Today I sold a Kermit Lynch white burgundy to a customer and pointedly told her, "Whenever you see 'Kermit Lynch' on a wine's back label, you know it's going to be good." I've repeated that statement so often over the years I don't even think about it. Until today. That's why we're posting now.
So who is Kermit Lynch? I actually never thought about it. For all I knew it was two guys, Kermit and Lynch. Or maybe it was a made up name. Pleasantly, it turns out Kermit Lynch is a real person with a great personal story which is available at foodandwine.com/wine/kermit-lynch-interview. It's well worth a look-see.
Lynch got his intro to wine via foods. The right way. He had been raised in a spartan white bread and tee-totalling home like many of us and going off to college meant for him an introduction to the world of fine foods...and wines. Friendships with restaurateurs and food writers created opportunities for trips to Europe and meetings with winemakers there. In 1972 with a five thousand dollar loan Lynch bought his first thirty-five cases of wine for re-sale.
Today KLWM does five to ten million dollars annually. Lynch has written three books and recorded five roots music CDs and been awarded twice each by the French government and the James Beard Foundation. He has also become part owner of Domaine des Paillieres in Gigondas in the Cotes du Rhone.
From the beginning Lynch understood that terroir is everything in wine appreciation just as it is with food. He faults varietal wine labels because any single type grown around the world may have as much in variance from the type as it has in common. Terroir matters more than grape type so place of origin labeling makes sense.
Lynch also disparages the printed wine press for their colorful characterizations that differ so much from the product on retail shelves due to the passage of time. With time any wine will have dissipating fruit flavor changes so why characterize fruit when place of origin and age are so much more appropriate.