March Newsletter: 2014 Vieux Télégraphe, Côte d’Or, Alsace—Beyond Riesling

The March Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…



by Dixon Brooke

A meaningful number of the most prestigious (expensive) cuvées of Châteauneuf-du-Pape come from the lieu-dit of La Crau. All of the fruit iused for VT’s classic bottling is sourced from old vines on the plateau of La Crau. What would be a reserve wine or a special cuvée at any other Châteauneuf estate is the minimum standard for VT. La Crau is one of the undisputed grands crus of the appellation.

As many of you know, the special thing about this site is the stones. The stoniness of VT is its most exciting quality, and it is always evident. In riper years it may only become evident after some bottle age.

One of the challenges with this appellation of late is achieving balance and freshness. What the Bruniers have accomplished in 2014 is nothing short of remarkable. (By the way, the same is true at Pallières in Gigondas, and 2014 looks to be this estate’s greatest vintage since the Bruniers purchased the estate with Kermit in 1998.) Vintage 2014 produced a VT of exceptional refinement, with a texture of velvet. Power and finesse, fused into one complete package, with all the character we expect from VT—there is no mistaking those La Crau stones. Vieux Télégraphe is returning to its roots and leading the way forward in Châteauneuf toward drinkable, balanced, terroir-driven, elegantly rustic old-vine Grenache that will redefine and reinvigorate the appellation.

$828.00 per case fifths >

Also Available in Tenths, Magnums, Jeroboams, Methuselahs,
Salmanazars, and Nebuchadnezzars

Pre-arrival terms: Half-payment due with order;
balance due upon arrival.



by Dixon Brooke


Bouvier is best known for his Marsannay of all three colors, produced where his winery is based and where the lion’s share of his vines are located. Outside of this inheritance, his greatest acquisition ever was this parcel in Morey Saint Denis, a coveted lieu-dit surrounded by grands crus. Every year it is the top wine in his cellar—the strength of this terroir makes its presence felt. This lush, full-fruited, sensual red Burgundy delivers the type of experience that only Pinot Noir from these parts can.

$56.00 per bottle $604.80 per case


From a great site in the prime saddle of mid-slope land between Gevrey and Morey, Boillot’s Corbeaux is a quintessential Gevrey-Chambertin experience, decidedly old school. Thanks to his partial full-cluster fermentations in open-top cuves and his use of old barrels for aging, nothing ever gets in the way of the expression of each of his terroirs. Les Corbeaux 2013 shows smooth, silky fruit, solid structure, and tannins that are all finesse. This graceful, harmonious wine will give much pleasure young and old.

$95.00 per bottle
$1,026.00 per case


How do the Chevillons do it? That is, how do they make some of the prettiest, most elegant Burgundies in all the Côte in what most consider one of Burgundy’s most rustic appellations? Fanatical vineyard management, old vines, and a focus on purity of fruit: very few stems, very little new wood, soft, gentle cuvaisons and racking. This 2013 is as seductive a young Nuits as you are likely to encounter. Enjoy over the next five to eight years.

$90.00 per bottle $972.00 per case


I can’t recall a more inspiring moment in a cellar in Burgundy than when I tasted Franck Follin’s 2012s out of barrel underneath his home in Aloxe-Corton. I have had many great tastings in Burgundy, and I’m not saying this was the best, but I can’t remember one that was better. These are thoroughbred wines: sleek, sinewy, beautifully constructed. This Aloxe-Corton will drink beautifully over twenty years. Follin’s wines are for fans of classically styled, pure, racy red Burgundy. This is what red Burgundy should taste like.

$76.00 per bottle $820.80 per case


My heart skips a beat every time I contemplate the fact that this is the last vintage of Maume that will resemble what we know as Maume. Indeed, I believe it is the last vintage even labeled with the Maume name. Maume’s collection of ancient vines with their diverse budwood, his rustic and moldy cellars, and his mad-scientist-like personality that came alive between the walls of his Gevrey-Chambertin cave all combined to give us here at KLWM many great memories of some of the most unique Pinot Noir ever made. We stockpiled library vintages in addition to the 2011, Bertrand Maume’s final vintage, but precious little is left. Buy a bottle of Burgundian history that you can drink with pheasant.

$175.00 per bottle $1,890.00 per case


by Dixon Brooke

domaine OSTERTAG >

There is probably no white grape in the world capable of delivering the aromatic and flavor complexity of Gewurztraminer. It is the wine that winemakers in Alsace are most excited about showing off to their colleagues. Drinking one is almost like having a course unto itself at table, though I certainly enjoyed it at home with eel and avocado sushi recently—what a revelation. This 2012 from Ostertag was harvested just shy of vendange tardive concentration, so don’t expect it to be dry!

$65.00 per bottle $702.00 per case


This gorgeous Pinot Blanc, one of Félix Meyer’s most ubiquitous cuvées, always manages to capture the perfect blend of exotic fruit and stony freshness that is the hallmark of all of his wines. Félix successfully packs (as usual) a lot of complexity into a very reasonably priced bottle that shows incredible versatility at table. I am always thrilled to find it on a by-the-glass wine list.

$19.95 per bottle $215.46 per case


A fifty/fifty blend of Muscat Ottonel and Muscat d’Alsace, this is the first Muscat Brand that has been produced at Boxler since the 2008 vintage. It is a truly breathtaking creation. The aromas are pure, soft, and ethereal, with an understated class that comes from the Ottonel. The palate is layered with white fruits, slightly smoky hints, and a heavy dose of granite minerality. Much like his Pinot Blanc Réserve from Brand, it shows its terroir in striking fashion. Dry Muscat doesn’t get any better than this (and, as I discovered with a 1959 the last time I was in the region, it is one of Alsace’s greatest agers).

$79.00 per bottle $853.20 per case

A for Alsace

by Julia Issleib, Beaune Office Manager


Let me be frank: Alsace rarely comes to my mind as the solution to the dilemma “What should we drink?” I’m a bit intimidated by the region’s complexity and variety, its many styles of wines and appellations. Yet, when I think back, I cannot remember a single time when an Alsatian bottle (de qualité, bien sûr) was a disappointment and didn’t go delightfully with the food.

So why not reach for Alsace more often? Put it back in its natural place at the top of the wine alphabet. We like to praise a wine region’s versatility, how there’s “something for everyone.” Nowhere is that more true than in Alsace.


Clearly, this Gentil is named after the older meaning of the word—noble. And noble it is: Riesling makes up 50% of the 2014, and 25% is Muscat. The nose is elegant and chalky, on a delicate base of rose petals. But it’s the palate of lychees, yellow raspberries, and chamomile that shows the full complexity of this dry, linear wine. You and your guests might forget your noble upbringing and fight over the last pour in the bottle. My solution: buy a case.

$18.00 per bottle $194.40 per case


Pinot Blanc is not considered one of the “noble” varieties in Alsace. Leave it to André Ostertag to give it the royal treatment in homage to its Burgundian origin. Indeed, this cuvée is aged in barrels, allowing the equal blend of Pinot Blanc and Auxerrois to develop unexpected power. The nose is delicately buttery, the palate rich; yellow peach and white flowers lead to a smoky finish.

$26.00 per bottle $280.80 per case


One whiff of this might make you want to plunge right into the glass. Once the wine hits your tongue . . . Nope, zingy lemon, delicate white flowers, rich mineral backbone, beautiful mouthwatering finish, incredible length . . . (though all true) will not come close to summing up the experience of enjoying this wine. How’s “Buy as much as you can get” for a tasting note? It’s a classic!

$85.00 per bottle $918.00 per case

February Newsletter: An Abundance of New Arrivals from Italy, White Burgundy, Beaujolais Blanc & Rouge

The February Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


by Dixon Brooke

Italian Vines

As I hope you’ve noticed, we have invested a lot of energy in revitalizing and growing our Italian portfolio over the past few years. It sure has been a lot of fun. We are just getting started, by the way, so please keep paying attention and help us in bringing you the best from this great land of riches!

Many in the wine world express surprise about our company’s roots in Italy. As far back as the 1970s, Kermit was a pioneer in the region, first importing to these shores what are now household names such as Vietti, Aldo Conterno, Cacchiano, and Gini. For whatever reasons—maybe the quality of the wine and cooking in Provence, Kermit’s home there, and his well-traveled circle of influence from Collioure in the west up to Beaune in the north and (most especially) up and down the Rhône River—KLWM developed a real focus on and expertise in French wine. Still, we never stopped importing Italian wine, and our love of the country, its people, its history and culture, and, of course, its incredible food and wine brought us back with a vengeance during the past decade.

As the New Year gets under way, here are a dozen great reasons to get better acquainted with our Italian selections. Let one of our salespeople help you unlock all of Italia’s glory with a personalized tour of our entire portfolio. Give us a call anytime. Salute!


by Dixon Brooke


Selling the ten cases we import per year of this wine may take more work than selling several thousand cases of Sancerre, but it continues to be totally worth it. For every person I introduce to the joys of Roussanne grown on the limestone scree slopes of the Savoyarde, his or her life will be more complete. This bottling is from the Quenards’ finest hillside parcel, fermented and aged in large oak foudres, and released a year after their other whites. Alpine freshness meets Mediterranean charm in an inimitable rendering of this lovely grape.

$35.00 per bottle $378.00 per case


Among the Quenard family’s many qualities, their mastery of the intriguing Mondeuse grape is one that I celebrate. Related to Refosco of northern Italy, Mondeuse from Savoie makes a medium-bodied, sleek, pleasantly structured, and peppery wine that is delicious and versatile. I enjoyed a mighty tasty bottle of their 2007 a few weeks ago; you don’t have to age it, but you certainly can. They’ve produced this bottling for years, aged in oak foudres like the Grand Rebossan Roussanne above. It is an imposing presence, with a delicate touch: the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove.

$29.00 per bottle $313.20 per case


Arbin is another village farther around and higher up the mountain from the Quenards’ home base in Chignin. A vintner they knew there who had worked his old vines by hand for decades was nearing retirement, so they paid him a visit a few years ago and earned the honor of continuing to work his land. High on the limestone slopes and pruned in the gobelet style of the Beaujolais (see the label), these beautifully gnarled old vines eke out a wine with much more finesse and delicacy than the Mondeuse from Chignin. Volnay to Pommard. Terres Brunes is a gorgeous effort from the Quenards, a steal for the price, and a welcome addition to their stable of fine alpine wines.

$32.00 per bottle $345.60 per case



by Anthony Lynch


Bordeaux is back on the rise after years of being shunned by sommeliers and other wine enthusiasts in favor of the novel, obscure, and often downright weird. Is it possible to be classic and trendy at the same time? Gombaude-Guillot, our beloved organic Pomerol grower, proves that it is not only possible but also truly exciting for all walks of the wine world. With incredible depth, power, and fine but grippingly youthful tannins, this is unmistakably Pomerol—in the style on which this great appellation built its reputation. Yet its rich, velvety texture and vivid fruit, suggesting blackberry and plum with an almost wild intensity, are certain to appeal to classically trained palates and thrill-seeking youths alike. Already approachable, the 2012 will improve for twenty years or more.

$75.00 per bottle $810.00 per case

Visit Venice

by Kermit Lynch

An importer of Italian wines, I have now and again found myself on the Italian wine route in need of some shut-eye. I try to pick nice places to relax instead of the more convenient autostrada hotels. Quality of life, that’s my motto. Occasionally I’ll wind up in Venice, a rather picturesque site if a little worse for wear and tear in certain quarters—evidently the sea is lapping away at its very foundations.

© Kermit Lynch

Heed my advice: my favorite visits to Venice have coincided with dreadful weather. One winter the lagoon was frozen, believe it or not, and the temperature enough below to freeze one’s nose off—good-bye, wine-tasting career! However, it was fabulous, because two pals and I had Venice almost to ourselves: empty canals, streets, hotels, and at one of Venice’s impossible-to-get-a-table restaurants, we were the only diners.

Then this past October, my wife and I encountered rain and high tides that flooded much of the town. It was still crowded, but bearable, everyone by necessity wearing knee-high rubber or plastic boots. Along with the art and scenery, we discovered a thriving food and wine scene. In case you go, that’s why I’m writing about it.

Most tourist-ridden sites worldwide are now geared toward the low airfare/tour bus/cruise ship crowds. Crowds, as in crowded. You walk the street one slow-motion step at a time, and even that is jarringly halted, because half the mob is stopping every two steps to take a selfie.

Hey, Mom, it’s me on the Rialto Bridge!

Oops, sorry, Mom, the press of the mob just pushed me over the railing.

© Kermit Lynch

The quality of the food sinks to mediocre and worse. The cooks must be thinking that they’ll never see a customer again, so why take any pains. Near Bandol, where Gail and I live several months of the year, we always cook at home now, because there is not one single restaurant we want to go back to. I had a terrible visit to Rome recently, a place I dearly loved: streets mobbed, tourists eating cheap, restaurants with no soul. And the Amalfi Coast. Yikes. Good luck. Best go in the winter, because the summer is torture despite the glorious landscape. Traffic jammed for miles, tourism become their sole income—bah, humbug!

But that’s not all. Cheap travel is great for égalité, but the result is the destruction of everything that attracts us in the first place, including the local cuisine. When égalité means mediocrity for one/mediocrity for all . . . well, there must be a better way.

Normally I explore and eat around a lot, but I liked a couple of restaurants in Venice so much, I would advise you to return again and again.

Trattoria Antiche Carampane is so off the beaten track, I almost gave up. I walked using Google Maps. Venetian alleys and streets make Google a blithering idiot. Countless times I found myself going in circles—swearing in circles, too.

It was worth it! Service with a smile, interesting collection of diners, unpretentious setting, superb selection of northern Italian whites (including Duline’s Malvasia Istriana), one delicious platter after another, mostly seafood, all local. They passed out a free starter, a paper cone filled with peanut-sized crispy fried shrimps, perfectly cooked. Every note seemed to hit just the right pitch. I wish I lived next door.

© Gail Skoff

My second fave rave: Alle Testiere on Calle del Mondo Novo. I’m sorry, but you can’t imagine how good warm, grilled white polenta tastes next to a cool ball of the best, least creamy baccalà of my life (baccalà is Italy’s brandade de morue). It is so delicious you might order it as your second and third courses, too, because when your plate is empty, you’ll experience a feeling akin to heartbreak. Luca is the perfect host and also author of the short, gem-filled wine list. When the lagoon was frozen, he’s the one who served me and my pals Duline’s Pinot Grigio—rare, expensive, fairly priced, hard to beat. Thank you, Luca, for that first, startling taste. At Testiere you should order both the cheese and the dessert courses, because they’re so good.

Pardon the digression, but I am convinced that Italian cheeses are now better, generally, than French. Same with charcuterie. The French and their bureaucratic fervor have dulled down both, waving the health flag as justification. Yes, both cheese and charcuterie are safely sterile nowadays, and (is it a coincidence?) produced by factories instead of small farmers. When it comes to food and wine—sorry, Big Brother—artisanal wins, and I’ll bet it is better for us, too.

Back to Luca at Alle Testiere—he gave me the address of a teensy wine bar near the Venice market. “Go to Al Merca,” he said. “Their wines by the glass are beautifully selected. I don’t know how they come up with them.” They also have delicious Venetian-style sandwiches. Alert: no chairs, no tables, no roof. I went three times, and now it’s my favorite Venetian snack bar.

Remember, seek out the periods when Venice weather is inclement and make sure it is not a school vacation week in Europe before making your plans. And, oh yes, reserve those restaurant tables way in advance.

A Call to Arms: Rosé All Year

by Anthony Lynch

American wine drinkers have come a long way in the past forty years. It may be difficult to recall—many of us were not even born, and perhaps we subconsciously blocked this dark age from our memories—but there was once a time, in this dearly beloved country of ours, when the average consumer would turn his nose up at the idea of drinking a rosé. Not macho, some said. And that’s not all: it took many years for us to embrace the virtues of good Beaujolais, or to even acknowledge anything other than a Bordeaux or a Burgundy—let alone an oxidative Jura Savagnin.

Progress is in our country’s DNA, and we cannot keep living in the past. That’s right: the time has come for us, as a nation, to start drinking rosé year-round. Our friends in Bandol would scoff at the idea of confining the most versatile and quaffable of wines to the summer months, and rightly so. Why deprive oneself of what is undoubtedly among life’s greatest pleasures?

We’ve put together a couple samplers for you as a reminder that rosé season is as perennial as evergreens and San Francisco fog. So in the name of progress, refreshment, and of course, joy…we urge you to heed this call to arms, by raising your glass of rosé to the sky and joining us in our year-long quest for pleasure, no matter what color it may come in.

January Newsletter: Surrounding the Alps, Rhône, and An Epic Vouvray

The January Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…



mountain SAMPLER >

by Anthony Lynch

Today we visit the Alps to discover a fascinating tradition of viticulture and winemaking. Grape growing has long held a sacred place in these mountain cultures, often as a necessary means of sustenance, since little else will grow in the poor, rocky soils that dominate. Beyond providing a livelihood to Alpine farmers, the wines in this sampler—produced along the rim of the French and Italian Alps—demonstrate that these terroirs, defined by high altitude and steep, rugged slopes, are capable of yielding remarkable wines of unique character.

Conditions are extreme: winters are harsh, summers can be very dry, and the intense daytime sun is matched only by often-frigid nighttime temperatures. Given the potential for violent storms, grape growers—as well as vines themselves—must be cold-hardy and resilient.

What does an Alpine wine taste like? This sampler will offer you an idea via whites and reds from Savoie, Valle d’Aosta, and Alto Adige. Expect vibrant acidities, vivid aromatics, a certain “mountain structure,” and minerals galore. Enjoy a discount on this sampler and savor your journey through these breathtaking mountains.

per bottle

2014 Chignin Blanc • A. & M. Quenard


2013 Grüner Veltliner • Manni Nössing


2014 Valle d’Aosta Fumin • Château Feuillet


2009 Alto Adige “Iugum” • Peter Dipoli


Normally $133.00

Special Sampler Price


(a 20% discount)


Manni Nössing’s Alpine vineyards in Bressanone, Alto Adige               © Gail Skoff


by Anthony Lynch


The Brunier brothers bottle this white Châteauneuf as a more accessible alternative to the exalted La Crau bottling. La Roquète is a completely different terroir—its sandy soils lend a softer edge to the Clairette, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne that make up the blend. Suggestive of molten rocks with a trace of honey and wildflowers, it can age but really aims to please in its tender youth.

$49.00 per bottle $529.20 per case


Serge Férigoule of Sang des Cailloux is the quintessential Provençal vigneron: his jovial, singing accent; generous, laid-back disposition; and silver handlebar mustache could come right out of a Marcel Pagnol film. His wines, accordingly, are a picture-perfect depiction of his home region, loaded with aromas of Provence and plenty of southern soul. This old-vines bottling is all about smoky garrigue, dense black fruit, taut leather, chewy tannins, and stones. It will provide an authentic Vacqueyras experience for many years.

$53.00 per bottle $572.40 per case


A few words from vigneron Louis Barruol on the lieu-dit Nève:

Nève is a fantastic, albeit little-known, terroir of Côte Rôtie. Located in the north of Ampuis on the lower part of the slope, its soils consist of decomposed red schist. It has an extraordinary capacity to display an intensely seductive nose—complex and full of refinement. There is always an ethereal quality.

Louis works exclusively with Serine, the ancient clone of Syrah known for low yields and a lovely aroma of violets. It ferments wild, stems and all, then the wine ages fifteen months in neutral barrels before an unfined and unfiltered bottling. The finesse here, along with its smoky, peppery, floral nuances, will resonate strongly with enthusiasts of traditionally crafted northern Rhône Syrahs.

$75.00 per bottle $810.00 per case


by Dixon Brooke




Kermit and I have had many discussions about the current state of affairs in Vouvray. Where are all the great wines? This once-thriving region of scores of masterful vintners seems very quiet these days. One wine stands pretty tall and proud to us: the Champalou family’s single-vineyard masterpiece, Le Portail. Planted on a chalk plateau right outside of their home and winery, the vines are pampered daily. The wine is aged in older demi-muids, does its malolactic fermentation, and is bottled without filtration. Many used to be made this way; almost none are today. This dry Chenin Blanc combines unctuous texture with chalky minerality and nervy acidity to create one hell of a classy package. Delicious now, it will continue to provide pleasure for more than a decade.

$38.00 per bottle $410.40 per case


Happy Birthday to Domaine Tempier’s Lulu Peyraud!


From Kermit

    Happy birthday dear Lulu, happy birthday to you. Ninety-eight years young and still warming so many of our hearts with the twinkle in your eyes—I wonder if you know how influential your positive attitude is to us lucky enough to have encountered you on our travels along life’s sometimes rocky road. You are to some, an educator, and your class is titled How To Enjoy Life. Well, I wonder, could there be any lesson more important than that? A big hug from me, Gail, Anthony, Marley, and all the staff at KLWM.
    AND YOU, dear staff, dear clients, should you have some birthday thoughts or memories for Domaine Tempier’s Lulu Peyraud, please, please, pretty please, send them along to us in English or French. We’ll translate if necessary and post them and of course make sure Lulu receives them. Simply leave a comment at the bottom of this post.
    And any of you with a bottle of Domaine Tempier around the house, Dec. 11 is a good day for pulling a cork and raising your glass to the unforgettable, irresistible, irrepressible Lulu Peyraud.

Here today, Morgon Tomorrow

by Anthony Lynch


An expedition to the Beaujolais last summer found the KLWM gang in fine form. Not only were the vignerons excited about the grand potential of the upcoming 2015 harvest, but also they reveled in the outcome of their 2014s, a vintage that began with some question marks but has finally yielded one delicious answer. Many among them described the resulting wines as très Beaujolais: that is, dominated by buoyant aromas of bright fruit, agile on the palate, and eminently drinkable. This month we feature three new arrivals from two of Morgon’s most reputable producers—be sure to satisfy your deepest Beaujolais desires before we are all sold out.


P’tit Max, as he is known, works some of Morgon’s highest-altitude vineyards, so much so that he harvests almost two weeks later than the average for the appellation. The word ethereal always comes to mind when tasting his wines, perhaps due to the cool microclimate that ensures lifting acidity year after year. He is also blessed with some very old vines, many of which are more than 120 years old. This age may explain the wine’s impressive structure, a granite constitution that provides a foundation for all the lively fruit mentioned above. It finishes with a mouthful of spices and a touch of funk—the kind that will make you want to get up and dance like James Brown.

$33.00 per bottle $356.40 per case

2014 MORGON • M. & C. LAPIERRE >

Mathieu Lapierre’s Morgon is just in! Beaujolais addicts around the country can breathe a collective sigh of relief—just call the store today to get your fix. Each vial contains a healthy dose of the finest fermented Gamay from the decomposed granite soils of Morgon. Our staff found the 2014 especially slippery, and by that I mean it has a tendency to slide right down your gullet no matter how hard you try to stop it. Silky and perfumed, with no rough edges, this is dangerously swallowable.

$34.00 per bottle $367.20 per case

2014 MORGON “marcel LAPIERRE”
m. & C. lapierre >

From vines over one hundred years old on Morgon’s splendid Côte du Py, this cuvée spéciale reinforces everything we love about Beaujolais while simultaneously shattering all the usual preconceptions about Gamay. The texture is pure velvet, to the point that you may forget about swallowing, it feels so good to swish it around over your palate. There is substance, flesh, serious density yet it is delivered with total finesse, seductiveness, even sexiness. While some might argue the price is high for a simple Gamay, I would counter that it is just right for a world-class wine that will entice and inspire for many years to come.

$48.00 per bottle $518.40 per case

December Newsletter: Values of the Month, White Burgundy

The December Newsletter is now available.

Click here to download the pdf.

Highlights from this month’s newsletter…


selected by kermit lynch

by Dixon Brooke

We’ve got two Kermit Lynch custom selections here, an old friend and a new face. We are excited about having a white selection out of Italy, even more so since it is from an area we rarely travel—the Marche region along the Adriatic coast, due east from Tuscany. Whites that deliver this much pleasure and value are elusive.


For those long familiar with our French portfolio, I’ll call this wine the Muscadet of Italy. With its inviting aromatics of yellow fruits, cut grass, and sea breeze, its dark straw yellow robe, and its pleasant roundness coupled with bright acidity, briny salinity, and invigorating finish, this checks all my boxes for well-made, traditional Melon de Bourgogne from the Sèvre et Maine. But it’s not. It is Italian to the core, from a region with a centuries-old tradition of growing the great Verdicchio grape, and makes an excellent apéritif or a tasty and fitting accompaniment to seafood and light pastas. Buon appetito.

$12.00 per bottle $129.60 per case


For decades, this reliable red wine has been one of our company’s calling cards. Maybe it is because Kermit has spent so much of his life in this area of France, steeped in its cultural, culinary, and vinous traditions. This bottling is kind of like an extension of his personality, and certainly of his habits at table. First of all, the drinkability factor. Here medium-bodied is not an insult—au contraire. Then the flavors: think of sun-baked, Provençal hillsides with their fruit trees and olive groves and (of course) vineyards, growing in fertile earth that hides pungent black truffles. Also, understand that we have the same requirements for value wine as for any wine we import: flawless, well-made, with character and sense of place, enjoyable to drink at table, providing pleasure (the deliciousness factor). Kermit has never hesitated to work as hard, or to express as much interest and giddy excitement, for a simple Côtes du Rhône or Beaujolais as he has for the most reputed grand crus. That is the culture he created at KLWM and one that we will never relinquish. We hope you enjoy our little Côtes du Rhône.

$12.95 per bottle $139.86 per case


by Anthony Lynch

2014 CHABLIS • francine et olivier SAVARY >

The Savary family consistently produces Chablis so classic you could look up the flavor profile on Wikipedia. Their 2014 truly tastes how Chablis should taste: an unmistakable product of soil and grape inimitable anywhere else in the world. You’ll appreciate the Savary for its typicité as well as the righteous price point.

$24.00 per bottle $259.20 per case


The Roberts are onto something very special in the rolling hills of the Mâconnais, crafting wines with a level of purity and drive that all Chardonnays should aspire to achieve. The first step is a diligent selection of terroirs: the lieu-dit in question here, La Croix, features rocky schist soils home to eighty-five-year-old vines. In the cellar, the wine ferments slowly with natural yeasts and ages in barrel for almost two years untouched on its fine lees. Finally, it is bottled unfiltered with a minimal sulfur dose. The 2013 edition comes out rich, generous, and toothsome, with layer upon layer of orchard fruit, flowers, and a subtle creaminess. Upheld by an intense, biting, stony sensation, this masterpiece will drink beautifully for many years.

$44.00 per bottle $475.20 per case


How about a grand cru you can dive into right away? This young Chablis will offer loads of pleasure should you choose to indulge tonight. I suggest a bit of aeration or decanting to optimize the experience; then immerse yourself in its unctuous Chardonnay fruit, fleshy, mouth-filling texture, and long finish suggestive of sweet butter and sea salt. It is a rich Chablis with an alluring lavishness, which I expect will slim down to show its mineral bones as the years go by.

$75.00 per bottle $810.00 per case

Visit the Loire

by Kermit Lynch

During my recent visit to the Chinon/Bourgueil region for tastings, I couldn’t help thinking of my readers and clients, and how much you might enjoy the same trip, but as a vacation. You will discover a special charm and dynamic. There is a lot of great old stuff to see—the plentiful historic châteaux, for example—and exciting current developments, like the increasingly organic and biodynamic wine and food scene.

The French call Corsica l’Île de Beauté, and their nickname for the Loire is Le Jardin de France. Every house and property appears to have its own flower and vegetable garden, which seem as thriving as gardens can be. Flowers, fruits, and vegetables galore!

To get there, you can fly to Nantes from London or Paris; rent a car and Bourgueil is only a two-hour drive from the airport by autoroute. Or meander on the small riverside routes for a more scenic, bucolic experience. Stop in Savennières and visit our producer, Château d’Epiré—beautiful village, lovely winery in the château’s rustic chapel, and the broad, shallow Loire River outside your car window.


The Loire’s Château d’Ussé inspired Walt Disney © Kermit Lynch

Or take the TVG from Paris to Tours (only 59 minutes), rent a car, and start your vacation across the river in Vouvray. Then drive west along the Loire on D952 toward Bourgueil and its glorious Cabernet Francs.

Stay at the eighteenth-century Château de Rochecotte in Saint-Patrice. I’ve enjoyed it for a decade or two. It provides about forty acres of garden, park, and forest to explore on foot. The restaurant isn’t bad if you don’t feel like venturing out, but my delicious Vouvray from Domaine Champalou, 2010, was not flattered by an overcooked slice of swordfish. Better dining awaits elsewhere. And anyway, there are no swordfish in the Loire.

I also spent a couple of nights in Restigné at a chambre d’hôte called La Dixmeresse. I generally avoid chambres d’hôtes because of a few experiences with intrusive hosts, but Bruno and Valérie seemed to value their solitude as much as I do mine.

We import wine from four domaines around there: Joguet, Breton, Baudry, and Chanteleuserie. All would be happy to see you. Be sure to check out Domaine Breton’s website for regional lodging and cuisine.

Between Bourgueil and Chinon, you’ll be thrilled to see an enormous nuclear power plant steaming away, ignoring the catastrophe that, the French are assured, will never happen.

Never mind. Chinon has a lovely center of old buildings dominated by the visitable ruins of the Château de Chinon, with its Joan of Arc and Richard the Lionheart connections.

Nearby, on the banks of the Loire, are the two villages Candes-Saint-Martin and Montsoreau. Walk their narrow streets—there aren’t many, but it’s a treat. At the west end of Montsoreau, go up a street or two from the Loire and turn right. A little path leads you alongside the chalk cliff in which habitations still exist. The cliff has doors and windows, plus deep caves where building blocks were excavated centuries ago. The caves come in handy today for aging wines, which can live longer than we do.

Candes has a good restaurant with about eight tables, right below the village’s Catholic church. The grilled cèpes were perfect in front of the fireplace on a cold, foggy night, and I had a heart-poundingly lovable dessert, mainly because the raspberries were the best I’ve ever tasted. Maybe I’m easy to please. The place is called the Auberge de la Route d’Or, and it is reasonably priced.


At Montsoreau near Chinon © Kermit Lynch

Back around 1980, Charles Joguet took me to the Bourgueil vineyards to taste at Domaine Lame-Delisle-Boucard, and I imported their wines for two or three years. I decided to drop in and say hello, and found that the current winemaker, Philippe Boucard, is the grandson of the fellow who was making the wines when I initially visited. Philippe pulled out all of the stops, uncorking his grandfather’s 1976, 1964, 1959, and 1947 Bourgueil reds. The 1964, especially, was a thoroughbred. But the most remarkable for me was the 1949 rosé. Yes! Still full of life, with ravishing aromas and a fleshy texture. We spent some time swallowing that one. It was vinified in an oak foudre and completed its malo, which is how Lucien Peyraud made Domaine Tempier’s Bandol rosé and is still the best recipe.

About fifty yards downhill from Philippe’s frigid limestone cellar, I found a gem of a restaurant and returned several times. Again, only a few tables and you feel like you are in someone’s home, which you are. Vincent and Olivia Simon do it right. Their luscious vegetable garden is outside the window, all organic, as are their chickens, ducks, guinea hens, and rabbits.

In the past, Vincent was a wine importer in Belgium and worked in a three-star restaurant. He and Olivia dreamed of a better day-to-day existence. They grew more and more passionate about changing. Then, to hell with profit, status, stability—they were after a certain quality of life. (We could use a new political party in the U.S. devoted to its citizens’ quality of life.) They are bursting with smiles after buying a farm in Bourgueil, and I was about to burst from overeating—not to mention the wine list, which had too many temptations. Try as I might, I didn’t get to the 1999 Clos des Papes Châteauneuf-du-Pape at 95 euros. At a restaurant today in Bandol, I saw the 2012 Gros ’Noré at 72 euros, so you see what a giveaway the 1999 Châteauneuf was. Several Raveneau Chablis were available for a song, too.

The eggs en meurette (a red wine sauce with lardons and little onions) were a treat—eggs from their chickens, bien sûr! Their garden salad seemed plucked leaf by leaf from a huge variety of leafy greens. And the rabbit in rosé wine had just the right hint of mustard and was the best rabbit I’ve ever tasted. Another best ever? Vincent’s chocolate cake.

Their restaurant is Vincent Cuisinier de Campagne. I’m sitting here writing this thinking you should go. And who knows, but I’ll bet you become forever clients of our great Chinon and Bourgueil selections—the best there are, and they are here in Berkeley for your quality of life.

orn-1.1Interested in discovering some Loire wines? We have a special sampler this month featuring a diverse selection from across the Loire…


Faithful, open-minded clients have kept us in the Loire Valley wine business for years. As a sort of tribute to those of you who have supported and enjoyed these wines, we’ve assembled a diverse collection from across the Loire. Note the classics: Chinon from Joguet, Savennières from Epiré, Vouvray from Champalou. To dig a little deeper, we’ve included a single-vineyard Muscadet, a Sancerre rouge (made from Pinot Noir), and a rare Pinot Gris bottling from the village of Reuilly. Most of you must already be aware of the pleasure these wines deliver and the bountiful character that the Loire has to offer. Newcomers, you are in for a treat—at a discount!