“Adventures on the Wine Route” by Kermit Lynch


Originally published in 1988, Kermit Lynch’s “Adventures on the Wine Route” is required reading for anyone who wishes to gain a deeper understanding of wine. Although “Adventures” does not intend to offer a comprehensive view of any particular area of viniculture, it does succeed in conveying the essence of true wine appreciation.

Lynch, perhaps America’s most well-known wine importer, is an icon in the American wine community, equally as important as the Mondavis and others who, beginning in the 1970s, helped place American wine alongside the elite wines of the world. Although Lynch does not share the fame of the people whose names adorn America’s most popular wine labels, his passion for great wine is clearly evident in his book.

“Adventures on the Wine Route” helps illuminate both the personalities and the processes behind several of France’s most revered wines, at the same time demystifying and celebrating these famous labels. Along the way, Lynch also reveals a handful of hidden French gems that would otherwise be overlooked by consumers who study vintage charts and point ratings, two things that Lynch continually rallies against.

As a connoisseur of wine, Lynch’s greatest pet peeve is clearly aimed at the winemakers themselves, however. Throughout the pages of his book, Lynch champions tradition over technology, and does not hide his frustration with winemakers who compromise their product in order to satisfy the demands of the ignorant few. Lynch is a devout advocate of full-flavored unfiltered wines, and his arguments in favor of the old methods are both sound and well-founded.

Lynch’s memoir is likely to cause envy among those of us who would enjoy touring France four or five months per year, but the reader can take vicarious solace in the fact that someone who understands and appreciates great wine is sharing his knowledge and bringing the best products stateside.

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