Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France
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Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France

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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  246 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Kermit Lynch's recounting of his experiences on the wine route and in the wine cellars of France takes the reader through the Loire, Bordeaux, the Languedoc, Provence, Northern and Southern Rhone, and the Cote d'Or.""
Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 1st 1990 by North Point Press (first published October 1st 1988)
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Melissa
This a book for those who love wine and like to read about it from someone who is a master with prose, and also someone who, like me, confuses my limited knowledge of French language, geography, and wine growing regions. Written in the late-1980s, Kermit Lynch does not delve into pretentious, uppity musings on elite wines, but focuses on the purity of how a sense of place and its people translates into its wine. (There's a fabulous passage about how the male winemaker's wine often reflects the t...more
Andrew Schirmer
At a recent wine tasting we were comparing notes on the bottlings we liked best--can there be any surprise they were all Kermit Lynch imports, including one from his touchstone producer, Domaine Tempier? These wines all embodied a certain kind of honesty, integrity, and truth to form, especially the Tempier. Indeed, it is the philosophy of Tempier--hard work, graciousness, respect for tradition, and innovation that is at the heart of this wonderful, wonderful book.

"Adventures on the Wine Route"...more
Courtney
Jan 22, 2008 Courtney rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: francophiles, winos, anti-globalists,
Shelves: wine, favorites
I don't think I would have enjoyed this book nearly as much were I not already quite familiar with the wines and wine regions of France, and the wine industry in general. When he tells about drinking a Vouvray from the 40s, my mouth watered. When he tells about his first meeting with the Bruniers, I thought of the several bottles of Vieux Telegraphe I've been lucky enough to have drunk, and the wine grew even richer in my memory.

However, even if you are not a seasoned wino, the many annecdotes...more
Studebhawk
A Love Story on Wine

Written by a wine professional, Kermit Lynch wrote an ode to the fine art of wine making for us all to enjoy. In the process, he wrote of a time and place in France that has changed dramatically 25 years later. His French contacts are the small family owned vineyards that produce high quality, small yield old growth wine using the old French traditional methods. In the update written for the 25th anniversary edition, he brings us up to date with some of the characters we love...more
Dvora
I always thought there was more to the appreciation of wine than what I knew (either I like it or I don't). This book didn't teach me how to appreciate it more, but it taught me that I had a lot to learn and that if I did learn, it would give me great pleasure. Anyway, I'm from Berkeley and had shopped a couple of times in the author's wineshop (years before I read the book).
Claire
This book gives readers a real sense of what French vineyards are really like. I loved the atmosphere of the book that Lynch imparted as he guided readers through the main wine regions of France. It definitely made me want to get back to France soon! I was impressed that such a famous wine guru would also be such a good writer. I feel like I learned a lot from Lynch about what makes a great wine. I have two caveats about the book. The first is that it would be extremely helpful to have a good un...more
Terrance Gelenter
You only need one book about French wine and this is it.
Evan Hansen
This might be THE must-read travelogue for wine lovers. Before Kermit Lynch was something of an empire unto himself, he discovered some truly great, characterful wines and brought them to Americans. This book describes some of the earliest travels in Lynch's career and his "discovery" of great producers like Jouguet, Chave, and Tempier.

Should you not be a wine lover, I suspect the descriptions of places, flavors, and bottles from library cellars won't captivate you as much as it did me, but it's...more
Richard Toscan
A marvelously written record of Kermit Lynch's trips in the 1970's and 80's through the wine regions of France - I can almost taste the wines he's sampling. You don't need a wine cellar to enjoy the personalities he encounters. It also seems as though he's chronicling the displacement of "natural" wine techniques (walnut and oak barrels, no SO2) used for centuries by small vintners. What those techniques are being replaced with are chemistry-driven high-volume approaches, often by the sons of th...more
Kara
This is a classic wine book. I enjoyed his stories of dealing with the wine growers/producers of France. Even though the book is twenty-five years old it still feels relevant. Kermit Lynch's descriptions of the different wine regions makes you feel you want to get over there and explore. I do believe there have been many changes over the years but there are still amazing things to find if you love wine. I liked the update on the people that are introduced.
Joe
What did I think? I thought this book was terrifically written and I know Mr. Lynch imports terrific wine (eg Château Graville-Lacoste). I laughed out loud in nearly every section as he recounts his experiences with vignerons and French restaurateurs. Great sense of wine philosophy in this book as well. Highly recommended especially if you think 100-point rating scales are useless.
Bryn Dole
There is no doubt this book was groundbreaking in its day (25 years ago). Today? Not so much.

If you're want to read about the "quirky" French, A Year in Provance is a much better book.

Lynch uses much of the book to preach his natural wine beliefs. They must have sounded rather controversial back in the 90s. Now in a post-organic food movement his ideas are much less radical.

I was more than a little put off by the travel guide parts of the book. Interspersed between stories of yet another quirk...more
Hillcloptushome.com.au
I read this book with a view to learning about French Wine and wine regions of which I know very little. It was a very entertaining read. I like Kermit's strong views on modern wine making in contrast to the traditionalists. I doubt very much that many of these wines would be available in Australia though it provided for me an entertaining introduction to the various wine makers and regions of France.
Mark Wang
i don't have the palate for wine that kermit lynch has... i'm not even sure that kermit lynch has the palate that "kermit lynch" has.

can he tell the year a neighboring apricot orchard was ripped out by the aromas of different vintages? or the vigneron's wife's personality based on the longevity of subtle flavor nuances? can he *really* trace the origin of grapes specific to a single hill in ALL of france - by taste alone?

whether he can, or can't is irrelevant - because the story of a man with t...more
Mike
Oct 14, 2007 Mike rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: wine
Kranky old Kermit is my kind of guy, one of the punk rock hippie guys of wine. As an importer and a co-owner of a winery, he puts his money where his mouth is, passing up many easily marketable "products" in favor of wines of integrity.

Here, we get to accompany Kermit in this pan-French quest from the mid-80s, and we get to meet some amazing people along the way (back then, with vineyards and cellars getting ever more industrialized, it was hugely brave for growers to commit themselves to making...more
Ryan
More travel writing than a "wine" book ... though you will get a very distinct perspective on what wine should, but often fails, to be. And the writing is good ... irreverent and intelligent. For example: "Aside from bombing runs and the local little cheese biscuits called gougeres, wine is the only reason to go to Chablis. [...] Loving Chablis is like falling in love with a frigid floozy. You begin to wonder if the rewards are worth the heartbreak and deception." Much better than discussions of...more
Michael
I read this book right after Mike Steinberger's new book, so it's impossible to not compare them.

Steinberger's book is an educational one, filled with facts and reasoned debate.

Lynch will have none of it. This is a pure romance, treating wine as an artistic endeavor.

Steinberger's is a book of the head, this is a book of the heart.

If you are in love with wine (or want to be), this is a must-read.
Scott
Jun 28, 2014 Scott added it
Dated. Still excellent.
Rory Litwin
Loved this. Made me want to drink more wine and buy wine from Kermit Lynch's store or join his wine club.
Josh Sinton
Prose can get a bit purple for my tastes, but fascinating information on the beginnings of the natural-wine movement in the U.S. Important information on many of the great wine-growing reagions in France. Great character sketches as well. Definitely a bit dated (the book was published 20 years ago) so not all the information is accurate. You can find some traditional Beaujolais now and much of the Northern Rhone is developed for rather-expensive Syrahs for example.
Amy
This is another interesting wine book (also just read Neal Rosenthal's "Reflections of a Wine Merchant"). I liked Rosenthal's book better because he reveals more of the personal side of his struggle to establish himself and find good wines, Lynch is more aloof and self-assured. But, they mirror one another in their mutual disdain for large commercial vintages designed to appeal to the masses and the unfortunate trend of smaller vignerons towards the latter.
Colleen
The only thing I disliked about this book was the fact that it was written so long ago. It must have been a great book when it was released, but there's a lot of vintage-specific information and also information about producers in France in the 80s. I'd love to see an update. Still a fun read. Lynch tries hard to make you not jealous of his traipsing around France, but he fails. :)
Michelle
Yes, this is the only wine book I have ever read, but I also think it is the only one I could ever read. His writing is lovely, so conversational, and he isn't afraid of meandering around outside of the vineyards. (If you've ever looked at other wine books, this is saying a lot.) I learned a lot, and it made me really, really thirsty.
Christopher
Kermit Lynch has some of the best selections of evenly priced wines, and he has an amazing way of capturing his enthusiasm for wine in his travels across france exploring some of the most classic wine growing regions. A really fun, entertaining, toilet readable book in short segments and its a wine education along the way.
Jeff Burrows
A wonderful read. Written in 1988, it is still vital and interesting today. Kermit takes you on a tour of France through his travels to visit winemakers. You learn about natural, traditional winemaking, and what makes wine personal. Lots of really good advice woven into a very personal account.
Kenneth
I read some other reviews that this was a bit dated- but I didn't think so and really appreciated a lot of the information, especially as it was delivered anecdotally. I'll be paying slightly more attention to my next few vineyard visits and more importantly when buying imported bottles.
Shannon
It usually wouldn't be much fun to read a whole book about someone else's wine tastings, but Kermit Lynch manages to weave entertaining anecdotes with interesting facts, making this a great read and a good education in French wine.
Pattie
This book makes one appreciate all the wonders of growing vines and the vinification process. Amazing how one little honeybee and a cluster of flowers influences the outcome of a varietal.
Nicole Ruiz Hudson
A fun read for wine geeks, but some wine knowledge is a definite plus. For my part, really enjoyed visiting all these regions and wine cellars vicariously.
Gabriel
A wonderful look into the real wines of France. A window to a world that is quickly disappearing. Makes me want to pack up and go.
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“His disdain for the contagious fad of blind and comparative tastings of unrelated wines will surely rub some furs the wrong way, as will his indifference to the New-Oak-Cabernet-Sauvignon global boom. Tant mieux …” 0 likes
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