In college, my obsession was the history of art.  The study of art history requires a very broad range of focus — history, culture, religion, symbolism, concrete and abstract artistic understanding (interest, really), and the relevancy of it to today + what’s happening now.  I often get asked how I ended up with such interest in wine and I find it of no coincidence that one obsession led me to another and that the two: art history and wine, are very similar in nature.  The world of wine requires a very broad range of interests and therefore, supplies a virtually limitless sea of options in terms of career and specialization.  To know wine, one has to grasp the full picture.  This is never possible because there is so much… but you know what I mean.  You can’t just love French wine and know its ins and outs… Nor can you solely appreciate California wine and actually know what’s up with wine.  Like art history, it requires reaching way back into the past, to everywhere, studying the web of progress and change, and yes, tasting, to understand what’s goin’ on.  Do I claim to get it?  Hell no.  Does anyone?  I dunno, but I always like to find out about how people go about their wine journey.  Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting someone in the industry who has a pretty rad story, Kermit Lynch.  He is the guy, according to my boss, that “we all were (or are) all trying to be.”

In the ’70s, Kermit Lynch was a musician with a sickness for wine.  With a $5,000 loan from his girlfriend, he opened a wine shop in California in 1972.  He put his music on the back burner and went for it.  Time and good business sense led him to the capability to travel and find really good wine, mostly in France and Italy.  His book Adventures on the Wine Route tells all: fantastic encounters with winemakers from the Loire to Chablis…. tasting barrel samples for the first time, seeing winemaking head south fast to appease the “international market” and his tries and successes at convincing them to not… It’s pretty cool stuff.  It is an entertaining read and I learned a lot along the way.

Nowadays, at 69, Mr. Lynch spends much of the year with his cool photographer wife in Berkely and another part of the year in Provence, close to where he has a hand in the wines of Domaine Tempier.  He spends a lot of time “making cd’s”.  Our evening with Mr. Lynch at Soul Wine featured his music which I found to be Dylan-esque, sensuality included.  My evening consisted of bringing Mr. Lynch splashes of Punta Crena Vermentino from Liguria (delicious), snapping pics, tasting his personal recommendations, and having him autograph a bottle of “La Démerrante” by Maxime Magnon: an atypical blend of carignan and cinsault from Corbières – one of my favorite bottles that he imports, at least that I have tasted so far.

A big shout-out to my amazing boss (pictured above with his lovely wife and Mr. Lynch) who made this event happen in the best wine shop of Seattle, WA (well, maybe second best to Pike & Western), Soul Wine.  A great evening that I will not soon forget.