Weekly Under $20 Value Wine Pick – A Duo of Values from Kermit Lynch

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The 2007 Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone

Winery: Kermit Lynch Selections

Bottling #1: 2007 Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone

Bottling #2: 2007 Kermit Lynch Vin de Pays Vaucluse

Importer: Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants

Region: France

Sub-Region: Vaucluse (Southern France) and the Southern Rhone

Estimated Retail Price: Vin de Pays $9 – $12, Cotes du Rhone $11 – $15

Purchase Details & Tasting Source: Both of these bottles were purchased at the Whole Foods Market in the Portrero Hill neighborhood of San Francisco.  I decided on using these as the house reds for a sit-down dinner party (30 people!) me and Susan’s best friend Ame, were hosting for Susan’s birthday in San Francisco.

Tasting Notes: Both of these bottlings were classic Kermit Lynch wines that had a great expression of fruit and terroir that you come to expect with Lynch’s producers.  The Vin de Pays bottling uses no oak at all and the Cotes du Rhone, I believe uses a very minimal amount of oak.  Both were amazing in that they showed so much gobs of clean fruit and flavor without the use or over-use of oak.

The Vin de Pays flavor profile was driven more by the more classic garrigue aromas and flavors like lavendar and rosemary, than the Cotes du Rhone, while the Rhone wine was driven by more pepper and spice.

The Cotes du Rhone had darker, bigger and more voluptuous fruit, while the Vin de Pays was a little more feminine and lively.  I believe both are typical grenache/syrah/mourvedre/carignane based blends of the areas.

It was interesting to see how these bottles tasted alongside other bottles people had brought to the party.  One in particular, a Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, was pretty tasty and full of fruit on its own, but when taking a sip of it after drinking the Lynch Vin de Pays, it tasted unusually sweet on the finish.  Most of the sweet flavor I was getting was from the sweet, vanilla flavors American Oak imparts on wine.  It wasn’t bad or anything, but it was interesting to see the flavor contrast of the wines and how oak affects a wine.

Food & Context in Which to Enjoy: We had these wines alongside a garlic and fennel crusted pork roast, a puree of root vegetables and braised and sauteed kale.  They were the perfect complement to such earthy, hearty and rustic fare.  Definitely go the rustic route when thinking of what to eat with these wines.

Winery Background: Both of these bottles are made especially for importer Kermit Lynch.  A lot of times importers will have a special cuvee or bottling made for

The 2007 Kermit Lynch Vin de Pays Vaucluse

The 2007 Kermit Lynch Vin de Pays Vaucluse

them by one of the producers in their import portfolio as Lynch has done here with Domaine de Durban for the vin de pays bottling.  I’m still not clear which producer in his portfolio makes his Cotes du Rhone bottling.

I’ve read on several ocassions that Lynch utilizes his keen palate, by actually visiting producers, tasting their barrels and selecting which particular barrels he wants for import into the U.S.  Yes, he’s that involved.  With that kind of process, you can imagine how involved he’s going to be with bottles that are going to carry his name on the front label, so one can probably expect a solid, consistent product every year.

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