Kermit Lynch is not a name you forget—so it’s good that the man lives up to his moniker. Mr. Lynch imports wine, which sounds like something that’s easy. But it’s only easy for those who do it badly. For those, like dear Mr. Lynch, who do it well it involves trips, over decades, to dank caves and cellars (mostly in France) to taste wine directly from the barrel, and deciding if they’re going to be good over the course of their bottled life. Like many of the most important things, it’s a talent that can’t be taught.
Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant is an establishment of good repute in Berkeley. Lynch leaves nothing to chance—he imports his wine in climate-controlled containers, and insists that stores around the country receive them in the same. No heat casualties, no excuses.
And what of his taste? He values wines that reflect their terroir—the land where they were grown, wine that’s not overpowering, often unfiltered. Who’s afraid of a good Beaujolais or a little sediment? Fruit should be welcomed. You can hear it from the man himself in his book, Adventures on the Wine Route, which now qualifies as a minor masterpiece.
Better yet, enjoy some bottles—New Yorkers ought to make a pilgrimage to Thirst Wine Merchant in Fort Greene for a terrific selection. It’s all a reminder, if one was needed, that wine is here to give pleasure. And that wine, like tailoring, should be done in a direct, traditional way, by those who know what’s what.***