• Richard Peck

Know Your Importer

This wine is a perfect illustration of the importance of knowing your importer. That is especially true if you like, or think you would like, Old World wines but you hesitate to purchase a bottle because the language or region on the front label is unfamiliar.

If that is the case, turn the bottle around (although this time that wasn't necessary) and look at the name of the importer. A good importer has a good palate. Their taste elevates wines they bring into the U.S. above all-too-frequent mediocre offerings.

The Domaine du Salvard Cheverny pictured is a great example. I didn't know the producer, Domaine du Salvard, nor was I familiar with the region, Cheverny. Noticing, however, that the wine was imported by Kermit Lynch — one of the half dozen best importers — Susan & I decided to try it. Absolutely wonderful!

The nose was bright and incredibly pretty, with just-ripe apple aromas. On the palate, the wine showed the crystalline purity and generous fruit of Loire Sauvignon Blanc. The Chardonnay provided a touch of roundness that distinguishes this wine from the minerality and focus of Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé. Although a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay is not something one sees too often, and it is not a blend that would normally appeal to us, the Delaille brothers Emmanuel and Thierry (, have created a wonderfully attractive wine. You simply want to sit back and enjoy all of it, which Susan & I did!

In addition to Kermit Lynch, Neil Rosenthal (Mad Rose is his firm's name), Robert Chadderdon, Skurnik Wines, and Terry Thiese's selections are among our favorites. Additional importers with a passion for fine wine are listed in Matt Kramer's article here:

You realize, of course, that you won't fall in love with every bottle, from every importer listed. Your personal preferences are a factor. But if you are seeking a path through the richness and variety of the Old World, while finding solid footing in a fog of potentially unfamiliar languages, regions, and varietals, then find two or three good importers to serve as your guides. Kermit Lynch served us well with the Salvard Cheverny blend. Our only challenge now is finding more, since we purchased this bottle in Denver and we're now in Oregon!

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