July Newsletter: Staff Selections, Domaine Tempier P-A, New Arrivals from Corsica

The July newsletter is now available. Click here to download the pdf. Highlights from this month’s newsletter…



by Kermit Lynch

Domaine-Tempier-labelToday was my first visit of the year to Domaine Tempier. Down in the cellar, Daniel Ravier pulled tastes of the 2012 from their foudres, because they are not yet in bottle. Meeting the 2012s was like meeting an old friend—their 1979, to be specific, which made good drinking from the start. I recall the 1979 served cool in carafes for a bouillabaisse feast during the wine’s first summer. It was good right after the bottling, too, and at least in magnums, it is still good today at thirty-five years old. Not bad! Our 2012 is also a medium-bodied vintage, generously flavored, a real charmer. Even Cabassaou, which can be pretty tough and square-edged when young, is easy on the palate.

Then at 11:30 I met Lulu Peyraud for an apéritif—Lulu, who at ninety-six claims that she doesn’t drink water. At all. Never. She says she prefers red wine. I asked if she didn’t keep some Vittel or Evian hidden around the house to take a swig or two, you know, when no one is looking. And I wondered aloud, “Why, Lulu, why never a glass of water?”

“I don’t want to get rusty,” she said.

And as for the three 2012 cuvées spéciales, I’ll wait a few years before attacking them, but I’ll have several classiques for drinking cool during summer 2015.

per case

2012 Bandol “Classique”


2012 Bandol “La Migoua”


2012 Bandol “La Tourtine”


2012 Bandol “Cabassaou”




by Anthony Lynch


First, you’ll notice the beautiful color of Agnès Henry’s 2013: it conveys the depth of flavor to be found in this excellent dry rosé. Very elegant, with subtle accents of garrigue, it is also our most affordable Bandol rosé at this time.

$30.00 per bottle $324.00 per case


Alain Pascal’s rosé seems to inevitably top last year’s version. While he is best known for his big, rustic, macho reds, his wines—in all colors—have recently begun to show an increased sense of finesse. In fact, his rosé in 2013 is notably delicate, quite the opposite of what one might expect given the wild, beastly reds he has produced in vintages past. It is lively and fresh, expressing not bananas but all those Provençal flavors that drive us bananas.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case


They say great wine is evocative of place. With Tempier rosé, all it takes is one sniff to be carried back to Provence, conceiving a dreamy fantasy of sunshine and ice-cold pink wine. Suddenly we are in the shade of a massive umbrella pine tree at Domaine Tempier, refreshed by a soothing breeze and generous sips of rosé. The cigales chirp buzzingly in the background, while the sound of laughter complements their constant hum. Your glass of Bandol, evocative of rosemary, ripe peaches, and citrus, is the perfect elixir to wash down the assortment of snacks that has spontaneously materialized: garlic-rubbed toasts with cured anchovies, olives marinated in herb-infused oil, and slices of salty saucisson. This is what Tempier rosé is all about—celebration, gaiety, and delicious simplicity.

$40.00 per bottle $432.00 per case

The Mediterranean at Cassis      © Gail Skoff

The (Im)Possible Pairing: Ceviche

instagram_ceviche_250One of my favorite dishes to prepare during summer is ceviche. I’ve tried multiple methods, but the household favorite remains my Peruvian husband’s family recipe. Ceviche, a citrus-flavored marinated fish dish can be challenging to pair with wine. Adding ingredients like garlic, red onions, cilantro, peppers, corn, or even ginger (as the family recipe requires), and one can easily feel confused when trying to choose aperfect wine. A popular pairing I see mentioned in various wine-food related blogs is Sauvignon Blanc due to its similar flavor profile. Personally, I found that the intense taste of the marinade (leche de tigre) strips the citrus flavors out of the wine.

I prefer to pair my Peruvian ceviche with wines that won’t interfere with the taste of lime but have enough personality to stand up to and complement the tangy flavors of the dish.

instagram_bottles_250On a most recent trip to Tambo restaurant in Oakland, I brought two wines to try out alongside their ceviche: an Alsatian Riesling and a Grüner Veltliner from Alto Adige. The Riesling worked beautifully, while the delicate Grüner was overpowered by the heat of the dish. To avoid making that mistake again, I compiled a little cheat sheet for myself. Con mucho gusto, after much experimenting at various family events and restaurants, I share with you my ceviche-friendly wine list:

2013 Languedoc Blanc • Château de Lascaux $17
2013 Reuilly Pinot Gris • Domaine de Reuilly $20
2012 Riesling Réserve • Meyer-Fonné $23
2013 Île de Beauté “Rosé de Pauline” Domaine Marquiliani $28
2011 Pinot Gris Albert Boxler $38
2011 Pinot Gris “Fronholz”André Ostertag $52

For those who are adventurous enough to experiment at home, I recommend a great recipe from a famous Peruvian chef, Gaston Acurio -> recipe. I would love to hear how the pairings worked for you.


June Newsletter: Rosé Time, A Provençal Gem, Comtesse de Cherisey P-A

The June newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Kermit Lynch

Planning a vacation in Paris? Consider renting an apartment this time. For starters, you’ll save a hell of a lot of euros every morning avoiding hotel petits déjeuners, which are overpriced. Gouging, that’s what I call it. Plus, you can cook at home, take a break from constant restauranting, get to know a neighborhood, live in Paris like a Parisian. Check out a site like vrbo.com for rentals.

I came back with some restaurants to recommend and one to avoid. All have websites with contact info.

Often, I’ve found myself complaining about the difficulty of finding classic French cuisine prepared properly. Bouillabaisse today can mean nothing but a fish soup, boeuf bourguignon nothing but chunks of beef in a winey sauce, and your coq au vin isn’t even made with a coq. They should call it poulet au vin. Believe me, folks, there was a good reason it was made with roosters. It seems like nouvelle cuisine came along and the French turned their backs on their tried-and-true masterpieces.

Go to L’Assiette in the 14th. I had a real, old-fashioned cassoulet, so delicious I ate too much. And they have the best tête de veau I’ve tasted in decades. I had stopped ordering it (same with andouillettes), but after a couple of meals at L’Assiette, I had enough confidence to give it a try. Speaking of veal, their ris de veau was heavenly in terms of texture and flavor. It’s a funky little place; wear what you like. …read more >


Place de la Concorde, Paris, France       © Gail Skoff 


by Clark Z. Terry

We do our best to import just enough of each of our wines. However, small vineyards and old vines can produce miniscule amounts of wine, and sometimes they sell out quickly. A number of these limited-availability, once-a-year selections just hit our shores, and we wanted to call your attention to them—raise their profiles, so to speak. Here’s your chance; don’t miss out.

per bottle

2012 Terrasses du Larzac Rouge • Les Vignes Oubliées


The forgotten vines from the Languedoc’s most up-and-coming appellation. Old-vine Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan planted at 1,000 feet above sea level produce this deep, chewy red.

2011 Blagny Rouge 1er Cru “La Genelotte” • Domaine de Cherisey


Blagny rouge is a rarity these days, especially one from Pinot Noir vines that date back to 1934. This one will also age gracefully (we’ve had experience tasting back to the 1998), making de Cherisey’s rouge one of our great red Burgundy values.

2011 Chinon “La Croix Boissée” • Bernard Baudry


The most structured and complex of Baudry’s line of Chinons. Undervalued, it is a true prize that has decades of aging potential.

2012 Languedoc Blanc “Sainte Agnès” • Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup


Sainte Agnès has elegance and grace on the level of the stunning whites of Patrimonio in Corsica.

2012 Savigny-lès-Beaune Blanc “Dessus les Gollardes”

Domaine Pierre Guillemot


White Burgundy that’s not entirely Chardonnay?! Les Gollardes is 70% Pinot Blanc, and the result is at once familiar and exotic.

2010 Riesling “Clos Mathis” • Domaine Ostertag


Many great wines come from granite soils, and the Clos Mathis fits that bill. Chiseled, refined, and pure—notable complexity.

Normally $238

Special Sampler Price $190

(a 20% discount)

May Newsletter: The Italian Portfolio

The May newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Kermit Lynch

When I hung up an open sign for the first time in 1972, I was not an importer; I was a Wine Retailer Without Borders. I sold wines from all over the place. Then I obtained the permit to import my very own discoveries from, at first, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. Soon I dropped domestic wines in order to concentrate on my imports and to avoid losing California winemaker Joseph Swan as a best pal. Then I let Spain go—I simply could not get excited about the semi-oxidized style that reigned at the time. Next, painfully, I cut out German wines. Too damned white, if you ask me. No, just kidding—German Rieslings, especially aged Rieslings, can take my breath away.

I seemed to want to focus, to specialize. I’m not saying my choice of Italian and French wines was the best or the most logical—I was just following my own nose. Before, I had the feeling I was hopping from here to there, skimming the surface. I wanted to be able to concentrate on my two true loves, to immerse myself deeper into their ancient wine cultures.

Looking back, I see that my first shipment from Italy included 1974 and 1971 Barolos from both Aldo Conterno and Cantina Vietti. Hmm, wish I still had some of those beauties in my cellar. And from France, the first boat brought all Burgundy, including remarkable 1972s and 1971s from Hubert de Montille.

I am going to ask and answer myself right here on the page in front of you why I don’t seem to have quite the same attitude toward French and Italian wines. I’m not sure it makes sense. Of course, the first thing I look for is quality. After that, with French wines my interest has had a lot to do with the specific terroirs—the difference between Rugiens and Taillepieds, Migoua and Tourtine, Chêne Vert and Dioterie. My interest in Italian wines, however, is more food driven—yes, more to do with the table than with the terroir.

Again, that’s just me. Working here with me, Dixon Brooke (who has added such great wines as Quintarelli, Benevelli, Fantino, and Sesti to our portfolio) is passionate and determined to build a selection of Piedmont and Tuscan terroirs to rival our Burgundy, Loire, and Rhône portfolios. Keep your eyes on our Italian arrivals: there are new discoveries here and on the way.

April Newsletter: 2012 Les Pallières P-A, Spring Sampler, We Flock to Faury, Meet the Winemaker

The April newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Clark Z. Terry

2012 ChâteauneufduPape Blanc

Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe

In February we featured the pre-arrival of the 2012 Vieux Télégraphe Rouge, but now it is time to cast the spotlight on their Blanc, sourced from the same stone-laden vineyard as the Rouge, La Crau. And my, oh my, how those stones express themselves in the white. A hallmark of the Vieux Télégraphe style (and all the wines produced by the Bruniers, for that matter) is an underlying elegance. Even amid the stoniness, the rustic fruit lies on a bed of velvet texture and true finesse. The Vieux Télégraphe Blanc focuses on elegance and pure balance perhaps more than any of their other wines. It is light on the palate yet still has full weight and presence. It has a minerally structure, not unlike premier cru Burgundy, which is one of the reasons it has a reputation for aging ten or more years. But you’ll find great pleasure now in this wine, and any true fan of the Vieux Télégraphe would be remiss to pass by this opportunity. Availability is very limited.

$74.00 per bottle $799.20 per case

2008 Bandol “Saint Ferréol”

Domaine de la Tour du Bon

I wasn’t around on this earth when Kermit began travelling to Provence in the 1970s, developing his obsession with the region and the wines. That said, I’ve heard about it, read about it, and had the great fortune to taste many of the wines from that time. Back then, the wines of Bandol had a touch more funk than they do now. In general less is a good thing, but a little funk can go a long way in creating wines of intrigue and character. In Tour du Bon’s Saint Ferréol you’ll find that touch of funk and a whole lotta Mourvèdre, too. I might be naïve in saying this, but it strikes me that this wine is somewhat of a throwback to the wilder wines of Provence from a number of decades ago. For the old-timers out there, check this bottle out to relive the glory days of your early wine-buying experiences. For those with only recent Bandol experience, prepare to be transported back to a time and place that thankfully can still be found in bottles like this.

$62.00 per bottle $669.60 per case



by Anthony Lynch


Whoever said Loire reds are light wines, think again. From south-facing vineyards in limestone soils, Cabernet Franc can display impressive magnitude, attaining full ripeness and sporting a firm tannic backbone. La Croix Boissée, perhaps Baudry’s top cuvée, expresses the full inky potential of Chinon, along with the freshness to create a harmonious balance. This wine’s muscle, coupled with the quality of the 2011 vintage, suggests it will live a very long and prosperous life. It’ll get better and better, more and more of a bargain, with age.

$39.00 per bottle $421.20 per case



This legendary parcel holds honorary grand cru status among Chinon vineyards. What’s more, the Cabernet Franc vines here date back to the 1930s, giving low yields and a concentrated Chinon of real consequence. This wine’s powerful structure, marvelous texture, and overall grandeur make me dream of the possibilities at table. Some suggestions, taken from Joguet’s website: “tournedos rossini, beef short ribs, and even stronger game in great vintages: venison steak, wild boar stew.” Or take the easy way out: an old-fashioned chuck roast with carrots, onions, and potatoes.

$52.00 per bottle $561.60 per case



Crossing the Loire river from Chinon brings us to Bourgueil, where the dynamic and biodynamic duo Catherine and Pierre Breton have focused their red wine production. Les Perrières is the Bretons’ answer to Baudry’s Croix Boissée and Joguet’s Dioterie: old-vine Cabernet Franc planted on clay and limestone slopes, giving a full-bodied and extremely long-lived Bourgueil that warrants decanting to be appreciated in its youth. The 2010 Perrières highlights that vineyard’s terroir with its chalky minerality, giving it a chiseled edge to complement the savory depth and fleshy berry fruit.

$42.00 per bottle $453.60 per case

The (Im)possible Pairing: Avocados

Okay, maybe not impossible. In fact, not only is pairing wine with avocados possible, but as we will soon discover, it can be downright magical. After all, Jesus did turn water into wine, and we have no way of being sure Eve did not pick the forbidden fruit from an avocado tree. Here in California, our very own Garden of Eden, we are spoiled with our avocados, being lucky enough to enjoy this sacred fruit over an exceptionally long growing season—and even our winter avocados put most others to shame.


Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar       © Katya Karagadayeva

Given the joys inherent in cutting open a pristine oval of creamy, green richness, it is only logical that we should jointly imbibe in a carefully selected glass of wine. And given the infinite number of ways to prepare avocados—as a snack, a topping, a supporting ingredient, or even as the centerpiece of a dish—the possibilities for creative wine pairing are endless. Below, our culinarily inventive and curiously avocado-savvy sales team gives its two cents on how to combine two of life’s greatest pleasures:

Michael Butler, 25-year KLWM retail expert, suggests an avocado salad also featuring cracked Dungeness crab, thinly sliced grapefruit, and baby gem lettuce. “I serve it with something delicate and citrusy,” Michael states dreamily. “Like Domaine de Marquiliani’s Sciaccarellu rosé.”

Mark Congero, Chez Panisse veteran, opts for an avocado and beet salad with a lemony vinaigrette. “A fruity Sauvignon blanc like Domaine de Trotereau’s Quincy has the acidity to cut through the avocado and the fruit to stand up to the beets.”

• The glamorous Jennifer Oakes has only one thing on her mind: Champagne. But first, she recommends crafting Chez Panisse’s green goddess dressing, which includes a healthy dose of avocado blended with anchovy, garlic, lemon, olive oil, and plenty of fresh herbs. Only once the dressing has been applied over fresh chicories can the Champagne be served. “My choice is Veuve Fourny’s Brut Nature,” says Jennifer, uncontrollably salivating over the idea of avocado-laced greens and crisp, bone-dry Blanc de Blancs. “With a side of oysters,” she adds slyly.

Bryant Vallejo hails from Colombia, a land where avocados virtually grow wild. He raves about slicing up the fruit before breading and deep-frying the pieces, without forgetting a bowl of homemade aïoli for dipping. “Serve Abbatucci’s Rouge Frais Impérial,” he asserts, offering no explanation on the basis that this light, gluggable Sciaccarellu is the perfect match for any and all foods.


Avocado fries with aïoli     © Anthony Lynch

Steve Waters, retail manager, doesn’t take his avocados lightly. On a tortilla laden with melted cheese, he adds caramelized onions, garlic-marinated shrimp, a touch of hot sauce, and a garnish of coarsely chopped cilantro. Without forgetting, of course, impeccably ripe slices of avocado somewhere in the mix. In this scenario, Steve fills his glass with a Grenache-based wine from the Southern Rhône, looking to match the bolder flavors in his taco, without forgetting the importance of freshness: he stresses that giving the red a slight chill is “absolutely essential”.

Dustin Soiseth, the most recent addition to the KLWM retail staff, is all about simplicity: he likes his avocado sliced on a piece of toast and drizzled with our Maussanne olive oil from Provence. His ideal pairing? “Rosé. Charles Joguet’s Chinon rosé.”

• If anybody knows what to do with an avocado, it’s Suzanne Drexhage, owner of Bartavelle Coffee & Wine Bar next door to the KLWM shop. Bartavelle’s avocado toast has reached legendary status: on a warm slice of Acme levain, mashed avocado is topped with a drizzle of olive oil, lemon spritz, sea salt, and a sprinkle of tangy marash pepper. With a rotating lineup of wines by the glass, it can be hard to choose, but Suzanne has no doubts: “Rosé!”


Bartavelle’s avocado toast        © Katya Karagadayeva

Now it’s your turn: what is the best way to prepare an avocado, and what wine do you serve with it?

The New Kermitlynch.com

I am pleased and excited to announce that this week, we launched our newly re-designed website. It doesn’t feel like too long ago that our previous website came online, replete with profiles on each of our producers and detailed information on each of their wines. All this information is still there and in fact we make updates to it multiple times a week so as to keep it as complete and accurate as possible. That said, as we all know, things move fast on the web and keeping pace with how our customers want to access our website led us to this new design.

The big change is that this new site is now optimized for viewing on not just a full computer screen, but tablets and smartphones. Where on our old site you’d have to scroll the screen to see all the content on a phone, now the content shifts and re-stacks so it fits the screen of any device for easy searching, reading, and browsing. If you find yourself needing information on one of our producers or wines—perhaps in a retail store or restaurant—or if you are one of our many trade partners selling our wines in your establishment, this new site will make accessing this information significantly easier.

There are a few other bells and whistles worth checking out:

Our Wines  We have a new and improved interactive map to help guide you in finding a producer you are looking to learn more about. Also, instead of a text list of all our producers, we have a grid of images and logos for each producer. Now you can connect the name of the domaine to the faces of the people running the show.

LABEL-WITH-ARROWSLabel Downloads – Need a label from one of our galleries to send in an email, include in a display, or just show a friend what you’ve been drinking? With one click, you can download any label in our galleries. You’ll see the “Download Image” links below each producer page gallery.

Instagram – Along with our other social links, we’ve included our recently launched Instagram page. If you’re on Instagram, follow us at @kermitlynchwine and when posting photos of our wines, use hashtag #kermitlynch—we’d love to see your photos.

We hope you enjoy the new site and continue to find it to be a valuable resource to learn about our wines and stay up on all things Kermit Lynch—kermitlynch.com.

International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women in Wine

by Katya Karagadayeva and Anthony Lynch

Growing up in the Soviet Union, International Women’s Day was a lovely holiday, a day when I got to stay home and receive gifts. Traditionally, men (or boys) honor their mothers, wives, girlfriends, and female colleagues and schoolmates, with flowers and small gifts. Nowadays, I appreciate IWD not merely as a sweet tribute to these memories, but as an opportunity to celebrate and be inspired by women and their achievements.

At Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant we’ve been very fortunate to work with many extraordinary, talented women. We would love to give them flowers today, but a better way to pay respect would be to tell you a little more about them. Spotlighting three “women in wine” is Anthony Lynch:


No celebration of women in wine would be complete without mentioning Lulu Peyraud. While her late husband Lucien is undeniably the face behind the wines of Tempier—and to a certain extent, the Bandol appellation itself—Lulu’s role at the domaine over the decades has proven to be of equal significance. Known for her delectable renditions of classic Provençal dishes, the ever-so-sprightly Lulu—now 96 years old—will always come to symbolize the joyous, welcoming spirit that is synonymous with Domaine Tempier. The legendary banquets she organized will be remembered by many a lucky guest at the Domaine, but it is Lulu’s open-armed generosity and contagious laughter that truly make this wonderful Marseillaise the First Lady of Bandol.

Lulu© Gail Skoff

Our next featured wine woman hails not from Provence but another fabled, picturesque wine country: Tuscany, home of the grand Brunello di Montalcino. At the Castello di Argiano, Elisa Sesti has taken after her father Giuseppe and is now responsible for managing the winemaking at the estate in addition to sales and marketing. While it remains a family effort, Elisa represents the driving force behind production as well as promotion of the brand via travel throughout Italy and abroad. Somehow, she still finds time to entertain guests at the estate, and can often be found sharing a bottle of crisp Sangiovese rosato with friends over an antipasto featuring ingredients cultivated in the Sesti garden. It is only logical that we raise a glass to this warm and caring woman to celebrate not just her role in the wine world, but also as a wonderful individual.

Elisa Sesti

Elisa may be an exception to the rule in the wine world, as the vigneron profession is one still largely dominated by men. Nonetheless, more and more women can be found working the vineyards and running the cellars as of late. In the hills north of Venice, Cinzia Sommariva has taken charge of her family’s 35 hectares of Glera (the grape variety used in Prosecco), and the results speak for themselves. Her visionary leadership and flawless execution give a Prosecco of real class and character. Cinzia herself, consistently displaying confidence and assertive demeanor with no lack of charm, is the ideal spokesperson for this most elegant and uplifting of libations.



March Newsletter: Saving Biancu Gentile, New from the Bruniers, 2012 Boillot P-A

The March newsletter is now available.
Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Dixon Brooke

Michèle Aubéry-Laurent and her son Maxime François Laurent (whose wines are vinified at Gramenon) are among the precious few winemakers in Europe making grand, age-worthy wines that are vinified with almost zero sulfur dioxide. When you find the combination of a winemaker, a terroir, and a grape that are capable of this feat, the results can be glorious. Attention: there aren’t many of them. Attention again: aging these wines requires a cellar with perfect conditions.

© Gail Skoff


The only Syrah in the mix, this is a heady and potent glass of wine, with spices, réglisse, smoked meat, a basket of ripe fruits, and a dollop of black olive.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case


Vinsobres is an absolutely breathtaking corner of the Côtes du Rhône that sits high up in the hills and looks down into the valley where you’ll find many of the other crus (Roaix, Cairanne, Sablet, Séguret, etc.), with the Dentelles de Montmirail in the distance. This is perhaps the most special of the Gramenons, named after Michèle’s late husband, Philippe Laurent. Always showing explosive energy and deep, complex dark berry fruit and garrigue, it is a tour de force from Gramenon.

$33.00 per bottle $356.40 per case


This more serious wine from Maxime emphasizes the garrigue from this corner of the Rhône Valley along with the fruit. Pure Grenache, as with the Soif above.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case

Mixed cases of Gramenon and Laurent wines receive 25% off



by Jane Berg



While cruising around the Beaujolais on his moped at the age of fifteen, Charly stopped short in his tracks at the sight of the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen: the freshly plowed soils of Marcel Lapierre’s vineyards, beaming from the landscape. Inspired by what he saw, Charly landed himself an apprenticeship with Marcel and later purchased his own vines of Régnié, which he revitalized through rigorous biodynamic farming techniques. Today, a true vigneron, Charly makes a frank and pure wine with nothing to hide and plenty to say. Allow this one a little time to breathe if you’re looking for the full experience.

$31.00 per bottle $334.80 per case


In the wine world it’s a common mistake for succeeding generations, as soon as they take over, to squander years of tried-and-true artisanal winemaking in the name of progress. Lucky for us the Dupeubles have remained true to their ancestry and continue to make honest wines, as they’ve been doing for the past five hundred years. This one is a classic-style Beaujolais, approachable and lean, lacing brambly ripe fruit to a velvety framework. It’s worth mentioning that 2012 is a special vintage in the Beaujolais. There’s not much of it, but what little exists is particularly delicious.

$14.95 per bottle $161.46 per case

Color me…pink?

The day has come—Valentine’s Day that is. The day of celebrating love, booked restaurants, expensive flowers, over-priced chocolate and…pink sparkling wine. Really? For a few years now I have wondered why when approaching February 14, wine merchants all over the country start advertising different expressions of sparkling rosé. Ok, Champagne I get because of the “celebration” element (frankly, any day is a great day for Champagne), but why PINK? After all, the heart is red, and so is the most popular color choice for roses on this day, so wouldn’t a red wine of some type be more appropriate? Hmm… What do I know about Valentine’s Day at all?


         Vineyard roses at Tour du Bon © Molly Surbridge

Like all normal people, I turned to Google with my questions. Aside from a few interesting speculations about an early Christian saint, Valentinus, I learned that today is an official feast day in the Anglican and Lutheran Churches, and first became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages. A confectionery company owned by a Russian immigrant introduced Valentine’s Day to the Japanese in 1936—women give chocolate to men on February 14 there. In Israel, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in August, and in Singapore people spend more money on this holiday than in any other country.

Still, nothing told me where the “pink sparkling” custom came from. One wine blog announced that, “nothing says love better than pink Champagne.” Because it “is very special and the bubbles excite the appetite—for food and love.” Another claimed: “Pretty pink wine can definitely enhance a romantic evening” but didn’t explain how or why (merely because of the color?). Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Champagne. If I were to choose a pink bubbly, my pick today would go to the new special rosé bottling from the ladies at J. Lassalle. But to limit yourself to just one type of wine seems silly. Here are some bottles I’ll be taking home tonight (home, because my husband and I vowed to never leave the house on the evening of February 14), and an explanation for each choice:

2011 Muscadet • André-Michel Brégeon (gold label) $16.95
It’s a perfect pairing with the world’s most delightful aphrodisiac—oysters! What a great way to start any feast.

2012 Mâcon Farges “Vieilles Vignes” • Henri Perrusset $19.95
I love this crisp Chardonnay with the Bay Area’s amazing Dungeness crab. And what luck, it’s still crab season, so why have anything else for your celebratory meal?

2012 Morgon • M. Lapierre $30.00
Lapierre’s Morgon, one of my all-time favorites, is so versatile, you can have it with virtually anything, including—don’t tell anyone you heard this from me—chocolate. Juicy and delicious, if this wine doesn’t leave you and your date making-out, I don’t know what will.

Happy Valentine’s Day!


                                                                       © Gail Skoff