One of my favorite wine experiences was spending several hours a few years back with importer/writer/musician Kermit Lynch, including a long lunch at Chez Panisse.
Lynch wasn’t present at a tasting of his wines this month at Lucia’s, but he should have been, if only to eat at a restaurant after his own heart (and tummy)
The food was exquisite, and paired beautifully by Lucia’s beverage maestro Victoria Norvell.
A vibrant potato, spinach and leek soup was just hearty and fresh enough to fit right into this on-again, off-again ‘tweener season. The zingy but smooth Henri Perrusset MÃ¢con-Villages ($16) was a swell accompaniment, but the A&P De Villaine Aligoté ($27) was a true revelation, showing just how enticing “the other white grape” of Burgundy can be, with a marvelous fruit/spice amalgam, spot-on acidity and a lively, lengthy finish. Yum.
After much deliberation I chose the duck and lentil entrée over the trout. No way to lose there, but the La Roquete Chateauneuf-du-Pape ($42), dark and spicy but somehow almost satiny, seemed particularly suited for le canard.
We finished with an exquisite tart and an obscenely good dessert wine, Domaine de Durban’s Muscat Beaumes de Venise ($16/375 ml.), with massive fruit and the kind of focus one rarely finds in a sweet wine.
Other recommended juice from this tasting: two Loire whites, a gorgeous, splendidly balanced Domaine du Salvard Cheverny Blanc ($17) and a Chateau d’Epire Savennieres that boasted seamless waves of roundness and leanness. Plus a new grape (for me) from Liguria, a Pigato from Punta Crena ($27) that was clean but complex and simply delicious.
Which, as Mr. Lynch might say, is the first and foremost job of a wine.