Kermit Lynch Wines
|Course||Pairing / Description||Wine|
|Hors D' Oeuvres||
Chicken Malibu Skewers (Crispy Sesame And Coconut Breading With Sweet Chili And Lemon Aioli)
New Orleans Style Crawfish Stuffed Mushroom Caps (Roasted Trinity Vegetables And Cream Cheese)
When tasting the wines of Denis Jamain, it is clear that the appellation of Reuilly, in the eastern Loire, is experiencing a renaissance, moving far beyond its former status as the “poor man’s Sancerre.” This land was once a source of great pride, having been part of a gift of the 7th century king, Dagobert, to the Royal Abbey of Saint Denis. Phylloxera had ravaged the majority of the vineyards here in the late 19th century, but Camille Rousseau (Denis’ maternal grandfather) had faith in the future of Reuilly. In 1935, he planted his first vines here, in addition to farming a large oak forest on the outskirts of town. Denis shares his grandfather’s passion for the vineyards and the forest, as well as his hometown pride. Though he studied in the United States and speaks excellent English, this charismatic and friendly gentleman wanted nothing more than to return home to take over the family domaine. In 1990, Denis began adding to the family holdings. Today, he farms a total of seventeen hectares in the heart of the appellation, with eleven planted to Sauvignon Blanc, four planted to Pinot Noir, and two planted to Pinot Gris, which makes his superb and distinctive Reuilly rosé. The soils here are rich, resting on the prized Kimmeridgian limestone, a geological chain that connects the Loire Valley with Chablis in Burgundy. This limestone is valued for its high content of marine and shell fossils dating back 150 million years ago to the Jurassic period. These minerals are without equal for producing some of the most beautiful whites in France. Denis has been practicing sustainable agriculture for many years and has recently started the conversion process for organic certification. Though he uses both stainless steel tanks and oak, Denis is very proud to be able to select special oaks from his grandfather’s forest to make his barrels. This is the concept of “local” in its purest form. Reuilly is in Sauvignon Blanc territory, an ancient winemaking village that today has only about 300 acres in vines. Pierres Plates is from a specific vineyard with Chablis-like soil full of chalk, fossils and sea shells. Try to imagine Sancerre grown at Chablis. The Sauvignon Blanc grapes are hand-harvested from a specific organically-farmed vineyard with Chablis-like soil full of chalk, fossils and sea shells, and are subject to 3-4 day cold maceration prior to fermentation. Fermentation takes place for 15 days with indigenous yeast and daily punch-downs and pump-overs. The wine is aged in oak barrels, made from trees owned by the winemaker. The fruit is lively, with white flower perfumes, citrus and Chablis-like minerality. It has finesse and precision. Notice the first impression on the palate, which is of fresh, cushiony, Sancerre-like Sauvignon Blanc. Then, immediately, there is a firmness, a stony firmness that appears from within the wine. Let’s call it Terroir to the Rescue, because a wine with nothing but pure fruit seems banal.
|Reuilly Blanc Pierre Plates 2013
Organic Spring Mix & Mango Salad (Roasted Green Apple And Wildflower Honey Vinaigrette, Spiced Walnuts And Danish Havarti Cheese)
Aubert de Villaine deserves the accolades he receives. He is a reluctant hero, an unlikely trait in a man of such accomplishment, intellect, and inherent sense of noblesse. Heir to one of the most enviable wine legacies of all time, Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, the young Aubert was more interested in literature and law than wine. After spending time in New York working for an importer of Burgundian wines, he finally returned home in the mid-nineteen sixties to assume his role as codirector of DRC. In the 1970s, Aubert and his American wife, Pamela, sought less pedigreed pastures to call home. They finally settled in the village of Bouzeron, well-situated between Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay, Rully, and Mercurey, in the Côte Chalonnaise. However high profile his day job, Aubert still considers himself a vigneron like any other, and Bouzeron’s off-the-beaten-path location left him alone to make his own wines without the demands of upholding an international reputation. The domaine was horribly rundown when the de Villaines took over, but years of studying this unique terroir have made them pioneers in one of the last forgotten enclaves of Burgundy. The monks of the great abbey of Cluny first planted vines here in the twelfth century, leaving a legacy that has endured for centuries. Consequently, the grape varietal that reigns supreme today is the dry, white Aligoté - an unusual celebrity given its work-horse reputation in the middle of Chardonnay country. Bouzeron boasts the best Aligoté in Burgundy, the Aligoté Doré, (instead of the lesser clone, Aligoté Vert) which gives smaller yields to produce wines with more expressive aromatics. Although the grape was overlooked until 1979 when it first earned the appellation Bourgogne Aligoté de Bouzeron, the I.N.A.O. finally upgraded the appellation to A.O.C. Bouzeron in 1997, largely due to Aubert’s advocacy over the years. Aubert’s single vineyard Bourgognes, both in blanc and rouge, are equally outstanding representations of the unlikely pedigree found in this corner of the region. The de Villaines farm three appellations within the Côte Chalonaise, namely Bouzeron (Aligoté), Rully (Chardonnay) and Mercurey (Pinot Noir). Their single-vineyard parcels are stunning examples of what this complex and amazing terroir can yield. Though their wines are quite enjoyable young, their ability to age well is what one might expect from a master such as de Villaine. Much of this is due to both the diversity of his vinestock and his organic and biodynamic methodology in the vineyards, both of which Aubert stands by with great conviction. He also ferments his Mercureys in wood cuves, a style adopted from DRC. Pierre de Benoist, Aubert’s nephew, currently directs the domaine, upholding the sense of tradition, excellence, and standards for which it has become so well-known. In 2010, Aubert was awarded Decanter Magazine’s prestigious “Man of the Year” Award, a distinction that, unsurprisingly, the modest Aubert seemed reluctant to accept. In general, their style of fermentation depends exclusively on the quality of the grapes that enters the cellar. The balance and vibrancy in these wines comes from the quality of the grapes, the level of maturity, their cleanliness, and the quality of the skin. If everything is in balance, the wines will express their village of origin to reveal their native terroir. The grapes, from 50 year old vines, are picked by parcel, and each parcel is pressed separately in a pneumatic press. The must is cold soaked in stainless steel for 24-36 hours, then transferred to wooden casks of 750-1000 gallons (30-40 hectolitres) for fermentation and aging. Aging is 10-12 months, with both fermentation and aging taking place at 20-22oC. The wine is fermented and aged on its lees (bits of the skins and yeast left over after fermentation) for one year, and the wine is typically never stirred. The wine, 100% Aligote Dore, has an intensely fresh, lemony nose, a round, mouth-filling structure, and a long finish. There is a good balance between the crisp acidity and the wine’s wonderful, silky feeling on the tongue, with a mixture of mineral and citrus flavors. It has a brilliant clarity, and a light-green color with golden hues.
|A&P Devillaine Bouzeron Aligote 2013
Herb & Black Pepper Seared Wild Salmon (Sweet Onion, Smoked Paprika And Bacon Braised Brussel Sprouts)
Even after many successful years practicing his craft, fourth-generation vigneron Michel Chignard claims to be a novice. He is a modest man, kind and courteous, but in every aspect of his winemaking one clearly sees a passionate perfectionist. In 2007, Michel turned the management of the family domaine over to his son Cédric, who is carrying on this philosophy with great pride and has already managed to prove himself in his first few vintages. The Chignard family is also blessed with vineyards in one of the best sites of the Fleurie appellation, Les Moriers, an arrowhead-shaped parcel that juts right down into Moulin-à-Vent vines. Their eight hectares of vineyards are over sixty years old, keeping yields naturally low. These old-vine root systems also run very deep, accessing minerals from the granite subsoil and giving Chignard’s Fleurie a trademark goût de terroir and great freshness. While many critics attribute Michel’s success to the soil, Kermit would argue that his traditionalist stance on vineyard management and winemaking is essential to craft such great wines. As ardent defenders of traditional Beaujolais methods, the Chignards take a minimalist approach in both the vineyards and the cellar. The finished wines couldn’t be more reflective of Les Moriers’ splendid location: light and playful, with deep, ripe fruit and finesse. The Chignard's have recently started making wine from another Beaujolais cru, Juliénas, which produces a beautiful, high-toned wine in keeping with the style of the domaine. La Revue du Vin claims that the aromas from their wines evoke memories of the great Chambolle-Musignys from Burgundy, to the North…but who’s to say, maybe they got it reversed. This is not simply a Fleurie, it is Fleurie “Les Moriers,” and les Moriers is a steep vineyard that penetrates down into the Moulin-à-Vent zone. The result is like a marriage of the two. Bright, focused, and energetic, the fruit-filled 2012 “Fleurie Les Moriers" reflects its outstanding terroir with good concentration and a depth not usually found in the wines of Fleurie. 100% Gamay grapes, this Beaujolais carries the aromas of, plum, bramble, cranberry, and the scent of wild sweet strawberries and plum skin. It's dry on the palate, medium body, lush and vivid, with great cut and precision. The vines average 60 years old and the wines are made with incredible attention to detail. All grapes are harvested by hand. Vinification is natural, in keeping with the local tradition, including whole cluster fermentation, and vatting for 6 to 8 days before pressing. Fermentation takes place in stainless steel and cement tanks. The wine is aged in old oak casks for 13 months. Blending occurs in the spring, and then the wine settles for 3-4 months before bottling. The wine is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
|Chignard Fleurie Les Moriers 2012
Spice Grilled Flatiron Steak (Maytag Blue Cheese-Red Wine Sauce And Stacked Dauphinoise Potatoes)
Nearly forty years of doing business in France and Italy have given Kermit Lynch a level of expertise that few in the wine industry can boast. Countless hours with growers in some of the most famous vineyards and cellars of Europe have offered more than just a casual look at what it takes to be a great grower, let alone a great winemaker. Kermit Lynch was the first to champion the benefits of unfined and unfiltered wines, long before they had become fashionable. This belief is really a matter of taste, and the proof has always been in the glass, offering a purer expression of fruit and an unadulterated reflection of the terroir. Kermit’s conviction has been so strong over the years that he has been able to persuade even the most hard-headed vignerons to test his theories. Long-term relationships with vignerons in every major wine growing region offer a tremendous array of opportunities. Every year, Kermit enjoys a creative collaboration with some growers to find the best of their selections. Together, they work towards creating a final blend that showcases the region in all its glory at a price point that is difficult to match. Sourced from the terroirs around Domaine de Durban, the grapes for this red Rhône are sourced from parcels next to the village of Beaumes-de-Venise. These vineyards were traditionally used for the family’s personal consumption, and many of the unused grapes were sold off in bulk. As none of this was for commercial bottling, the Leydier family made no effort to have these parcels included in the A.O.C. Côtes du Rhône when the boundaries were first established in 1937. Upon hearing that the family had been selling these grapes to the local cave cooperative in Vacqueyras, Kermit presented the Leydiers the idea of creating a value-driven second label. The plan soon evolved into a collaboration between the family and Kermit. Together, they bottle both a Vin de Pays de Vaucluse Rouge and Blanc. The growing success they have enjoyed over the last three vintages is proof enough that the KL Côtes du Rhône fits both the taste profile and quality standards that their customers have come to expect. Since 1929, this winery has been bringing local vignerons together from the outlying areas of Avignon in the Southern Rhône to produce delicious wines that epitomize the region’s complex terroirs. Kermit works closely with winemaker Jean-François Pasturel to develop the blend. Pasturel is thrilled to be able to have the chance to produce a Côtes du Rhône he does not have to filter to death. It is his tête de cuvée, his pride and joy. The 2012 Cotes du Rhone exemplifies all that makes the Kermit Lynch selections so great: traditional vinification, natural yeasts, immediate deliciousness and terrific value. The wine is made for Kermit Lynch by Jean-François Pasturel at Terres d’Avignon in temperature-controlled, cement tanks. Maceration lasts approximately 25 days. The wine is aged in cement tanks before bottling. It is then bottled unfined and unfiltered, 66% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 7% Carignan, 1% Cinsault and 1% Mourvèdre. A pure ruby color in the bowl, Kermit’s 2012 Cotes du Rhone bursts with plump cherry and red currant fruit backed by floral suggestions of garrigue and violets. Soft, spicy and totally delicious, the wine saturates the palate with cherry and Seville orange fruit, fine tannins and lively acidity. Long and lush, the wine leaves the palate with floral and herbal sensations of violets, lavender, red rose petals and cherry blossoms.
|Kermit Lynch Cotes Du Rhone 2013
“Black Forest” Dark Chocolate Cake (Roasted Bing Cherry And Red Wine Caramel, With Whipped Cream And Candied Orange Peel Gremolata)
Along the steep, narrow valley that traces the northern Rhône, the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint-Joseph take their place among the great wines of France, and Domaine Faury is one of the region’s most artisanal producers. When Philippe Faury took over the domaine in 1979, the family was selling wine, peaches and cherries, and the bulk of their clientele was local. Over the years, Philippe expanded their holdings to over eleven hectares, and expanded sales to an international client base. In addition, he has shared his savoir faire with his son, Lionel. Since 2006, Lionel has taken over the reins at Domaine Faury, though father and son still work side by side. The steep slopes of the northern Rhône present a challenging terrain where farming is only feasible through terracing. On these terraced slopes, the Faurys’ vines take full advantage of the southern and southeastern sun exposure, benefitting from optimum ripening. A combination of the predominately granitic soil, partial de-stemming (in about 70% of the grapes), soft crushing of the grapes with a pneumatic press, and temperature controlled fermentation offer a liveliness and freshness that one does not often find in wines from the northern Rhône. There’s a real attention to detail here, and nothing is done in haste. Every method used encourages the grape towards greatness with the ultimate respect for its fragility. Pigeage, the punching of the cap, is not carried out with tools, but gently by foot – not just poetic but also pragmatic. Unlike many other vignerons in the region, the Faurys have a strong aversion to new oak. Though the reds definitely see time in barrels, there is a rotation between new and old alike, along with a variety of sizes, ranging from the smaller barriques to the larger 600-liter demi-muids. Unfined and only lightly filtered before bottling, these wines are loaded with classic flavors and show a remarkable rustic elegance. This intense spicy 100% Syrah comes from vines planted between 1937 and 1976! The vines are located around the domaine, planted on steep slopes (up to 35%) facing south, south-east. The grapes are hand harvested and 60 to 70% de-stemmed. Fermentation lasts 15 to 20 days, with twice daily pump-overs. The wine is aged for 12 months in rotation of oak (15% new) foudres (24 – 35 hl), demi-muids (600-L), barrels (228-L). A dark, red beauty, this wine offers a liveliness and freshness not often found in wines from the Northern Rhône. Smooth as silk, imbued with violets and black fruit, sensationally balanced and rustically elegant. It has luscious aromas of cassis, blackberry and cherry that take on lovely spice notes with time. Fine tannins!
|Faury St. Joseph Rouge 2013