A sprightly tour of the vineyards of France, conducted by one of America's most respected wine authorities, who here expounds his philosophy in language mercifully free of the usual jargon. The itinerary for the tour swings from the Loire, through Bordeaux, Languedoc, Provence, the Rhone valley, Beaujolais, Maconnais-Chalonnais, the Cote d'Or, and Chablis. Along the route, Lynch visits grands chateaux and peasant cellars, three-star restaurants and simple brasseries. But no matter what the setting, he proves himself an admirable host/guide, witty, knowledgeable, sometimes irreverent, always informative. In discussing the various wines, Lynch's analogies are frequently erudite, as when he compares St. Joseph Rough, Hermitage, and Comas, three Syrah wines, to Zerlina, Donna Elvira, and Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni. Now that's style. The author further enlivens his narrative with sharply defined portraits of the vintners, negociants, restaurateurs, and fellow enthusiasts he encounters along the way. His descriptions of the towns and villages of France are also evocative, and will inspire many readers to set off on their own to discover some of these locales. A valuable guide, then, not only to what Lynch describes as ""a gift of nature that tastes of man's foibles, his sense of the beautiful, his idealism and virtuosity,"" but also to the winegrowing regions of la belle France. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs, map.