Cool Foods Kermit Lynch Has with Wine

sea snails!

Wine goes best with a meal. The role of wine as part of a meal is not to simply complement the food preparations. That would be dull. I am looking for a wine that enhances the meal; increases the experience; brings a rush to the event. When this happens wine is at its best because it drives both sensory and intellectual regions of the brain [ed. see brain map below to identify food regions in the brain].

Kermit Lynch is a real throwback to a time that has NOT disappeared. Kermit was not the first importer to venture across Europe in order to “discover” great wines for that sector of the American public that drank beer AND wine. Before Kermit there was Frank Schoonmaker and Robert Haas. They were among the first to import Bordeaux and Burgundy labels, mostly to the LEast Coast. Kermit was the first (I am guessing) intrepid importer from the Best Coast to don the adventurer’s cape. In fact, his book titled “Adventures Along the Wine Route” reinforces the merry wanderer image and is a wonderful read to boot. The obvious inheritor to Kermit Lynch is Jon Rimmerman of Garagiste. I read somewhere recently that Kermit claims to have never heard of Rimmerman or his website [ed. I believe him]. This is not surprising. Kermit still prints his newsletter and mails it to a list of customers. I am certain staff have advised him he could cut costs if he switched to a web product. Kermit has a web version of his newsletter but, being an old soul, he still mails out the pamphlet version. I am much more likely to read the latter.

tBoW’s food map of the brain

Here are the foods Kermit lists in his recent November 2012 “publication” with the wines he likes to drink with each.

Raw Oysters – He often mentions oysters. In fact he hosts an oyster bash once a year in his Berkeley store. He writes he has seen old ocean liner menus that paired oysters with Y’Quem! He suggests subbing in a couple of his own Sauternes dessert wines.

Agneau which is French for “Brain; kidneys, snails and tete de veau, ris de veau which is French for Lamb Testicles. No wine recommendations. tBoW loves buches in a burrito which is Mexican for stomach so we would give lamb nabs a try.

Artichokes – Kermit recognizes this tasty spiky veggie is a surefire wine killer but if you cook it with olive oil with garlic and fresh thyme it goes very nicely with white Rhone wines that feature Grenache Blanc.

Bouillabaise – In his experience the authentic version is hard to find. When he does find it he likes it with a red Bandol which would have Mourvedre as the base varietal.

oh god I can smell this right now

Salami, white truffles with pasta and beef stewed in young Barolo wine – I am still tasting the pasta with white truffles served a few weeks ago at Madeo with Mr. Raspini. Kermit likes a glass of Barbera with the salami and truffle dish followed by an older Barolowith the beef stew. We had strips of very rare steak.

Snails in butter, parsley and garlic or parsleyed ham – He likes this with Aligote which is a white wine from Burgundy as opposed to the far more widely produced Chardonnays.

Lamb shoulder – He drinks a mature red Burgundy which is Old World Pinot Noir.

Grilled beef that is cooked just so “after they flip it over they wait for the juice to puddle on top then they throw on some raw shallot.” – He recommends a bottle of Les Pallieres, a Southern Rhone property he helped resurrect that is Grenache based.

If your mouth is not watering after that then you need to stop eating at Mickey Dees. Here are some wines we have tasted recently, regrettably none in this go ’round from KWLM.

2010 Backhouse Pinot Noir California $8: Light red color, light weight body, light Pinot Noir flavors on the dried cherries spectrum. The low alcohol already makes it a winner. However, you get what you pay for in this case. Wine Enthusiast gave it an 80. We never report scores BUT in this case we make an exception because we have never seen a score of 80 from those who use the “100 point” scale. Drink it everyday wine that tastes like Pinot. Have a big party coming up? The aim of this company is to sell a wine-by-the-glass bottle that restaurants will readily purchase by the case. The wholesale has to be $5 or less. Wonder what is their production? Given the flavor profile and the fact it is all California juice we also wonder where the grapes come from. Given the jug wine price we are betting Ukiah. What do you think? 12.5%

2009 Samsara Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir $25: Remarkable wine from Chad Melville. We applauded when he said he was going to make regional wines with lower alcohol levels. Here is proof. A lot to look about this wine besides the 13% alcohol. Like the wine is in balance. It has some grip, stuffing, substance. HE has blended juice from Melville, Turner, Kessler-Haak, and Hilliard-Bruce Vineyards which are all within a stone’s throw. No wonder the flavors seem to reflect the terroir as we know it. We prefer when SRH winemakers are not comparing bunch sizes, metaphorically speaking. As nice earth flavors along with some sweet beet flavors which we like. Shall definitely serve to the tBoW Tasting Team at Dotore’s post T-day extravaganza! 13%

2009 Kaena Grenache Larner Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley $38: Ripe flavors, dark red color, medium weight. Not overblown as are some of Michael’s contemporaries that make bigger wines. Even though the alcohol level is WAY up there it does not overwhelm the palate. Rich wine from a coveted vineyard in the region. If you like a bigger more fruity wine that will not go broke your toofs then this is a good pick. Interview with winemaker coming up in next issue of Elegant Living Magazine. 125 cases. 15.2%

2011 Saint Chinian Mas de Mas Grand vin du Languedoc $12: Had this at same time as the Kaena Larner Grenache. Ripe and fruity. Middle weight. The flavors and palate feel very similar to the Kaena wine. This is wine from St. Chinian in the Languedoc region in the Southwest region of France. St. Chinian is where they make the BIG RED wines in this ancient winemaking region historically known for P-L-O-N-K. This blend is Syrah, Carignan, Grenache Noir equals cranberry. We prefer wines from Minervois which tend to be leaner but this is not too bad either. Picked it up at Woodland Hills Wine Co. 13.3%

Took this photo of handsome pair at Los Angeles Magazine Wine Festival last month. This is my favorite wine tasting event of the year. The crowd was smaller this year and there were fewer wine labels and food vendors. Despite this we had a great time and saw a few old friends.

Cool stuff for the holidays: tBoW sometimes gets stuff sent our way without solicitation. Recently, we received a couple Glacier Glass tumblers by Rolf Glass made from recycled wine bottles. They look cool all icy blue like a glacier and they hold a margarita just fine. They also have wine stems. Not cheap but not crazy expensive either. Would make nice gifts. As the Field Mouse might put it…1.5 mice.


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