A Tribute to Jim Harrison


by Michael Butler

We are happy to be offering copies of the delightful new book of essays by my literary hero Jim Harrison, many of which were originally published in this newsletter. I had the great pleasure of being Jim’s salesman here at Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant and working as liaison between him and Kermit for the newsletter. Our wines became characters in his stories, and he became friends with our producers. Jim wrote about visits to Christine Campadieu at Domaine La Tour Vieille and Lulu Peyraud at Domaine Tempier as well as about food and drink and the natural world.

Jim and I had a mutual passion for wine, birds, and fly-fishing, and I was lucky enough to share a number of memorable meals with him here in the Bay Area, at his casita in Arizona, and at his place up in Montana. Jim was a lifelong hunter and fisherman and enjoyed the fruits of those labors.

Many of the essays in A Really Big Lunch describe Michelin-starred extravaganzas, but I believe Jim’s appetites were actually more suited to the copious yet simple meals he and his beloved Linda made at home.

One meal in Patagonia, Arizona, began with us sitting in Jim and Linda’s backyard, watching birds visit the many feeders they maintained along Sonoita Creek while drinking Domaine Tempier’s Bandol Rosé and plucking the Montezuma quail Jim had shot the day before. Dinner started with those delicious quail—which had been browsing on upland sage and wood sorrel only the day before—grilled to perfection and paired with a youngish Les Pallières Gigondas.

The main course was pan-fried elk that a friend of Jim’s had shot up near Flagstaff and FedExed down, accompanied by polenta and sautéed chard and a couple of bottles of 1988 Domaine Tempier Bandol La Tourtine. I got to sit back and listen to the great man speak, reciting entire poems and passages by favorite authors… Jim, I hear your voice in every essay in this book.

Find it in our retail shop.


the roving gourmand on food and life

by Jim Harrison