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The “Railsback Frères,” brothers Lyle and Eric, are “Kermit Kids”: clear descendants of the Kermit Lynch/Chez Panisse revolution. Of course, we’re all products of that world to some extent, enjoying the benefits of the road... Read More
The “Railsback Frères,” brothers Lyle and Eric, are “Kermit Kids”: clear descendants of the Kermit Lynch/Chez Panisse revolution. Of course, we’re all products of that world to some extent, enjoying the benefits of the road they trod.The fact is, Kermit and company not only elevated lost classics like Hermitage and Chablis, they also promoted truly off-the-beaten-path greats like Morgon’s Lapierre, Chinon’s Joguet, and Corbieres’ Maxime Magnon, paving the way for a whole generation of terroir-focused, low- or even no-sulfur winemakers. The Chez Panisse/Kermit revolution made possible the wine world we all enjoy today. While we all may be living in Kermit’s world, Lyle Railsback has a day job as Kermit's national portfolio manager. That day job tells you a lot about the wines he makes. At work he’s a passionate champion of Kermit's small growers--you can tell every time you taste wine with him that he loves their work and being able to support what they do. That passion underlies his winemaking too. Those great French country wines inspired him to start making wines in his native California. More to the point, they inspired him to make wines that integrate California's terroir as seamlessly into contemporary American food and culture as those French farmers do theirs. Although Eric doesn’t work for Kermit it’s hard to imagine him doing what he does without having Kermit’s path to follow. After making his name in the restaurant world, he went on to make delicious, reasonably-priced wines at Lieu Dit, from the kinds of grapes that were unsung before the Chez Panisse revolution: Cabernet Franc, Gamay, Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne. Now the brothers are working together and the wines are delicious.