A friend recently said I need to follow my passion for wine when I was in France. Another said it a few nights ago as we were discussing two very different wines from the Ribera del Duero, one from JC Vizzcara and a second from Pruno. That got me thinking about who is worth reading when it comes to wine that you should know about.
The first of course is importer Kermit Lynch and his two books, "Adventures Along the Wine Route" and "Inspiring Thirst." The next is Terry Theise, who like Lynch imports wines, but focuses on Champagne, Germany and Austria and the third is long time Rhone Ranger and wine provocateur Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon.
Every month Lynch and his team at Kermit Lynch pen a newsletter that is written in the same style as his first book. As a matter of fact the book really is an assembly of his newsletters' best efforts. Theise, who like Lynch I first met in 1989 in Philadelphia at a tasting of his German imports could have a career in writing if he wasn't importing. Like Lynch he tells stories, he doesn't just sell wine. But in doing so, he tells the story about the wines, the wineries and the winemakers so well, you can almost taste, see and small what he's waxing on about. Reading his recent 2013 Austrian catalog was more like reading a primer on wine, but told in such a soft selling style that you walk away wanting to drink some Gruner Veltliner or a racy, dry Austrian Riesling.
But as great as Lynch and team are at telling and selling, and as loquacious and lovingly telling are the stories and tasting notes of Theise, perhaps the master of the storytelling goes to Randall Grahm. His blog, entitled "Been Doon So Long" is also the name of a his book, or as the subtitle calls it, "A Randall Grahm Vinthology." Perhaps the title is a throwback to the 2003 April Fools Day parody of the scandalous tabloid "The National Enquirer". Grahm's wit is only surpassed by his winemaking skills, which even today, have him on par with the best who make Rhone wines, or even Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Grahm's witty writings are so full of insider humor that you often have to read and reread some passages to realize he's poking fun at a friend or making serious something that for many would be taken lightly.
This tasty trio of wine insiders are a joy to read, and even more a joy to know...but what's best of all is to sit back and read their musings while you have a glass of their wines in your glass.