2020 Terra Viva/Kermit Lynch Red Wine, Languedoc Cabrières AOP, France (750ml)

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Kermit Lynch is a legendary figure in the wine world and a very charismatic gentleman. For almost 50 years, Kermit Lynch has championed small producers and their authentic, beautifully made European wines. Along the way, he has shaped our tastes, and through his love of the wines and stories of the people who created them, he has helped to elevate the American wine and food experience. He opened Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant in Berkeley, California in 1972 and thanks to his top-quality import business and his James Beard Award-winning books on wine, he continues to educate America on the wonders of old-world wines from Europe. In fact, he has had so much success shining the spotlight on small, artisan producers that he has was knighted by the French government and awarded the top honor bestowed on civilians in France: Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur.

Every year, Kermit collaborates with select growers to create a wine that showcases the region in all its glory. This particular bottling is the product of his longstanding relationship with Jean-Claude Zabalia, one of the Languedoc’s most talented vignerons. Jean-Claude spent over twenty years working at Saint Martin de la Garrigue before striking out on his own in 2012 to start Château des Deux Rocs, which focuses on the high-elevation appellation of Cabrières. Tucked away in the mountains of the Languedoc at over 1000 feet above sea level, the vines benefit from the long summer days while the elevation provides a much-needed cooling effect each night, giving the wines a freshness that is uncharacteristic for the region.

The fruit for this delicious blend was sourced from Jean-Claude’s own holdings. The blend is 50% Syrah, 35% Grenache, 10% Carignan and 5% Cinsault from 30-year-old vines. The grapes were harvested by hand. Each varietal was vinified separately with indigenous yeasts for an average of 20 days, in stainless-steel tanks, with twice daily pump-overs—or délestage. The young wines underwent malolactic fermentation—also in stainless steel—before being blended. The resulting wine was then aged for 12 months in a combination of 70% stainless-steel and 30% oak (foudres and demi-muid barriques), before it was bottled unfiltered and unfined.

Deep burgundy. The nose shows characteristic aromas of dark berry fruit and garrigue. The palate is bursting with flavors of brambly dark berry fruit. The mouthfeel is quite velvety, with a juicy, lip-smacking acidity juxtaposed with a mineral note and dusty tannins on the slightly spicy finish. Easy drinking and a great value at this price point.

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