After the 16-hour-a-day whirlwind of harvest came to an end at my Los Milics Winery, I suddenly had time to think about something other than pH and Brix levels. It caused some low-level depression. A sense of non-purpose. I was warned about this by fellow winemakers, but I didn’t believe them. Well, it’s true. As an antidote, I stepped up my infrequent running routine and decided to revisit one of my favorite wine books to renew my love of the industry.
Written in 1988 by Kermit Lynch, Adventures on the Wine Route is a nearly 300-page love letter to France’s vineyards and vignerons. Lynch began his career in the early 1970s, opening his wine shop in Berkeley in 1972, the year I was born. One of the first importers to focus on France, he also highlighted the importance of ensuring that wines were properly shipped in temperature-controlled containers. He found that the same wine he tasted in France would not taste as fresh and lively back at home. Sometimes it was undrinkable, mainly due to wines making the trek across the pond in hot containers. Lynch was also single-handedly responsible for getting rosé into the market. He imports what is considered the rosé that all rosés are judged by: Domaine Tempier rosé from the south of France in Bandol.
The main reason I fell in love with this book was Lynch’s ability to write about the human scale of winemaking. He writes about the relationships formed at the dinner table and the characters along the way. There’s no pedantic winemaking lingo about oak or acid or yeast – instead, it’s about the culture and the relationship between the land and the winemaker. Pick up a copy, pour yourself a glass of rosé and enjoy a refreshing read about wine!