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Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France Paperback – September 1, 1990

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"Wine is, above all, pleasure. Those who would make it ponderous make it dull," declares wine importer Lynch in this robustly irreverent account of his quest through France in search of wine. Lynch's winefoolery is serious; drollery never compromises his knowledge of his subject or his high standards. Even when mocking the misdeeds of viniculturalists, he remains an arbiter who merely wishes "wine could be a constitutionally protected form of expression." Hating wine hype, Lynch criticizes modern agricultural and manufacturing methods with equal fervor. He laughs at trends in wine consumption, and singles out modern greed as a corrupter. Effortlessly eloquent, Lynch is a master of the brief barb: "Loving Chablis is like falling in love with a frigid floozy." The author prefers a wine that offers "a subtle seduction; it keeps you coming back for more." So too with this unusual guide: it makes you thirst for a sequel. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“One of the pleasantest and truest books about wine I've ever read.” ―M. F. K. Fisher

“Nearly all wine books are written by experts whose intention is primarily to inform or to educate. They give little aesthetic pleasure. Kermit Lynch is certainly an expert, but his book, Adventures on the Wine Route, is also a great pleasure to read. In Kermit Lynch's small, true, delightful book there is more understanding about what wine really is than in everything else I have read.” ―Victor Hazan

“Kermit Lynch's colorful portraits of some idiosyncratic vintners, and his commentaries on their wines, make for some of the finest reading since Joseph Wechsberg ate and drank his way through France in his book Blue Trout and Black Truffles.” ―Robert M. Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (September 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374522669
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374522667
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #97,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Keith Levenberg on April 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Kermit Lynch is an importer of artisanally made wines. His book is both a diary of his search for wines of authentic character throughout France and a manifesto in defense of an ethic of winemaking that is falling out of fashion. The wines Lynch adores are not always the greatest wines in the world, but there is a certain idiosynchratic appeal to them. They are crafted according to a philosophy that abhors chemical or mechanical adulterants and emphasizes minimal human intervention during the wines' elevation in cellars. Consequently, when nature cooperates, they are expressive of the subtlest elements of their vineyards' terrain, and they taste best with the cuisine prepared where they are grown. But they are risky to make and must be sold in a marketplace that seldom rewards the effort.
Lynch's best chapters are his entries on Provence, the Rhone, and Chablis, which give readers a clear sense of what these wines ought to taste like, how the regions' winemaking traditions have evolved over time, and what differentiates extraordinary examples from underachievers. Each chapter focuses on a handful of producers recalcitrant to change with whom Lynch has longstanding relationships. His analysis, with winemaking scion Gerard Chave, of the component parts of the legendary J. L. Chave Hermitage (one of the best wines in the world) might be the most vivid deconstruction of a taste ever put into words. The chapter on Provence is one of Lynch's more saccharine entries -- his ties to the family behind Bandol's Domaine Tempier are personal, and Lynch introduced and evangelized this hitherto obscure wine to American markets -- but it makes an eloquent case in favor of the rustic and less glamorous country wines of France.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By W. John Switzer on September 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is an older book now (1987), but it is timeless in its content and an important read for anyone who wants to understand more about the wines of France and the story behind them.
Wine is an agricultural product, produced by farmers. There is not a lot of glamor in the production of wine - it is hard work and full of frustration, as the producers have to deal with a variety of uncontrollable factors - weather, unreasonable reviewers, fickle consumers, etc.
In Adventures... Kermit Lynch gives us a highly personal view of the lives of some of the more colorful wine characters he has come to know in his annual wine-buying travels to France. These profiles are informative and entertaining and provide a backdrop to a better understanding and appreciation of wine.
The book travels through the major wine-producing regions of France and peppered throughout each chapter are Kermit's views on many aspects of wine production, distribution and marketing. Reading this book in the early 21st century one understands the profound effect this important wine merchant has had on the business of wine, over the past 15 years.
I have read this book twice and will re-read it everytime I travel to France in the future - both to help me remember which vineyards to seek out, but also as a reminder of how to engage with the vignerons I meet - every vigneron has a story - they are all different and all are worth listening to.
Kermit introduces us to several of these stories and I hope some day he writes a sequel. In the meantime, this is one of my favourite all-time reads.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By M. Ragen on October 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book offers a comprehensive picture of all of the major wine-growing regions in France including broad notes on differences in the wines and the winemaking methods. In each region, it includes interesting anecdotes on Lynch's own adventures in finding unique wines and the winemakers he comes in contact with. Lynch is most passionate about the wines of Burgundy -- and least interested in Bordeaux -- as much because of his enjoyment of the wines themselves as to the different natures of the wine trade in those regions.
Some of the other reviews note a "pedantic and sanctimonious" manner from Lynch's writing. There is something to this perception as Lynch does have a tendency to hammer his points home again and again. Nonetheless, Lynch is so passionate about what he likes and the characteristics of winemakers that he likes to work with, that you can almost overcome it. (Nonetheless, this is why I dropped one * from my rating.)
For what it is worth, I read this book about the same time as I read Patrick Mathews book on natural winemaking. Interestingly, they form a matched pair as both books share a passion for wines made, as much as possible, through traditional methods without extra intervention.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kyle H. Hailey on November 8, 2000
Format: Paperback
The most enjoyable book on wine I know, and one of the few that provides a warm human side to wine. Kermit Lynch describes 20 years of voyages through France looking for wine to import for his store in Berkeley, CA and his experiences along the way. The stories range from unbelievably crazy, to frustratingly French, to warm and touching. Through all these experiences, Kermit Lynch succeeds in conveying the French culture and beauty of French wines and the people who make them. Kermit is one of the few Americans that seem to understand French wine and succeeds in conveying these differences and how to appreciate them. If planning a trip to France for wine tasting, this book is worth a 1000 guides who try to rate the wines on some scale of 5 stars or 100 points. It is not guide, but it offers understanding and human warmth that will enhance the enjoyment of French wines and French wineries.
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