kermit has never worshiped at the altar of the 100 point gods. He has built his business and reputation on his taste and principles and does not seek acclaim from critics. His first concern is his customers. He wants to assure that his business continues to supply the type of wines that his customers have come to know and love.

So it is in this spirit that he is exploring new opportunities. Today, in France, Bordeaux and the Rhone valley are the two areas seemingly most infected with the “bigger is better” syndrome. And, as I mentioned, Kermit has never done much in Bordeaux except for a small producer now and again. But, he has represented many very fine wines from the Rhone valley over the years such as Vieux Telegraphe that I mentioned earlier. But today there are no doubt fewer wines being made there that represent his taste and the taste of his customers. So what is one to do? You guessed it. Get in the Blending Game. But, not, like I have been advocating recently, for consumers to blend bottled wines that do not fit their taste. Rather, this blending game is for Kermit, as a merchant, to go to negociants, producers, and growers and seek out wines and grapes that can be used to blend a wine that is more suited to his taste and the taste of his customers. Bravo! His new 2009 “Blended by Kermit Lynch” Red Rhone selections are terrific. They are balanced wines in a range of 12.5-13.5% alcohol that are not overly extracted or syrupy. They are, in fact, what Rhone wines used to be before being smitten by commercialism and the aforementioned “bigger is better” syndrome.

Below are my notes on some new arrivals. The wines are simply delicious.

2009 Louis Barroul, Blended By Kermit Lynch, Crozes-Hermitage Tiercerolles
This is an outstanding wine and a great value. The color is dark and there is a gorgeous perfume of berries, plums, and spice with just a hint of smoke. It is flavorful, rounded, and lush, but with structure and backbone. The fruit flavors are of berries and plums and there is a faint spice and smoke complexity. This is a wine that can be enjoyed now or well into the future — Outstanding.  $31.50 3-yellow-stars

2009 Louis Barroul, Blended By Kermit Lynch, Hermitage Les Pierelles
This is a great wine of class and breed. It is dark in color and has an intense perfume of berries and plums with a floral, spice nuance. There is structure and depth with lots of flavor, yet the wine is totally harmonious with layers of flavor. Berries, plums, spice and a faint hint of smoke are intertwined with a floral nuance. The wine is seamless and balanced with great length on the palate. Time will only add to the charms that are already so much in evidence – Extraordinary.  $68.40   4-yellow-stars


2009 Louis Barroul, Blended By Kermit Lynch, Côte Rôtie Les Roses
This is a lovely, elegant wine. The color is dark and there is a lovely floral, berry perfume with just a faint hint of smoke. On the palate, it is rounded and elegant with lovely spice tinged fruit and a very nice finish – Outstanding.   $64.80  3-yellow-stars

cote rotie les roses

2009 Louis Barroul, Blended by Kermit Lynch, Côte Rôtie La Dorée
Complex and gorgeous, this is a terrific Côte Rôtie. It is dark in color and has a great perfume of plums and berries with a faint smokiness and hints of roasted almonds.  Structured, but balanced and harmonious with great flavors and impressive fruit and depth, this is a wine that seems sure to be even better with a bit more time  – Extrordinary.   $64.80 4-yellow-stars

2009 Louis Barroul, Blended by Kermit Lynch, Côte Rôtie La Boissele
Here is yet another really gorgeous Côte Rôtie. It is dark in color and has a stunning perfume with floral, exotic nuances. Deep and rich, but very supple and pure, there are lots of layered fruit flavors with just a tinge of spice and smoke, and the wine has an impressive finish. This is really delicious – Outstanding. Plus  $64.80  3-n-half-yellow-stars

2009 Côte Rôtie La Boissele

These are wines to buy. And, in the future, we hopefully will see more wines like these that will be offered as “Blended by Kermit Lynch” selections. And, who knows? Maybe others will join Kermit in the Blending Game. I say the more the merrier. Let the games begin.

In Vino Veritas,Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard

John Tilson