by Steve Waters, Retail Manager
There aren’t many wine shops in the world where new clients declare upon arrival that they have reached the “mother ship” and their “pilgrimage” is now complete. It’s a common occurrence here in the retail store of Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant. We continue to be a destination establishment, providing the finest in French and Italian wine and customer service that are second to none. With pride, we introduce you to—or reacquaint you with—these staff members who will happily assist you with any of your wine consumption needs.
One of the perks of this job is that after tastings there are usually some leftovers to take home. I grabbed this Bianco with the fleeting notion of having it that night with linguine in a simple pesto sauce. Wow, am I glad I did! The food-and-wine pairing was utterly delicious. Buonissimo! And the glass of it I had while cooking was pretty darn good, too.
$14.00 per bottle $151.20 per case
2011 GIGONDAS “LES RACINES”
DOMAINE LES PALLIÈRES
On a cold January morning, I stood in the Racines vineyard after a tasting at Domaine les Pallières. Daniel Brunier, co-proprietor at Pallières, was explaining the significance of the soil types and the old-vine Grenache that make this vineyard so unique. There’s nothing like a vigneron’s words to help with your understanding of wine. Daniel said the 2011 crop was tiny, but the overall quality was outstanding. The 2011 Les Racines has a deep core of dark berry fruits, notes of licorice, or réglisse, and a concentrated texture that conveys power with silkiness. If you’re searching for greatness in Gigondas, here’s where to find it.
$49.00 per bottle $529.20 per case
2013 PAYS D’HÉRAULT ROSÉ
DOMAINE DU POUJOL
The days, though now shortening, are still plenty long enough to warrant the smell of mesquite charcoal that wafts through my sunny Oakland neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon. Whether I’m about to throw a few veggies and some herb-crusted chicken on the grill or content to watch from my stoop as the neighbor kids squirt passing cars with water pistols, I know what’s in my glass. Fresh strawberry fruit, tempered nicely with a vibrant acidity, makes this wine my go-to summertime gulper. I’ll take a case (and so should you).
$16.00 per bottle $172.80 per case
2013 BANDOL BLANC
DOMAINE DE TERREBRUNE
The lead-up to Bandol rosé season at Kermit Lynch begins early on with an excited buzz, ever-escalating, that finally reaches fever pitch just as the wines start hitting the sales floor. Though I know we’re all seeing pink, you’d be missing out to gloss over this stunning Bandol blanc that slipped in the door behind its rosy brethren. Springy citrus accentuates more subtle honeysuckle notes in this glassful of the sun-soaked Mediterranean. A glass of Terrebrune blanc with tapenade crostini or pan-seared sardines will take you there!
$34.00 per bottle $367.20 per case
2009 BAROLO “santa caterina”
“Oh, no, Nebbiolo makes me crazy!” My family and I looked incredulously at our longtime friend. We’d all just sat down in a bustling restaurant nestled blocks from his West Village home. He went on to explain his objection to my wine list suggestion, citing a particularly wild string of evenings he’d spent in Piemonte years before (surely, he’d simply over-enjoyed himself?). Whatever the case, we ended up splitting a bottle over tall plates of meaty ragù and braised pork shoulder, despite his trepidation. Enjoy this bright, deep, and firmly structured Barolo in the same manner: with a hearty meal and good company.
$42.00 per bottle $453.60 per case
I first came to know wine through Bordeaux. What I know now that I wish I knew back then—there is a whole galaxy of wine to explore once you leave the region’s archaic and contentious classification system behind. Take Canon-Fronsac, where Bénédicte and Grégoire Hubau tend their vines. In the eighteenth century, this appellation’s wines were considered among the best in Bordeaux and were enjoyed at the Court of Versailles. What’s more, the clay and limestone soils, located just a few miles west of St. Émilion, are ideally suited for Merlot.
Today Canon-Fronsac is overshadowed by its more famous neighbors in the Médoc, which is just fine with me. Values abound, and vignerons make wine for the table, not the auction block. The Hubaus’ Château Moulin is a prime example—a nose brimming with pure red fruit and cassis, with whiffs of earth and mint, and a palate as soft and supple as a Debussy nocturne.
$28.00 per bottle $302.40 per case
2013 BARDOLINO “LE FONTANE”
The latest vintage of Corte Gardoni’s rosso has been a fixture on my table since it arrived a few weeks ago. Its exuberant blend of juicy, spicy red fruits and zippy acidity reminds me of my beloved Loire reds, and, like them, Le Fontane is great with a bit of a chill. Whether I’m working in the garden, cooking dinner, or listening to a baseball game on the radio, there always seems to be a glass nearby.
$14.00 per bottle $151.20 per case
2012 CORBIÈRES ROUGE
DOMAINE DE FONTSAINTE
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday . . . Corbières rouge from Domaine de Fontsainte is my choice for a consistent, daily, value wine. This versatile red pairs well with a gourmet food truck burger, Café Rouge roast chicken, or a homemade ratatouille dish—delicioso! The magic of this Carignan-based rouge is that it brings pure pleasure to your dining table, making it easy to gulp down, without heavy pondering. With purple-robed dark fruit, hints of earthiness, and a bouquet that pulls you into the glass—and my oh my, it’s cheaper by the case. Mature adults, don’t hesitate!
$14.95 per bottle $161.46 per case
2013 MARSANNAY ROSÉ
Régis Bouvier never ceases to amaze me with his well-crafted Burgundies and impeccable prices. His Marsannay Rosé (100% Pinot Noir) is another masterpiece. Régis is able to produce a vibrant light rosé, with a stony freshness that bounces on your tongue. Aromas of wild strawberries and ripe pears are followed by acidity that lingers until your next sip. It’s an irresistible delight.
$23.00 per bottle $248.40 per case
2011 RIESLING GRAND CRU “MUENCHBERG”
It’s nearing the mid-point of baseball season, and your home team might be playing well or they may be disappointing you. Our Bay Area teams are on a cosmic trajectory, and here at KLWM we’re wishing for a Bay Bridge battle. Okay, I will stop jinxing this dream. In any case, picture this—a few Brats sizzling on the grill ready to be topped with sauerkraut, a couple fresh crabs on hand to be cracked, and maybe a hunk of mature goat cheese to finish up. My top choice to accompany this delectable experience would be the vibrant Riesling grand cru Muenchberg from André Ostertag. With this fleshy, silky, mineral-driven wine you’ll be hitting a culinary walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth.
$58.00 per bottle $626.40 per case
2011 MAZIS-CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU
Despite the diminutive size of the cellar at Domaine Maume, under the direction of Bertrand Maume we’ve come to expect very powerful and significant wines. Once known for their rough and animalistic style, in the last couple decades their edges have slowly softened. With the grand cru Mazis-Chambertin, there is an innate King-of-the-Jungle grandeur, boldly hearty and earthy, but tempered by silky fruit, with accessible and controlled tannins. This garnet-hued stunner is rich with umami and a warm spiciness that conveys a sense of mystery, like a bearded adventurer—a liquid Hemingway, if you will. Despite the long aging potential of Maume’s wines, this 2011 Mazis is great for medium-term drinking while waiting for lower-yielding vintages to mature. On that note, we do have some library releases of older vintages to delve into should you want to explore further. If interested, ask for me when you come in, or just give me a call.
$185.00 per bottle $1,998.00 per case
2012 BOUZERON “ALIGOTÉ”
A. & P. DE VILLAINE
The Aligoté grape is the “other” white Burgundy, with only a tiny amount planted, but with the Bouzeron from A. & P. de Villaine, you might not miss your Chardonnay. From arguably one of the greatest winemakers in the world, Aubert de Villaine, wine director at Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, this is his personal project with his American-born wife, Pamela—hence the A. and P. in the domaine name. As elegant and charming as its maker, it is golden straw–colored, almost saline, and perfumed with lime blossoms, aniseed, vanilla, and citrus. With its crispness and light mineral acidity, it is absolutely one of my top choices for summer (and any other season) enjoyment. While drinking extremely well right now, with a few years in bottle it will ripen into a plump, spicy gem. When your automatic seafood go-to would have been Chablis or Muscadet, consider Bouzeron to take to your next oyster fest and see what you think.
$30.00 per bottle $324.00 per case
2013 SAUVIGNON BLANC “UNIQUE”
DOMAINE DU SALVARD
Believe it or not, this is my favorite Sauvignon Blanc of our portfolio, beating out even the fanciest of Sancerres. Here are three reasons why:
1. Refreshment: the Unique is so crisp and zippy that your thirst stands no chance. Parched throats, beware.
2. Influence on mood: it may be the bright, zesty flavors, but sipping on the Unique always livens me up. This Sauvignon evokes fresh, juicy citrus in a way that provokes exuberant gulping. And between the two of us, it tastes pretty good straight from the bottle . . . not that I would know.
3. Value: it doesn’t cost much, and don’t forget our case discount. Eleven bottles might not be enough.
The only downside is the bottles—they appear to be defective. Each one I try seems to have a hole in the bottom.
$14.95 per bottle $161.46 per case
2012 TERRASSES DU LARZAC ROUGE
LES VIGNES OUBLIÉES
The Languedoc is a geographically diverse region, extending from the sun-baked plains bordering the Mediterranean to the lush, green Cévennes Mountains that lead into France’s Massif Central. Jean-Baptiste Granier is an ambitious twenty-nine-year-old who is passionate about vinifying several organically farmed parcels of old-vine Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault nestled up against this impressive mountain range. The Terrasses du Larzac he bottles is certainly a Southern wine—the influence of garrigue and meridional sunshine are unmistakable—but the high altitude of his vineyards lends a cool-climate sensibility to his rouge. The 2012 vintage beautifully illustrates what this little-known appellation is all about: this wine’s muscular core is highlighted by bright flavors of fresh red fruits, making it exceptionally drinkable. Grab some for now and some for your cellar before the rest of the world finds out about Jean-Baptiste’s fascinating and fruitful project.
$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case
2013 REUILLY PINOT GRIS
DOMAINE DE REUILLY
I still remember opening the box from the first vintage we received of this gorgeous wine from Denis Jamain. The wine was so pale it almost had no color at all, but it tasted delicious, addictive, and it became an instant hit here at KLWM. Vintage 2013 shows a tinge more color. With Kimmeridgian clay and limestone terroir at its core, white flowers and herbs on the nose, and pink grapefruit and peaches to tickle your taste buds, it is the perfect summer rosé!
$20.00 per bottle $216.00 per case
2012 CHABLIS PREMIER CRU “VAILLONS”
A stunning, hand-crafted premier cru Vaillons from 30-year-old vines for 35 bucks. I could stop right there, but I won’t because there is too much to like about this wine. This is classic Chablis: precise, pure, and driven. Velvety citrus fruit gives way to textbook chalk, slate, and stone. It is perfectly drinkable right now and will drink beautifully over the next three to five years. Which leaves us in a quandary: drink it now or later? Simple. Pick up a case and drink six now and six over the next few years—problem solved.
$35.00 per bottle $378.00 per case
PREMIER CRU “LES VERCOTS”
Finesse, class, charm, and power. Beautifully perfumed with deep cherry and licorice notes. That’s what I wrote down while I was drinking—I mean tasting—this wine. It is altogether meaty and dense while maintaining grace, elegance, and perfect balance. This wine is a keeper, a true gem in your cellar if you can exercise some patience. My recommended drinking window is 2016 through 2025. The wines of Follin-Arbelet offer some of the best value for your money in the KLWM red Burgundy portfolio. Please don’t overlook them.
$74.00 per bottle $799.20 per case
2013 VIN DE PAYS DE VAUCLUSE
“LE PIGEOULET” BLANC
Yet another delectable wine from the Brunier family! This versatile white works well with summer fare: grilled fish, roast chicken, or grilled vegetables. It feels right at home with Mediterranean herbs and the ripe tomatoes now arriving at the farmers’ market.
The blend is equal parts Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, and Clairette. Together, they create a wine that has a complex mouth-feel that finishes with a nice refreshing acidity.
This beauty gets snapped up quickly from the shop, so give us a call as soon as possible to reserve some before it is gone!
$18.95 per bottle $204.66 per case
2012 CHÂTEAUNEUF DU PAPE
DOMAINE DU VIEUX TÉLÉGRAPHE
Once again, the multi-talented Brunier family has created a classic and delicious southern Rhône red that delivers waves of flavor with just the right amount of tannin to give it a pleasing structure. It is all here: Provençal herbs, dark black cherry, and réglisse—the hallmarks of the best southern French beauties.
You can drink this wine now and over the next five years or so. The 2012 vintage was quite small due to poor flowering and heat during veraison, but the happy news is that the limited amount of fruit is concentrated and produces a wine of great complexity.
Try this elegant, deeply flavored red with roast lamb infused with thyme, rosemary, and black olives; it is a marriage made in heaven.
$46.00 per bottle $496.80 per case