We at Rosenthal Wine Merchant have been working with the Rollin family in Pernand-Vergelesses since 1982. Over the years, first with Maurice and his son Remi, and today with Remi and his son Simon, this rock-solid domaine has provided us with wines of finesse, character, and startling purity—and at prices that put to rest the […]
Thirty years ago, a regular customer at the Rosenthal Wine Merchant retail shop presented Neal a bottle of 1985 Montefalco Rosso Riserva from Paolo Bea—a wine he had brought back in his luggage because he wanted so much to share it with him. Neal, no stranger to that sort of pitch, wasn’t expecting much, but the bottle so ignited his imagination that he built in a trip to Umbria a few weeks down the road to make the acquaintance of Giampiero, Paolo’s young son.
Martino Manetti remarked during our visit last April that no two consecutive vintages at Montevertine have had remotely the same character since 2007, and perhaps no pair underlines that more forcefully than 2014 and 2015.
With his impressive array of holdings throughout Chassagne-Montrachet, complemented by parcels in Puligny-Montrachet, Santenay, and Montagny, Jean-Marc Pillot is among our most important suppliers of Burgundy.
The story throughout the south of France for the 2018 growing season was similar: an inordinate amount of rainfall from February through June engendered a rash of mildew that had growers scrambling, treating between five and ten times as much as usual in many instances. The weather pulled an immediate about-face in July, turning remarkably hot and remarkably dry—conditions which persisted until harvest. This whiplash effect stressed both vines and vignerons, to be sure, but happily the quality of the rosés from Provence is generally outstanding in 2018. The higher amount of rainfall led to rosés not burdened by unwelcome heaviness due to hyper-low yields, but the dryness of the latter part of the growing season prevented a sense of dilution in the final wines. In general, the 2018 rosés from the south of France display impeccable balance, superb drinkability, and a streak of classicism that sets them above the 2017s.
France harbors a vast multitude of talented growers, fascinating appellations, and deep veins of viticultural history. Even among this embarrassment of riches, however, the Rougier family’s Chateau Simone is a true jewel—an estate with a singular terroir, owned by the same family for many generations, with no break in tradition along the way.
For the vigneron, aging can be a beautiful thing. Youth frequently seeks to announce its place in the world with maximum volume; age, more comfortable in its accumulated prowess, understands that a softer voice can be just as powerful.
Some folks are so amazingly productive, you’d swear they had figured out a way to clone themselves—or at least bargained to add a few hours to each of their days that the rest of us can’t access. Our old friend, the indefatigable Yves Cuilleron, is one such person. When Neal began working with the Cuilleron domaine in the early 1980s—with Yves’s uncle Antoine—there were three wines in play: a Saint-Joseph Rouge, a Saint-Joseph Blanc, and a Condrieu.
When we hunker down with Michel Gahier in his modest cellar just off the main square of Montigny-les-Arsures (known locally as the “Capital of Trousseau”), we never quite know what he’ll unearth from his library. During our last visit, he blind-tasted us on an enchanting 1990 Chardonnay “La Fauquette”—made with no added sulfur, and as fresh as the day it was born.
When drinking a Bordeaux as alive, as seamless, as the 2015 “Emilien” from Château Le Puy, it’s difficult to believe that the estate makes an even greater wine—but they do. Produced from the Amoreau family’s highest-altitude vineyard, “Barthélemy” (named after the ancestor who built the current-day château back in the early 19th century) is released […]
The vastness of Italy’s rich viticultural variety never ceases to amaze, and it is always a thrill to turn over a heretofore unknown stone. During the past few years, due to our new relationships with Gravner, Zidarich, and Vodopivec, we found ourselves spending more time in the northeast of the country, and taking a closer […]
Certain viticultural areas possess a serene, understated sort of visual beauty: the subtle undulations of the Côte d’Or, for instance; or the Médoc’s stately expanse of gravel. Much of the action happens below the earth’s surface, of course, and the accompanying topographies are more soothing than arresting to behold. However, there are other vineyards where […]
“Orange wine” is a bona fide category now, one whose amber-colored tentacles have crept further and further into the mainstream over the past several years. Still, amidst an ocean of skin-contact white wines from every corner of the globe, those of Josko Gravner stand apart. His resurrection of this ancient practice two decades ago was certainly not an inevitability, especially considering technology’s ever-increasing role in the winemaking process, and it took someone of Gravner’s vision and tenacity to forge such a path for himself.
Mountainous, Magical, Microscopic
We at Rosenthal Wine Merchant have always relished working with small producers. Over the years, we have grown our portfolio not through assimilating big brands, but by continuing to forge alliances with people who work their land on an intimate, human scale.
Peter Hahn is making some of the most dynamic, complex, and satisfying Vouvray in the entire appellation today. An American by birth, Peter acquired the four-hectare Clos de la Meslerie in the commune of Vernou-sur-Brenne in 2002, and rehabilitated it through fastidious organic viticultural work the estate’s old vines of Chenin Blanc, producing his first […]
We have lived with Paolo Vodopivec’s wines in our portfolio for over a year now. Each bottle opened, each glass consumed, solidifies something we sensed in our very first encounters: there is nothing on earth quite like these. It’s not just that the wines are outstanding—which, indisputably, they are—but they seem to operate on an […]
Chardonnay grows everywhere, but Chablis is Chablis, and there is nothing else on earth remotely like it. Its extreme northern latitude; its distinctive soils, rife with the fossilized shells of an ancient sea whose bed transformed into Chablis’ best vineyards; Chablis at its best is a triumph of terroir over grape variety. Regrettably, much Chablis […]
For lovers of true, old-style Rhône wines, Domaine Bois de Boursan in Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a rare gift. This storied appellation has seen its fair share of concessions to modern winemaking in recent decades. In a quest for richer fruit, silkier tannins, and bigger scores, many growers lost the soul of the place, and drinkers who […]
It has been deeply satisfying to witness the surge of interest in the Alto Piemonte in recent years. This beautiful, geologically diverse swath of vineyards in the Alpine foothills northeast of Piedmont suffered particularly heavy losses through the ravages of phylloxera and the growth of the local textile industry (which pulled people away from backbreaking […]
The Soul of the Montagne de Reims Laid Bare We have always been delighted with the depth and quality of the Champagne we buy from the Coulon family in the Montagne de Reims, but they have reached stunning new heights in the past several years. In terms of their rigorous vineyard management and cellar practices, […]
A New Summit Gevrey-Chambertin accounts for the largest surface area under vine in the entire Cote de Nuits, and it can be challenging to get a handle on its broad range of terroirs. How fortunate we at Rosenthal Wine Merchant are, then, to work with Harmand-Geoffroy—a long-established domaine whose enviable holdings lie entirely within the […]
As broad and rich as Rosenthal Wine Merchant’s coverage of viticultural France is, there is one classic appellation whose absence in the portfolio we lamented for well over a decade: Chinon. Nestled along the Loire River’s left bank (to the south of the river itself) as it flows westward through the region of Touraine, Chinon […]
A new round of releases from the legendary Montevertine estate, high in the hills above Radda-in-Chianti, is always a cause for celebration. Montevertine as we know it today began in 1967, when Milanese steel magnate Sergio Manetti acquired the property as a summer home. Within a few years, and with the help of a beloved […]
For those enraptured by terroir, perhaps no region in France holds a greater capacity for wonderment than Alsace. Not even Burgundy, with its immensely intricate patchwork of subtly varying Jurassic limestone, can approach Alsace’s geological complexity. We consumers often think of Alsace first and foremost in terms of grape variety; after all, nearly all of […]
For us at Rosenthal Wine Merchant, Ferrando Carema is more than a wine; it’s an emblem—a one-wine encapsulation of our history, our aesthetic sensibilities, and our most deeply held values. Back in 1980, when Neal and Kerry were still lugging boxes around their Upper East Side shop themselves, it was the very first wine they […]
Great vintages are a tango. Nature leads the grower, and the dance is certainly strenuous, but she seems ultimately to want to create something beautiful. Some growing seasons, however, are 15-round boxing matches, with Nature doing her damndest to leave her much smaller opponent utterly crushed. And in 2014 in the Langhe, Mother Nature was […]
For a former rugby player, Jerome Chezeaux produces some surprisingly sleek and elegant wines. Following up on a reference from Regis Forey, we began working with Domaine Chezeaux in the mid-1990s, having been immediately smitten by Jerome’s egoless, extraordinarily precise renderings of some of the finest sites in the southern sector of the Côte de […]
Enjoying the raw beauty of Liguria is a breeze, but making wine here is no mean feat. As with Cassis (spotlighted in last month’s piece on Domaine du Bagnol), Liguria produces scant quantities of wine that are dispensed of in large part by tourists who flock here to partake in the psychedelic gorgeousness of its […]
Danilo Thomain talks like a tornado—the conversational embodiment of the boundless energy it takes to tend vines in such a steep, difficult terrain as the Enfer d’Arvier. The second-highest zone of the Valle d’Aosta in northwest Italy (only Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle—home of our renowned Ermes Pavese—lies above it), the Enfer d’Arvier […]
The release of a new vintage from Ghislaine Barthod is always an eagerly anticipated and joyous occasion. There is perhaps no grower with a wider range of great vineyard holdings in Chambolle-Musigny, and Barthod’s lofty status in the current pantheon of top Burgundy estates is firmly established and beyond well-deserved. As the old adage goes, […]
The combination of 2015 white wines and 2014 red wines produced by Domaine Prudhon comprises a rock-solid source of Burgundy of incredible-value.. While the natural richness of a solar vintage like 2015 had the potential to yield unwieldy, unbalanced white Burgundies for those growers who favor a more heavy-handed approach, Prudhon’s chiseled, acid-driven style counterbalanced […]
Each year, a rapt audience of Piemonte die-hards eagerly awaits the release of a new vintage from the Cappellano family in Serralunga d’Alba. In a zone so seduced by modern methods over the past few decades, Cappellano is the rare estate that never made concessions to technological trickery, never changed their wines to suit the […]
We look with great anticipation toward the end of April, when we will receive the 2015s (plus three 2016 regional-level wines) from the domaine of Hubert and Laurent Lignier—the source of perhaps our greatest and most awe-inspiring red Burgundy since the 1978 vintage. Last year, there was much to celebrate with the arrival of Lignier’s […]
We began our partnership with the inimitable Chateau Le Puy only about a year and a half ago, but our aesthetic and philosophical alignment makes it feel like it has been decades. And, given the voraciousness and enthusiasm with which our clientele has embraced the estate’s wines, the market was more than ready for Bordeaux […]
A New Face of Dolcetto Dolcetto is regularly treated as a second-class citizen in the high-dollar, high-prestige district of Barolo, with growers relegating it to unfavorably exposed parts of their holdings and producing it in a quick, straightforward fashion. Barolo is Nebbiolo country, plain and simple, and while one can hardly fault its producers for […]
For Rosenthal Wine Merchant’s longtime clients, the wines of Azienda Agricola Paolo Bea likely need no introduction. Since the mid-1980s, the bold, unpolished, yet intellectually stimulating and singular wines from this beautiful family farm in Montefalco, Umbria, have delighted and challenged a steadily growing fan base in the United States. Now, each new series of […]
With his impressive array of holdings throughout Chassagne-Montrachet, complemented by parcels in Puligny-Montrachet, Santenay, and Montagny, Jean-Marc Pillot is among our most important suppliers of Burgundy. Since our first vintage together nearly twenty years ago, we have watched Jean-Marc—a fourth generation vigneron—find his way and become a true master of his craft, and today his […]
“Great producers make great wines even in tough vintages”: it’s almost a cliché at this point, but few prove that as forcefully as the legendary Montevertine estate in Radda-in-Chianti. Montevertine as we know it today began back in 1967, when Milanese steel magnate Sergio Manetti acquired the property as a summer home. Within a few […]
One must search ever harder in the great viticultural regions of France these days to find examples of long and unbroken tradition. Market pressures and the conveniences of technology have lured so many growers, even in hallowed areas, to sculpt their wines more obsessively, to shorten their aging regimens, and to soften them up for […]
With its dazzling geological diversity, its ideal latitudinal situation, and its long, proud winegrowing history, France is an embarrassment of vinous riches. It is no accident that it was the French themselves who coined the term terroir—the magical union of soil, climate, grape variety, and knowing human touch which produces that elusive but undeniable sense […]
For the vigneron, even great vintages carry with them potential pitfalls. The 2015 growing season in Burgundy was a relative breeze, with even ripening, ample sunshine, little disease pressure, and stellar conditions at harvest time. As with other “solar” vintages like 2005 and 2009, the temptation to really lean into such healthy, beautiful fruit in […]
Amidst the lush, verdant, rolling hills of the Jura, surrounded by plentiful cattle, occasional vineyards, and little else, one can still profoundly feel the ancient agrarian heartbeat of old France. Here, unlike almost anywhere else in the Old World, persists a robust winemaking tradition of careful, intuitive vineyard management, confidently unobtrusive cellar work, and a […]
Around January 8th, we will receive a monumental set of wines from the tireless Yves Cuilleron, encompassing his red wines from the majestic 2015 vintage and his appellation white wines from 2016. These represent the 30th vintage we have been working with Yves, and we have witnessed with amazement his development and expansion since his […]
New Releases: 2016 “Coenobium” and “Ruscum” It’s hard to believe that we are about to receive our twelfth vintage from the sisters of Monastero Suore Cistercensi. Led by Adriana and Fabiola (pictured left), these nuns have been organically farming their five hectares of vines in Vitorchiano (an hour or so north of Rome) in the […]
Arriving December 16th Giampiero Bea, one of our dearest friends and collaborators, has an uncanny knack for finding and cultivating talent. As co-founder and president of ViniVeri—a well-respected consortium of winegrowers dedicated to producing wine as naturally as possible—he has introduced us to numerous growers whose ethos and aesthetics align with our own (Giovanna Morganti […]
Power, Precision, and Purity Nuits-Saint-Georges is rarely the first village mentioned when Burgundy enthusiasts begin to wax rhapsodic about their favorite appellations. With their assertive, articulate nature, their ability to deliver visceral mineral intensity, and their sometimes tough and savory flavors, they possess neither the seductive lusciousness of Chambolle-Musigny nor the warm earthiness of Gevrey-Chambertin—and […]
In the year we’ve been working with Chateau Le Puy, this singular and idiosyncratic Right Bank estate has made a multitude of fans—and even changed the way many people think about what Bordeaux can be. In a region known for its conservatism, where a fixation on polish, extraction, and control often straitjackets its wines, Bordeaux […]
Gevrey-Chambertin accounts for the largest surface area under vine in the entire Cote de Nuits, and it can be challenging to get a handle on its broad range of terroirs. How fortunate we at Rosenthal Wine Merchant are, then, to work with Harmand-Geoffroy—a long-established domaine whose enviable holdings lie entirely within the limits of Gevrey, […]
With its inherent richness and density, the 2015 vintage posed a challenge to the Burgundian vigneron: how to make wines of balance and elegance that harness the power of the vintage without succumbing to it. At Domaine Jacques Carillon, one senses the touch of a true master operating at the peak of his powers. In […]
An ideal time to become familiar with our exceptional growers We at Rosenthal Wine Merchant have championed great and distinctive sparkling wines for the entirety of our near-forty-year existence. Since 1981, we have imported the elegant, classical Champagnes of Guy Larmandier in Vertus—long before there was even a “grower Champagne” movement to speak of. We […]
It was clear with the 2014s we brought in toward the end of last year that brothers Franck and Frédérick Buisson had truly hit their stride. Having gradually assumed control of the family vineyards and cellar over the past decade, these young men—the eighth generation of Buisson in Saint-Romain—have sharpened and refined the impeccable vineyard […]
2013 “Emilien” and the debut of Duc des Nauves The very existence of Chateau Le Puy almost defies belief. In, of all places, Bordeaux—a region that fell especially hard for the oak-and-muscles approach favored by certain critics and point-chasers over the past few decades—there exists a sizable and historic estate that has never made even […]
Benjamin Zidarich and Paolo Vodopivec Terroir, of course, is more than the soil beneath our feet. It is the air around us, and the sky above us. It is the people who work the land, and the cellars in which the wines come to life. It is the distinct soul of a distinct place—a spirit, […]
The release of a new vintage from Ghislaine Barthod is always an eagerly anticipated and joyous occasion. There is perhaps no grower with a wider and more enviable range of great vineyard holdings in Chambolle-Musigny, and Barthod’s lofty status in the current pantheon of great Burgundy estates is firmly established and beyond well-deserved. As the […]
A new round of releases from the fabled Cappellano estate in Serralunga d’Alba is always a cause for celebration. We began our partnership with this family five years ago, and each year we and our clients eagerly await the arrival of these soulful, personal, ultra-traditional expressions of one of Barolo’s greatest terroirs. In a region […]
Over the ages, through marriages, births, deaths, retirements, leases, and purchases, stewardship of the finely-rendered grid of hallowed terroir that is the Côte d’Or shifts constantly. It is the roving lens by which we have come to know these vineyards over many hundreds of years–the ever-moving human counterpoint to the relative permanency and fixedness of […]
Those who decry the lack of access to fine Burgundy need look no further than Domaine Henri Prudhon in Saint-Aubin. While it is undeniably true that the prices of many wines from the most battled-after growers have reached the level of pure commodity, there are still areas of this hallowed region where one can find […]
Our visit on the last day of the trip with Etienne Portalis—the 14th successive generation at Chateau Pradeaux in Bandol—was uplifting and encouraging. Etienne is a smart, humorous young guy who clearly understands the uniquely old-school position Pradeaux holds within an appellation that has been modernizing and softening itself up over the past decade or […]
As befits such a singular estate, Chateau Simone’s Palette Rosé transcends the category itself. Whereas, nearly every other rosé entering the market this upcoming season is from the just-harvested 2016 growing season, we will be premiering Simone’s 2015. And those who know the wine know that it can age and improve effortlessly for a decade […]
In 2002, then-28 year old Sylvain Morey branched out from his native Chassagne-Montrachet to found Bastide du Claux–in (of all places) the Luberon, in the rugged hills of northern Provence. Sylvain has an intimate understanding of the terroirs of his place of origin (as the wines from his newly founded Domaine Sylvain Morey in Chassagne-Montrachet […]
One would never expect such a racy, nuanced, vibrant rosé to come from such a warm and rugged appellation as Gigondas–then again, Domaine du Gour de Chaulé is not your average Southern Rhône estate. Run today by the searching, intelligent Stephanie Fumoso, Gour de Chaulé produces a Gigondas Rouge almost shocking in its spicy complexity […]
Olivier Jullien‘s rosé, from the craggy high-altitude vineyards of the Terrasses du Larzac, sits alongside Chateau Pradeaux and Chateau Simone in that very slim category of rosés that improve and develop with a few years of bottle age. Whereas, saignée rosés sometimes suffer from heaviness and unnecessary fruit weight, Olivier’s offers the same fresh, lifted […]
Although Chateau La Rame is most renowned for its impeccable botrytized sweet wines (arguably the greatest producer in the appellation of Sainte-Croix-du-Mont), they produce dry wines of terrific balance and outstanding value. Their 2016 Bordeaux Rosé is a trace lighter in color than previous vintages–more a shimmering silvery salmon than a bright pink. Produced from […]
Mathieu Tijou’s Chateau de l’Eperonnière Rosé de Loire this vintage is–well–PINK… Not salmon, not copper, not silvery, but the pure Platonic ideal of pink. Mathieu explained to us that he presses the grapes under a blanket of inert gas in order to prevent any trace of oxidation and to preserve that electric hue. Primarily Cabernet […]
The first thing that struck us about Chateau Soucherie’s 2016 Rosé de Loire was its color: incredibly delicate and pale, hinting at a wine of total lightness and elegance. Indeed, Soucherie typically produces one of our most racy, evanescent rosés, and 2016 is no exception. Made from 90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Gamay from a […]
We left our afternoon visit with Philippe Gilbert marveling at how far he has come as a vigneron. In the late 1990s, Philippe left a promising career as a dramaturge to take over his father’s estate when he was on the brink of retirement. Philippe gradually converted to biodynamic viticulture (certified in 2013), eschewed the […]
We started the day bright and early in Crochet‘s teeth-chatteringly frigid cellar, but the dense, electric 2016 Sancerre Rosé quickly snapped us to attention. Long a standout in our stable of classic rosés, this 2016 is shaping up to be among the finest vintages we’ve yet encountered. Gilles produces this wine from younger Pinot Noir […]
When telling the story of Josko Gravner, it’s tempting to fixate on his use of extended skin-contact and his employment of buried terra-cotta amphorae—after all, he was among the very first growers in Italy to revive these ancient techniques, and he is justly celebrated today as a pioneer and a living legend. A less-emphasized—but no […]
“Take the time necessary to allow nature to complete its work; accompany the life of the wine without directing it, accepting the risks and differences.”—Olivier Jullien While we at Rosenthal Wine Merchant are steadfast in our dedication to the notion of terroir, we also acknowledge that the very greatest of wines are stewarded into existence by […]
In a just world, Chateau Simone would be as renowned and coveted by Americans as the greatest Bordeaux and Burgundy are. As it stands, the wines from this singular estate in Provence remain something of an insider’s secret in the United States—hugely respected and beloved by those in the know, but known by far too […]
Hey gang, I had a very impressive half-dozen wines in my bag yesterday, but one in particular really reached out and throttled me… I’m sure you’ve all had similar experiences as I have with young Conti Boca being somewhat reticent and closed-in on itself–a beautifully muscled runner that still needs to warm up before she […]
The tiny Cappellano estate in Serralunga d’Alba is beloved worldwide for its steadfastly traditional, charming, and profound Barolo, Barbera, and Dolcetto. But did you know the family invented the sublime elixir known as Barolo Chinato? That’s right: Dr. Giuseppe Cappellano, a pharmacist by trade, developed this uncanny mixture of vintage Barolo with herbs and spices steeped in […]
Neal I’ve been on a skin-contact kick lately. I think that beginning our relationship with Gravner and diving into those wines in a serious way triggered a perspective shift in my brain. While I had always enjoyed “orange wines” and found them interesting, I was never able to “see into” them the way I felt […]
A winegrower’s job is never easy, and every vintage presents its own unique challenges. Be it excessive rain, some new pest, severe drought, heat, or mildew, environmental obstacles necessitate constant diligence and creativity on the part of the vigneron. Having heard reports of a widespread and devastating spring frost in France, we headed into our […]
Generational shifts in Burgundy can be fraught with anxiety for both winegrower and consumer. The younger generation of vigneron attempts to balance a sense of duty toward tradition and history with a desire to execute a personal vision and philosophy. And the consumer waits with bated breath to see if wines she’s cherished in the […]
I had quite a few wines open in Philadelphia this past week as part of a portfolio tasting we did with our distributor there. I’ll send more detailed notes on some of the other wines under separate cover, but I wanted to take a minute to spotlight a wine that was an absolute show-stopper: the […]
I had a tremendous lineup of 2012 Burgundies out today. This was prompted by me sending an email blast showing the 2012’s we still have in stock (and praising the vintage in general), and having several clients express curiosity. I presented the lineup to two clients, then hosted a lunch for a few others at […]