I was perusing the selection of wines at a local merchant in my hometown of Naples, FL, and noticed that many -- if not all -- of the wines were imported by Kermit Lynch. Bleu Provence is actually a restaurant that has a license to sell its wines in an adjoining retail store. And, according to an employee, is Kermit Lynch's top customer.
Knowing Kermit Lynch's vast portfolio, I was like a kid in a candy store.
Kermit-Lynch is one of the best importers of French wine, so it wasn't a surprise that I spent a long time in this store examining the labels of wines I hadn't tried before. I walked out with several bottles, including an intriguing blend of malbec (a largely abandoned grape in France), syrah and cabernet franc. From the Languedo-Roussillon region of southern France, the La Grange de Quatre Cuvee Garsinde was simply delicous. At $20, it shows that you can get bargains in France that often outperform what you can find in California for the same price. This vineyard also makes a white blend that came to our attention during a recent dinner there.
Then there was the Domaine la Casenove La Garrigue Sous from another terrific importer: European Cellars. A blend of carignane, grenache and syrah, it too had those quaffable flavors you expect from these grape varieties grown in southern France.
Two great Languedoc wines from two great importers. Pay attention to the importers on the label and you won't go wrong.