Feature Story

Importers of the Year 2017

Track records are important: They are what earned each of our Top 100 Wineries a place in this issue, as well as what landed these importers here. These five companies have a bevy of wines and wineries represented in this issue, a sure telling that their leaders have not just business sense but good taste.

Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant

If you want to know what’s next in France, follow Kermit Lynch’s wine portfolio. Lynch clued us into Bandol when he began bringing in Domaine Tempier in the early 1970s; then proceeded to introduce us to the joys of cru Beaujolais, Loire chenin and cabernet franc and northern Rhône reds. Now working with his son, Anthony, and a team of buyers, Lynch has been going deep into Corsican wines, including those of Maestracci and Leccia, two producers with outstanding wines in this issue. Chances are they’ll too become classics, just like Baudry, Champalou and Faury, three of his producers in the Top 100 Wineries of the Year.

Old Bridge Cellars

If you want to know Australian wines, look for Old Bridge Cellars. Focusing on independently owned wineries, they’ve assembled a collection of brands that spans the country, showcasing classics like Rutherglen Muscats from Chambers Rosewood Vineyards and new-wave wineries like Giant Steps—both among our Top 100 Wineries. While the bulk of their book is Australian, it extends to New Zealand for brands like Innocent Bystander, and Burgundy, with Maison L’Envoyé, wines our panels have been excited about year after year.

 

Kobrand

Kobrand attributes its success to the deep relationships Rudy Kopf cultivated when he formed the company in 1944. One of his early acquisitions was Louis Jadot, which makes its 16th appearance in the Top 100 this year; more recent acquisitions have extended the company’s reach to every corner of the globe, with top brands like Craggy Range, Zind-Humbrecht and Taylor Fladgate among our Top 100 Wineries.

 

Vintus

Michael Quinttus is on a streak. This is the third year in a row the wines in his portfolio have earned Vintus a place on our list of Importers of the Year. Zeroing in on family-owned, estate-based producers, he’s got a particularly sharp eye for Italian and French wines: Le Macchiole, Domaine des Baumard and Domaine Chanson all ranked among the Top 100 Wineries this year.

 

 

 

Louis/Dressner

Quirky and principled would sum up the wines of Louis/Dressner, a NYC-based company started by the late Joe Dressner with Denyse Louis and Kevin McKenna. While the 100 wineries they represent range from Burgundies to new-wave Chileans, they are all committed to hands-on sustainable viticulture and hands-off low-intervention winemaking. The company tends toward the overlooked and undersung, unearthing possibilities once thought unlikely, like ageworthy Muscadet (Luneau-Papin) and profound frappato from Sicily (Arianna Occhipinti). Follow Louis/Dressner for adventure.

This story was featured in W&S Winter 2017.