Adventures with Kermit Lynch in San Francisco

Many things mark the beginning of Spring: Buds bursting into bloom. Birds chirping. The final snow melting away. And, in our wine world – the Annual Kermit Lynch wine show. Every spring  producers from across France and Italy make their way across the pond to pour their latest vintages for buyers, sommeliers, and wine enthusiasts from across North America.  The show rotates annually between the East and West Coasts and, lucky for us, this year’s show was hosted in San Francisco, hosted at the beautiful Fort Mason Centre with views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

J. Lassalle Cuvee Speciale Rose

J. Lassalle Cuvee Speciale Rose

After we arrived, Jason and I began our day in typical Bishop’s Cellar fashion – tasting Champagne. After a flight of gorgeous cuvees from J LaSalle; we both agreed that the delicate, ethereal Rose Brut was just too delicious not to have on our shelves. Look for this one around Christmas!

We could have enjoyed drinking champagne all day but with over 220 wines to taste from 60 producers we had to move along. We made our way through a lovely lineup of Alsatians from Domaine Ostertag, Meyer Fonne, and Albert Boxler. Minerality. Acidity. Weight. Incredible balance.  For those who haven’t explored the world of Alsatian whites – take the plunge! These wines are incredibly food friendly and are perfect with charcuterie.

Next stop – Burgundy. There’s a famous quote in the wine business – “All wine roads lead to Burgundy”. While this might not be true for all – it certainly is the case with our team at Bishops. Cellar. After tasting through a lovely lineup of Chablis – I was delighted to see Phillippe Guillemot from Pierre Guillemot.  Phillippe lead Caroline, Alanna and I through a wonderful tasting in their family’s cellar in 2012, during our last trip to Burgundy. We immediately recognized each other and reminisced about the “guess the vintage” tasting game we played in their cellar.

Burgundies from Domaine Boillot

Burgundies from Domaine Boillot

Phillipe’s wines showed tremendously well but that was just the beginning. We also had the opportunity to taste through several offerings from Domaine Boillot, spanning from their superbly made Bourgogne to Volnays and Pommards, finishing with powerful Gevrey Chambertin. Happy to announce that we have two of their 1er Cru Gevrey Chambertin offerings arriving later this year as these were arguably our favourite wines of the show.

After leaving Burgundy, we circled the room tasting wines from Loire, Languedoc, Beaujolais, Bordeaux, Rhone, Chianti Classico and more, plus one of our favourite stops – Corsica.  Such a wide range of styles and regions; each producer showcasing wines that expressed a true sense of place and exceptional balance.

After 6 hours and 250 wines, we set off for dinner downtown to accompany a large group of winemakers in town for the show. Our group was as diverse as our tasting throughout the day – from the young brothers of Lavantreaux in Chablis to the lovely and charming Katherine Champalou and the charismatic personality (not to be outdone by his barbell mustache) of Serge Férigoule. We dined, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company – exactly the way wine is meant to be enjoyed.  A wonderful evening to end an even better day.

Thank you to the entire team at Kermit Lynch and cheers to next year.