Forty years ago, an aspiring musician named Kermit Lynch opened a wine shop in Berkeley, California. Not long thereafter, he began traveling regularly to France, where he discovered a bevy of great producers whose wines were unknown to Americans at the time. Lynch, a man with a business sense as keen as his palate, began importing wines like Gerard Chave's Hermitage, Auguste Clape's Cornas, Domaine Vieux Telegraphe's Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and Domaine Tempier's Bandols. In putting these and other gems on store shelves, Lynch helped convert countless Americans from jug wines to the good stuff. He also wrote a now-classic wine book,'Adventures on the Wine Route,' a must-read for any oenophile.
Lynch is still making music – he's about to release his fourth country blues album – and is still importing and selling great wines, many of them unearthed from unlikely places. For instance, his portfolio includes some distinctive and pleasurable obscurities from the island of Corsica. The 2011 Domaine Comte Abbatucci Cuvée Faustine ($37) is a lip-smacking white made from the Vermentino grape. Produced on a biodynamic estate located just outside Corsica's capital, Ajaccio, the Cuvée Faustine white (there's also a red and a rose) is bursting with zesty lime flavors, mineral influences, and a fetching whiff of Mediterranean herbs. Yes, Corsica belongs to France, but this wine begs to be served with Italian seafood dishes. We drank it with linguine with clam sauce and spent the meal in a state of transcendental bliss. [kermitlynch.com]