Thursday, July 08, 2021

By the Bottle: DLynn Proctor

Wine lovers on wine and the vinous life.

I first met DLynn in Dallas, when we both lived there. I’ve had the pleasure to open bottles with him in Texas, in Napa Valley (where he now lives) and in Italy. Presently he is the director of Fantesca estate and winery in St. Helena. He is also an actor and producer, known for SOMM (2012) and SOMM: Into the Bottle (2015) and Uncorked (2020), a film loosely based on the life of DLynn and his journey to become a Master Sommelier.

And because he needs only 2 hours of sleep a night, in 2020 DLynn co-founded (with Martin R. Reyes MW, Mary Margaret McCamic MW) Wine Unify, a platform that champions diversity and inclusion for underrepresented minorities in the wine industry. Armed with three initiatives – to welcome, to elevate, and to amplify underrepresented minorities – Wine Unify seeks to create more visibility and opportunity for people of color.

DLynn has forged a path in the wine world that is uniquely his. He constantly updates and reinvents himself.

What wines do you have standing up right now?

Cev, currently a few. In vintages that I love, but some may not (oh well….I’m drinking them).

2014 Giudo Porro Barolo Vigna Rionda, 2014 Stella di Campalto Rosso and 2008 Brunello. Also a younger mini vertical of Crissante Alessandria Barolo Galina.


What’s the last great wine you drank?

Well, I’d like to think every wine I drink is incredible and worth my time, as I only drink producers I really like and respect. So, with that, 2002 Togni. I did Coravin Accomasso Rocche 07’ this morning. 😀


Are there any classic wines that you only recently had for the first time?

Ooh, first timers. I’d say no, as “I think” in my twenty-one years at this, I’ve had all the classics. What’s classic by the way? Did wine ‘patriarchs’ write a definitive on what was classic and not??


Describe your ideal drinking experience (when, where, what, how).

Ideal is two glasses of said bottle, in small pours over the course of a couple hours. No food. Preferably on a patio in the shade, with a great breeze. And if I can smell salt water, even better. Then on to the next wine!


What’s your favorite wine no one else has heard of?

I don’t think there is anything new under the sun, or the vine for that matter. But, not many are familiar with the wines of Crissante Alessandria, in La Morra. Classic (there’s that word again) wines from in and around Roggeri of great perfume and finesse.


What wine should everybody drink before the age of 21?

Well in Europe, and the Commonwealth (where it’s legal and not frowned upon), kids and young adults have already experienced some of the great wines the world has to offer. Circumstances permitting, I’d hope they could get their hands on great Port and Madeira from yesteryear. I mean, I’m sure their parents and grandparents would have to have some lying around. J


What wine should nobody drink until the age of 40?

Marsala. Sorry Sicilia.


Who in wine — winemakers, winery owners, writers, retailers, collectors — active today do you admire most?

Jeez, four winemakers easy. Peter Gago (his tireless global presence after 35+ years at it). Heidi Barrett with her mastery at blending. Jean-Michel Comme and his approach to soil, vines, animals, and winemaking. Lorenzo Accomasso and the fact that he just doesn’t care!!


Do you count any wine as guilty pleasures?

I don’t. All wines that I drink and collect are equal to me, regardless of price or vintage. Or I wouldn’t have bought them.


Has a wine ever brought you closer to another person, or come between you?

Well yes, and it’s always the producer. Because I am so intrigued by their story, and history, and what makes them tick. What makes their vineyard tick. As well as what is their ‘why’ for existence. But no wine has come between me and anyone else.


What’s the most interesting thing you learned from a wine recently?

A vine actually. When vines get too much sun, the apply their own “SPF” by way of carotenoids, helping to protect the tissue from ultraviolet light. Ultimately having an effect of greater aroma. Yes, I did truncate that.


What moves you most in a wine?

The people. Then the place.


Which styles do you especially enjoy drinking?

Mostly dry reds. I don’t drink bubbles. I rarely drink whites, and I don’t drink sweet wine nor fortified wine. I’ve had all of these wines before, but dry reds with high acid, and high tannin are it for me.


How do you organize your wines?

By putting them in the wine racks or wine fridges and knowing exactly where they are. Somewhat eidetic I guess.


What wine might people be surprised to find in your racks?

Not wine, but Midori!


What’s the best wine you’ve ever received as a gift?

1991 DRC RC.


How have your drinking tastes changed over time?

Less stuff I don’t have to drink, and more stuff I only want to drink. Pretty simple.


You’re organizing a dinner party. Which three people from the wine world, dead or alive, do you invite?

Clarence Dillon, Josephine Tychson, and Max Schubert. Most in my list, I already have!


What wines are you embarrassed not to have drunk yet?

Again, in my 21 years at this (a novice to those having done it for 40+ years), I’ve had most!


What do you plan to drink next?

Likely finishing the Accomasso Rocche 07’ this eve.

Italy - 2007

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W
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