Category Archives: Interviews

Meet Kermit Lynch from, well, Kermit Lynch

Kermit Lynch Smiling

Does this genius of a man need an explanation? Sorry while I geek out over here. Kermit Lynch is the man, in my opinion and many others, that brought authentic and old world wines into popularity in the United States. He has a clear focus on wines that express the life of a wine, allowing the drinker to taste the history and soil it comes from.

Two James Beard awards. Started with $5,000 and created an empire. Badass? I think so. Cue Kermit Lynch.

If you could pair any wine with an experience, album, movie, piece of art, etc. what would you pair and why?

K: For the music, I would like to repeat the experience I had several years ago at Aubert de Villaine’s home in Bouzeron, a bottle of 1961 Romanee Conti and Pablo Casals playing Bach’s second Cello Suite.

For the movie, two of my favorite movies were directed by actors.  Charles Laughton’s Night of the Hunter and Marlon Brando’s One-Eyed Jacks.  With the Brando, a bottle of 1969 Joseph Swan Zinfandel, because when he and Karl Malden are having dinner in old California, they are drinking red wine and I have never had a better bottle of local wine than that Swan Zin.

A painting, Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and I’d time myself back to the sixties and drink a bottle of LSD-laced Chateauneuf-du-Pape because Van Gogh was in Provence, so is Chateauneuf-du-Pape, and that painting is pretty psychedelic.

For the experience, well, a truffle-slathered lover with a bottle of old Yquem sounds pretty good right at the moment.

Being that you have so much experience with wine, has there been something new you have recently learned about wine or the world within wine? If so, what?

K: I learned last night that global warming has caused quite a increase in brettanomyces, which means that a lot of reds require filtering.  Filtering take a lot out of a wine, from color to fleshiness to aging potential, so it pains me to think that more reds will have to suffer filtrations unless someone comes up with a better solution.

I’m sure you’ve been able to travel to world, visiting countless vineyards and wineries. What was one area, winery, etc. whose wine and culture stuck with you?

K: There have been so many wine regions over the years that have attracted my attention, my passion.  Lately it is Corsica and the terroir of Patrimonio. They have a soil of decomposed oysters shell much like Chablis.  They have a lot more sunshine than Chablis, and the Mediterranean is so close you can almost jump into it.  For centuries the terroir was wasted on them because they could not control temperatures during the winemaking or the shipping.  Now that they can, the results are remarkable.  To me, Patrimonio is to Vermentino what Meursault Perrieres is to Chardonnay.  Look for bottles from Antoine Arena or Yves Leccia.

Grapejuice with Kermit Lynch


Meet Noah Dorrance from Banshee Wines

Noah Dorrance is one of three founders of an awesome winery in Healdsburg, Northern California, called Banshee Wines. Noah personally makes the wines for the label, and let me tell you, these wines are not to be missed. Balanced, approachable, and a steal when it comes to quality vs. price. Noah specializes in being super charming and having a smile that belongs in Orbit gum commercials, as seen below.

Noah Dorrance

Where are you from?

Noah: Springfield, MO.  Home of Brad Pitt and Bass Pro Shops.

If you could pair any of your wines with an experience, album, movie, piece of art, etc. what would you pair and why?

N: Aside from the obvious food pairings, I am totally into music.  We pour Banshee at a number of music festivals such as Outside Lands in San Francisco.  So I would say a warm September afternoon at an outdoor concert in the park or at the Greek in Berkeley.

When you’re not in the wineries making that good stuff, what do you like to do for fun?

N: Probably too many different things for my own good:  the aforementioned live music, golf, running, eating and the whole Banshee crew has a bit of a swimming fetish.  We stop all the time at rivers, creeks, beaches, lakes and even reservoirs located in some vineyards we source from.

If you cook, what’s your favorite dish to make at home and what do you pair it with?

N: Roast chicken and our Sonoma County Pinot Noir or fish tacos and our Banshee Rose of Pinot.

One perk of being involved in the wine industry is the ability to travel for work. What was one of your best travel experiences with wine?

N: I’ve spent a lot of time in Spain, Italy and France trying to learn more and widen my own wine experience.  One time we were with Raventos i Blanc in Spain.  Stunning property with such an amazing heritage.  We had a number of spectacular meals with them and our last day with them they brought us on a bike tour in Barcelona that ended at the beach.  Being swimming aficionados, one of my business partners snuck off and bought us all FC Barcelona speedos.  All 7 guys put them on and pranced down to the beach for a swim to the horror of the other beach-goers.  Best time ever!

Where’s your favorite place to grab a bite to eat or have a drink in Los Angeles?

N: Salt’s Cure.  One of the best, most inventive places in LA.

Banshee Wines Banshee Wines

Thanks, Noah!

Check out Banshee Wines here!


Alphonse DeRose Interview

Alphose Derose

I had the pleasure of sitting down with winemaker Alphonse DeRose at a wine tasting at Silverlake Wine the other day and of course had to pick his brain. Alphonse DeRose is a winemaker based in Cienega Valley, Northern California, and grew up watching his father create wine from vine to bottle. All of their grapes are harvested by hand, and very little is changed in the winemaking process, letting the grapes really shine through.

As for Alphonse, there are two things you need to know about him: he could win a moustache competition if he wanted to and he’s overall an awesome guy. Now that you know that, let’s get to know him a little better:

What is your cocktail of choice?

A: I’m pretty much a martini guy when I’m not drinking wine. I like vodka martinis with no vermouth and two olives.

Do you have a favorite restaurant near your vineyard?

A: Yes, there’s actually, in Hollister of all places a sushi restaurant called Miyako. Very authentic, the owner is a super nice guy, just a great family restaurant.

If you could pair one of your wines with any experience, what would your pairing be?

A: I would pair our old vine Zinfandel with midnight rides through the vineyards in the Dodge Pickup.