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A Wine Buyer's Tour of France: 25th Anniversary Edition

by Kermit Lynch

Pub Date: Nov. 12th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-374-10097-1
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Wine entrepreneur Lynch (Inspiring Thirst: Vintage Selections from the Kermit Lynch Wine Brochure, 2004) updates his 1988 original, winner of the Veuve Clicquot Wine Book of the Year Award. 

Toward the end of the author’s revisitation of winy haunts, he ventures a telling note on the difference between his native California and his adopted France: In California, there is a movement afoot to emblazon wine bottles with an image of “a pregnant woman and a giant wineglass with a slash through it.” Lynch recalls his pregnant wife’s French doctor offering the Gallic prescription: “Of course you do not want to drink five liters a day, but a glass of wine with lunch and dinner will be good for you.” Getting to that point requires traveling down some bumpy roads to wonderful vineyards deftly described, with all the notes on terroir that one might wish and then more. For who could not resist a glass of something that comes from “a parcel of vines that is shaped like a salted cod’s tail,” could prefer stainless steel to the oak barrels of yore, would not wish to head to Languedoc in fall, where, as vines “give their last gasp in November, a rush of jubilant color bursts into the dying leaves”? Loire, Bordeaux, Rhône, Provence: Where is the best wine in France made? There are arguments throughout for each, just as there are for the necessity for a winemaker (and many are interviewed here) to strike a fine balance between knowing how much to do and how much not to do—though Lynch repudiates the natural-wine orthodoxy that demands that the less a winemaker does, the better. A bonus is the book’s closing list of Lynch’s favorite wines, though, perhaps shocking to his hosts, not all of them are French.

A gentle education in the fine art of wine and a treat through and through for the bibulous biblio/Francophile.