Wine Book Club: Adventures on the Wine Route

By Kori ~ March 24th, 2009.

Wine Book ClubThank you for joining us for the March “virtual meeting” of the Wine Book Club. Many thanks to Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 who originally proposed the idea for the WBC where bloggers and wine lovers all over the world come together for book reviews and discussions after reading a selected text. When Dr. Debs announced Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer’s Tour of France by Kermit Lynch as this month’s Wine Book Club selection, I had to rummage through our storage room to find my dog-eared copy. Kermit Lynch, a Berkeley, California wine shop owner and wine importer wrote this book over 20 years ago as his reminiscences of a wine buyer’s tour of France. I first read the book before we took a trip to Bordeaux in 2003. I loved it then and would still recommend it today, even though it is a little dated.

Today the Kermit Lynch catalog is the stuff of legends, and the Kermit Lynch Importer imprint on a bottle commands quite a premium, but that was not the case when this book was written. Today, of course, you can add author and winemaker to his credits. In the 1980’s when he wrote this book, Lynch was a self-described “recently defected hippie.”

As I refreshed my memory on this book, several things stood out in my mind:

  1. Kermit Lynch was the first importer to routinely use “reefers,” or refrigerated containers, to ship wines across the ocean. How wine had survived those month-long voyages over the years without “reefers” is truly amazing.
  2. Kermit Lynch is a big proponent of unfiltered wines.
  3. Kermit Lynch is a critic of blind tastings except with food. As our regular readers know, we at Wine Peeps are big proponents of blind tasting for reasons we have discussed at length, and the majority of our tastings are with food, either at our monthly wine tasting dinners or our smaller private tastings during the week.

My favorite quote from the book which garnered a dog-eared page and five stars:

“One cannot do justice to a great bottle alone. Someone with whom to ooh and aah is indispensable, someone with whom to share the intellectual and aesthetic stimulation that a great bottle inspires.”

"Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France" by Kermit LynchAdventures on the Wine Route is arranged by region as Lynch and his party traveled from Loire to Bordeaux  to the south of France and then up through Southern and Northern Rhone, then to Burgundy and finally to Chablis. While the chateau, winemaker, and wine stories were great, I especially enjoyed the description of the regions, the sights, the lodgings, and the restaurants along the way.

Lynch is witty, opinionated, and extremely bright. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I believe you will, too, especially if you ever plan to visit the wine regions of France. So grab a copy and start planning your trip.

Have you already read Adventures on the Wine Route? If so, please leave a comment and let us know what you thought of it.

For those of you who would like to read along with us in the Wine Book Club, the next two selections are:
April: The Science of Wine: From Vine to Glass by Jamie Goode
May: Passion on the Vine: A Memoir of Food, Wine, and Family in the Heart of Italy by Sergio Esposito


Filed under: French Wine, Wine Book Club, Wine Books

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