By The Glass
Legendary Lynch due in isles for wine tasting
IT WAS about this time last year that I thought I might be in the doghouse. I had promised not to travel for the rest of the year, but in the immortal words of Marsha Brady, "something suddenly came up."
That something important was the Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant trade show in San Francisco. Fortunately, my wife understood. "Well, you have to go then," she said.
In 1972, when Lynch opened the doors to his operation, he was on a journey of discovery. Through his newsletters and musings; experiences, friendships and poetic sensibilities; he captured the essence of wine and led the way for many.
Lynch made his mark initially by focusing on importing wines from small-production French wineries. Managing quality by shipping in temperature-controlled containers kept wines fresh on the monthlong voyage from Europe. He treasured unique wines with character vs. bold and powerful ones -- always with quality, value and food-friendly gulpability in mind.
These days, if you ask any serious wine collector about Lynch's selections, they'll marvel at the multifaceted Meursault of Francois Jobard, the amazing Corton Charlemagne of J.F. Coche-Dury, the chiseled Chablis of Francois Raveneau, the majestic Chinon of Charles Joguet and the noble Hermitage Gerard Chave crafts.
To the experienced, the Lynch portfolio has become a benchmark of outstanding value.
Lynch has received accolades: Wine Professional of the Year from the James Beard Foundation, Chevalier de l'Ordre de Mérite Agricole from the French government. His book, "Adventures on the Wine Route" (in its 11th printing) won the Veuve Clicquot Wine Book of the Year Award.
ON APRIL 3, Lynch will be on Oahu for a reception and tasting of his favorite French wines, a prelude to a private ceremony to be held later this year in which Lynch will be awarded the insignia of Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur from the by the French government.
The Legion d'Honneur is France's highest decoration, created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. It is awarded for gallantry in military action or distinguished service that enhances the culture and reputation of France through arts, politics, scholarship, sciences or other accomplishments.
In the world of American food and wine, Lynch joins recipients Robert M. Parker Jr., Robert Mondavi and Julia Child as an awardee. Other Americans to receive the honor include Charles Lindbergh, Leonard Bernstein, Martin Scorsese, Duke Ellington, Josephine Baker, Gregory Peck, Jerry Lewis, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Sharon Stone and Ronald Reagan.
Ceaselessly in search of quality, Lynch partnered with the Brunier family (Domaine Vieux Telegraphe, Chateauneuf-du-pape) a few years ago to produce an outstanding gigondas wine at the co-owned Domaine Les Pallieres winery in France.
When not at his home base of Berkeley, Calif., on the wine route in Europe or in his home in the Southern region of Provence, France, Lynch spends a little time here in Hawaii -- as he owns a home on the eastern shore of Oahu.
For information on the Kermit Lynch tasting, e-mail Kevin.Toyama@Halekulani.com.
Kevin Toyama is a sommelier at the Halekulani and an advanced certificate holder from the Court of Master Sommeliers.
This column is a weekly lesson in wine pairing written by a rotating panel of wine professionals. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org