When Neal Rosenthal took over his father’s Upper East Side pharmacy-turned-liquor store in 1977, he couldn’t have predicted that it would mark the start of his decades-long career in wine. “I had no experience in wine from both a business or drinking standpoint,” says Rosenthal, adding that, at the time, he had no intention of pursuing it either.
But before long, the one-man retail operation quickly morphed into its current iteration: Rosenthal Wine Merchant, his namesake wine importing business that’s been going strong for more than four decades. In 1979, he started buying wines from California, then, within a year, began looking to Burgundy and beyond to expand his portfolio.
Champagne used to be such a simple thing. You popped a cork, and the gushing fountain of wine cued celebratory joy.
You might have had a preference among the house styles of the big Champagne producers, or grand marques. Or maybe you simply chose a brand as your own, as if it were cigarettes or beer.
Also worth noting were the chalky, energetic Vertus Premier Cru from Guy Larmandier.
★★½ Guy Larmandier Champagne Rosé Vertus Premier Cru Brut NV $50
Tangy and energetic, with creamy, chalky citrus flavors.
Food & Drink
I cover wine at work, with attention to makers and growers.
When the holidays roll around, no one wants to seem impersonal or cheap. Entertaining, gifting, dressing, dining—everything gets a special flair this time of year and that’s the fun of it. But, let’s be honest, an element of ease is important too.
I’m of the opinion that a bottle of wine is a lovely gift for most adults, but I’m also sure that the people on your list would enjoy receiving some extra dazzle. Here are a handful of easy-to-purchase yet oh-my-goodness gifts for wine lovers.
Neal Rosenthal is one of the most respected wine importers in North America, and his offshoot, Mad Rose Specialty Foods, bears his characteristic instinct for tasty, terroir-driven products from around Europe. While the site is packed with intriguing items—a vertical of vintage-dated Italian honeys, for example—the olive oils from Provençal wine domaines caught my eye. Château Peyrassol’s 2018 olive oil ($30) from their estate groves in the Var region is the perfect gift accompaniment for 2018 Commanderie de Peyrassol Château Peyrassol Rosé ($26). It can also be purchased as an element of the Premier Olive Oil Collection ($105) which also includes a bottle each from Italian family producers the Armatos and the Beas.
Religious women at a monastery outside Rome produce serious wines.
Passing by the vineyards at Monastero Suore Cistercensi, you may see figures pruning the vineyards or checking out clusters of grapes. What’s unique about these figures, though, is they are each wearing a nun’s habit.
We’ve all heard of beers made by Trappist monks—Chimay—and liqueurs by Carthusians—Chartreuse—but there is wine made by religious women too. At this monastery in Vitorchiano, Italy, the Sisters of the Cistercian Order tend five hectares of vineyards to make two white wine blends, Coenobium and Ruscom, as well as a red wine blend called Benedic.
IF I’M BROWSING for wine in a retail shop and chance upon an unfamiliar one, I’ll turn the bottle around and check the back label for the name of the importer. That name may be writ small or large, depending on the importer’s ego and/or typeface selection. Either way, it can be a useful indicator of the character, quality and even style of the wine.
Certain importers, such as Neal Rosenthal and Kermit Lynch, became famous decades ago thanks to their consistently well chosen, high-quality, interesting portfolios of wines. (See “The Old Guard,” below, for more about them.) They also inspired a new generation of professionals who have put together their own portfolios of characterful wines. I’m happy to see the name of any of the following companies when I check a back label. I know the wine will be an interesting one—and I’m that much more likely to try it out.
Weeknights are a state of mind. More accurately, they are a state of fatigue.
Whether it’s a Tuesday or a Saturday, sometimes all you want is an uninterrupted stretch of peace and quiet, maybe some leftovers and a chance to wear out the Netflix subscription. That, and a couple of glasses of decent wine.
Wine with dinner is an easy win, especially with a bottle that is not only good enough to pique your interest and reward your attention, but one that is also inexpensive, without requirements for concentration or close observation.
Neal Rosenthal is now selling European pantry staples on his Mad Rose website. By Florence Fabricant Aug. 26, 2019 Neal Rosenthal, the selective upstate importer of fine wines (mostly French and Italian), is also selling food online at his Mad Rose website. Several new products deserve pantry space. Roveja, brown to greenish-gray dried wild peas […]
By Eric Asimov June 6, 2019 June is here, and in wine shops and on restaurant wine lists that can only mean one thing: The rosés have arrived. For the next three months, the world will be awash in rosés. When the summer ends, they will disappear, consigned to dusty back shelves until the calendar […]
No. 4 was the 2015 Cuvée Carlan from Mas Jullien, a bright, balanced and structured blend of 60 percent grenache, 30 percent cinsault and a mixture of other varieties in the remainder.
VINS Pour ces trois spécialistes anglo-saxons, les bourgognes sont des vins à part, fruits d’une région qui a su garder son âme. Propos recueillis par Laure Gasparotto Publié le 14 septembre 2018 à 17h58 – Mis à jour le 14 septembre 2018 à 17h58 « L’expression du terroir a trouvé son apogée en Bourgogne. » « […]
BY ANTONIO GALLONI | NOVEMBER 30, 2018 I came away from my annual fall Champagne tastings absolutely exhilarated by the quality of the wines. As it turns out, I reviewed most of the new releases from the grandes marques in our Summer Preview, so this article focuses heavily on grower Champagnes. That is merely a […]
2015 Domaine Rollin Pere et Fils Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru The 2015 Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru has fresh and seemingly early-picked, more malic scents compared to its peers: the cooking apple and flint are, dare I say, almost Chablis-like in style! The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity. This taut, linear Corton-Charlemagne offers […]
2015 Domaine Jean-Marie Fourrier Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques 1er Cru The 2015 Gevrey-Chambertin Clos St.-Jacques 1er Cru has a sensual bouquet that remains transparent despite concentrated aromas of raspberry, crushed strawberry and a touch of orange blossom. The palate is rounded and quite sensual, the plumpest of the five Clos St.-Jacques, and a little glossy in […]
2015 Domaine Jean Chauvenet Nuits Saint-Georges Les Perrieres 1er Cru The 2015 Nuits Saint-Georges Les Perrières 1er Cru has an impressive bouquet with ample blackberry and raspberry fruit, fine definition and beautifully integrated oak. The harmonious palate is medium-bodied with sappy red berry fruit and a pure, sustained, precise finish. This is an outstanding Nuits […]
2015 Domaine Jacques Carillon Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrières 1er Cru The 2015 Puligny-Montrachet Les Perrières 1er Cru has the most attractive nose of four tasted in this flight from this particular vineyard: well defined, with mineral notes suffusing the citrus fruit with just a hint of white peach, and neatly integrated oak. The palate is very […]
2015 Domaine Hubert Lignier Morey Saint-Denis Vieilles Vignes 1er Cru The 2015 Morey-Saint-Denis 1er Cru has a wonderful, detailed, charming bouquet of red currant, cranberry and bergamot scents entwined with rose petals and minerals. The palate is well balanced, displaying fine definition, gentle grip and a hint of dried blood filtered through the slightly darker-than-expected […]
2015 Domaine Henri Prudhon Saint-Aubin La Chatenière 1er Cru The 2015 Saint-Aubin La Chatenière 1er Cru has a pretty bouquet of orange blossom, white peach and a little bruised apple, all nicely defined and displaying a subtle mineral edge. The well-balanced palate is sappy and saline in the mouth, offering a fine line of acidity […]
2015 Domaine Ghislaine Barthod Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru The 2015 Chambolle-Musigny Les Charmes 1er Cru shows a little stem addition on the fresh, detailed nose, which is earthier than those of its appellation peers and acquires graphite and tobacco scents with aeration. The palate is well-balanced, displaying good backbone and fine acidity, but tight […]
2015 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru The 2015 Meursault Les Charmes 1er Cru sports very slight reduction on the nose, but the terroir comes through: fine definition, scents of crushed stone and a little walnut, a subtle marine influence in the background. The palate is well defined with a crisp bead of acidity, […]
Agile, energetic wines that are versatile with many foods are best for the holiday feast. But with delicious food and lively company, it’s hard to go wrong. By Eric Asimov Nov. 1, 2018 Somewhere in this great land on Thanksgiving Day, a guest on the corny side will arrive at the feast, grinning and bearing […]
White and red, Bordeaux bargains abound. Here are 12 elegant, affordable picks. RAY ISLE October 09, 2018 French wine for Thanksgiving? Sacrilege! Why not drink something all-American, like Zinfandel … oh wait, that probably has its origins in Croatia, where it’s known as Crljenak Kaštelanski. The truth is, almost all of the wine we drink […]
GuildSomm Kelli White 18 Oct 2018 Neal Rosenthal throws open the door to his upstate New York farmhouse. Two red-tinted standard poodles spill out from either side of his legs and begin their inspection. I hold out my hands in greeting—one to Neal, one to the dogs. “You made it!” he exclaims, sounding as surprised […]
I thought considerably about this pairing, and it might be one of my favorites. “Many more people agree they hate poetry than can agree with poetry is,” writes Ben Lerner in this slim little volume that explores why, for millennia, people, even poets themselves like Lerner have been actively hating poetry even as its held […]
The Pour Eric Asimov Sept. 20, 2018 When you come home and you just want to flop, you want a wine that is inexpensive and undemanding. But that doesn’t mean the wine can’t be great. Weeknight wines are a genre of their own, but don’t take the phrase too literally. Plenty of people work weekends. […]
by Simon J Woolf 15/07/2018 Latest, Orange weekly Every week, Simon selects an orange wine (a white wine made with extended skin contact) that grabbed his attention. View the whole series here “The first problem for wine producers is not oidium, it’s ego”, states Paolo Vodopivec disarmingly. “I don’t want my ego in my wines”. […]
BY JOSH RAYNOLDS | JULY 18, 2018 Châteauneuf-du-Pape’s monumental 2015 vintage was a tough act to follow, but 2016 was up to the challenge. In fact, in many cases the wines from this uniformly outstanding warm year actually outclass – or at least outmuscle – their older siblings. If exuberant ripe fruit, harmonious tannins and […]
BY NEAL MARTIN | JULY 17, 2018 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur farms 12 hectares around the village of Volnay and Meursault, including a clutch of serious Volnay premier crus. I tasted a small selection of 2016s that had been recently bottled with winemaker François Bitouzet, the son of Vincent Bitouzet and Anne Prieur. Bitouzet practices organic viticulture […]
BY THE GLASS || By Ellen Bhang || GLOBE CORRESPONDENT || MAY 28, 2018 || The Mediterranean-hugging region of Provence in the sunny French South is arguably the most rosé-associated place on the planet. And while there is plenty of pink to be had, don’t let glossy ad campaigns lull you into thinking that’s all […]
Empire State South’s wine director recommends five of his favs. May 2018 || Steven Grubbs || The text message usually comes early evening: I’m at a wine shop what do I buy I could list some of my favorite French and Italian vintners, but there is zero guarantee that their bottles will be on the […]
BY IAN D’AGATA | MAY 17, 2018 | No other region in Italy offers as large a selection of outstanding white wines from so many different grape varieties as Friuli Venezia Giulia does, while the region’s native red grapes yield wines that are equally distinctive. Make no mistake about it: Friuli Venezia Giulia is the […]
From the advantages to staying small to the nuances of scaling the intimacy factor. By Cathy Huyghe Co-founder, Enolytics. Not every entrepreneur can afford to wait over 40 years to launch a brand extension. But for Neal Rosenthal, one of the most respected and established wine merchants in the world, his new venture into wine […]
2015 Domaine de la Petite Mairie, Bourgueil Rouge “Butte de Tyron” Loire Valley, France. A new domaine to me, Domaine de la Petite Mairie, is owned and managed by Corinne and James Petit, an enthusiastic couple who passionately care for their vines in the Bourgueil region of France’s Loire Valley, making studied and elegant versions […]
APR 30, 2018 Food & Drink Cathy Huyghe , CONTRIBUTOR How do you know which bottle to choose when you’re standing in front of a wall full of wine? That’s a question I hear a lot. For the answer, I rely on a lesson learned long ago. “Turn the bottle around.” To the back label, […]
Wineaux By Susana Leonardi My high school biology teacher, Sister Mary Justine (or maybe it was Sister Mary Martine — I confuse them) made the class spell aloud, in unison, the name of our current unit: S-E-X. I have no idea why shouting the letters was somehow more acceptable than her just saying the […]
By Eric Asimov March 1, 2018 Back in the early days of Wine School, we focused on Chianti Classico, the signature red of Tuscany. Now we head to a different part of Tuscany to drink Rosso di Montalcino. Rosso di Montalcino is the younger sibling of Brunello di Montalcino. Brunello must be aged for at […]
excerpt from: THE POUR By Eric Asimov Feb. 26, 2018 POMEROL, France — The word Bordeaux connotes magnificent chateaus, aristocratic (or at least wealthy or corporate) landowners and wines that occasionally live up to their pretensions. But in the vine-covered countryside surrounding this sleepy village, where the tiniest undulation of the land constitutes a hill, […]
FEBRUARY 7, 2018 story: JON BONNÉ Meet the winemakers leading the revolution in dry, mineral-driven wines in the Roussillon. When anyone thought about the southern French region of Roussillon, it was as the latter half of the awkward geographic mashup “Languedoc-Roussillon,” which was mostly known for stylish, ripe wines. A few informed souls might have […]
WINES OF THE TIMES By Eric Asimov Feb. 8, 2018 Oakiness was not an issue in the bottles we liked best. Our top wine, from De Forville, was a classic Barbaresco of the old school, with beautiful floral and anise flavors and an earthy minerality. It was a complete wine and, though accessible now, will […]
By Eric Asimov Feb. 1, 2018 For our next topic, let’s return to what may now be familiar ground, Bordeaux. Previously, we’ve looked at two very different appellations within Bordeaux, Haut-Médoc and Pomerol. This time, the topic will be defined by value rather than place. The dominant image of Bordeaux is one of imposing chateaus, […]
BY STEPHEN TANZER | JANUARY 25, 2018 Despite extreme weather conditions in both 2016 and 2015, Burgundy’s Côte d’Or has produced an outstanding pair of back-to-back vintages studded with hauntingly beautiful reds. Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur || Domaine Georges Lignier || Domaine Ghislaine Barthod || Domaine Fourrier/Jean-Marie Fourrier Ten years from now, when their painful memories of […]
Proof it’s possible to find charming expressions of the region’s native grapes, without undue manipulation and around $30. JANUARY 17, 2018 story: Jon Bonné photo: Lizzie Munro. Bordeaux may be big business, but this most influential of wine regions exists far outside today’s currents. At times, with its baked-in sense of superiority, it can come […]
Raise a glass for holiday wines. By Andrea Clurfeld | | November 27, 2017 It’s the time of year when almost everyone’s thoughts turn to gift giving. Yes, ’tis the season to be giving. There’s hardly a situation when giving a gift is wrong. The rub, it seems, is what to give. I’m going to […]
By Eric AsimovNov. 16, 2017 Thanksgiving is just about here. Preparations are well underway, everything seems to be in order, except … we forgot about the wine. This is not a drill. Whether Thanksgiving, Christmas or any other outsized entertainment situation, it is entirely possible that crucial but peripheral elements to the feast are […]
Lauren Mowery , CONTRIBUTOR In 1917, Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war on Germany. In 1926, real estate on Broadway and Wall Street sold for $7 per square inch. In 1936, Robert Redford, John McCain, and Supreme Court justice Anthony Kennedy were born. In 1944, The United States and allied troops invaded […]
From Chablis Gets the Côte de Beaune Treatment from Mother Nature (Jul 2016) by Stephen Tanzer Caves Jean et Sébastien Dauvissat Despite the hailstorm and significant rainfall in the early morning hours of September 1, the grapes were very healthy and ripe in 2015–12% potential alcohol for the village wines and 12.2% to 12.5% for […]
From 2016 & 2015 White Burgundy (Sep 2017) by Stephen Tanzer Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot Jean-Marc Pillot told me that based on the frost in 2016 and the date of the flowering he should have picked on October 3, but in the end he started on September 22 owing to the sustained hot weather from mid-July […]
From 2016 & 2015 White Burgundy (Sep 2017) by Stephen Tanzer Domaine Jacques Carillon Carillon’s 2016s were barely starting their secondary fermentations at the beginning of June and thus were untasteable at the time of my visit. Carillon told me he was surprised by their natural acidity levels considering the lateness of the harvest. “The […]
Eric Asimov THE POUR Sept. 21, 2017 The requirements for weeknight cooking are easy to understand, but weeknight wine? It’s a bit more conceptual. The last thing anyone wants after a long day of work is to put in another few hours over a cutting board and stove. But where is the labor in opening […]
2015 Domaine du Gour de Chaulé Gigondas Cuvée Tradition Brilliant ruby. A heady bouquet evokes ripe red and blue fruits, Indian spices and smoky minerals, along with a hint of candied lavender in the background. Deeply concentrated yet energetic black raspberry, boysenberry and spicecake flavors unfold slowly, picking up a licorice quality that expands on […]
Robert Camuto: Letter From Europe Wine Spectator July 24, 2017 Calabria Rocks Can Cirò be Italy’s next big thing? A new generation is on the move. Cirò is the kind of wine place I want to root for. This ancient Calabrian wine region in sun-baked southern Italy offers a gorgeous countryside of ancient olive trees […]
BY JOSH RAYNOLDS | JUNE 27, 2017 Among the oldest of many wine cliché’s is that Rosés don’t age well and, like seersucker suits, are out of style after the Labor Day following the vintage. While wearing summer suits out of season might not be in good taste, drinking the best pink wines year-round is […]
Eric Asimov THE POUR JUNE 22, 2017 If for no other reason than popular demand, summer is rosé season. These wines, once pitilessly disparaged as dull and anemic, have been hotter than July for a decade, a climactic shift that shows no signs of letting up. In the past few months, three books on rosé […]
Eric Asimov THE POUR JUNE 16, 2017 ST.-CIBARD, France — The French have a notion that has no real counterpart in English for discussing a delicious wine. It is digestibilité, digestibility in English, a single word that, like terroir, connotes something far more complex. Digestibilité begins with deliciousness, but it also indicates wines that are […]
BY ANTONIO GALLONI | MAY 2, 2017 Domaine Lignier’s Clos de la Roche is one of Burgundy’s most renowned wines. This remarkable vertical of twenty vintages went back to 1978 and encompassed three distinct eras of the domaine’s distinguished history. Historical Background Domaine Lignier was founded in the late 1880s, but its modern-day history begins […]
What if Beaujolais and red Burgundy had a love child? Megan Krigbaum on Passetoutgrain, a historic but little-known appellation in Burgundy responsible for high-quality, affordable wines made from gamay and pinot noir. PUNCH: APRIL 19, 2017 story: MEGAN KRIGBAUM photo: LIZZIE MUNRO Could there be any wine more ideal than one with the pedigree of […]
April 2017 By Josh Raynolds Famille Levet With a mere three and a half hectares of vines, all of them in Côte-Rôtie, the Levets’ wines will never be especially easy to find, but they have become a beacon for fans of traditional renditions of the appellation. Made with a high percentage of whole clusters (100% […]
April 2017 Vinous By Josh Raynolds Yves Cuilleron “Since I like Syrah that’s powerful and expressive, 2015 is a fantastic vintage where nature basically made the wine,” Yves Cuilleron told me. He pointed out that ’15 is “an extremely unique year because it’s like a mix of the best qualities of the best vintages of […]
April 2017 Vinous By Josh Raynolds François et Xavier Gérard Wine Tasting Notes Score Saint-Joseph Le Blanchard Youthful purple. Mineral- and spice-accented aromas of dark berries and violet on the expressive nose. At once fleshy and lithe, offering appealingly sweet blackberry, cherry liqueur and spicecake flavors, plus a building suggestion of smokiness. Shows very good […]
April 2017 Vinous By Josh Raynolds Famille Levet With a mere three and a half hectares of vines, all of them in Côte-Rôtie, the Levets’ wines will never be especially easy to find, but they have become a beacon for fans of traditional renditions of the appellation. Made with a high percentage of whole clusters […]
La Manarine Cotes du Rhone, Red, 2014 Travaillan, France, $13.99 In the world of wine, Domaine La Manarine is a relatively minor player — about 89 acres of vines, 60,000 bottles of wine a year — and that’s a good thing. Good, because the wines made there by owner Gilles Gasq are well-crafted and a […]
Wine & Spirits Decades of high tariffs kept the country’s wine producers from exporting abroad. But at long last, Swiss bottles are popping up on menus and merchants’ shelves. By Anthony Giglio on February 07, 2017 Any adventurous skier who has the temerity to take four cable cars from the Swiss resort village of Verbier […]
88 Ermes Pavese – Valle d’Aosta Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle 2014 $30 Apple, straw and lemon flavors mark this juicy white, which features a chalky underpinning, finishing with a touch of grip. Prié Blanc. Drink now. 7253 bottles imported. – B.S. (Bruce Sanderson)
Dolcetto has long been in the shadow of Piedmont’s much more famous Nebbiolo grape. But for wine lovers, that’s good news: Top Dolcettos are among the best bargains around By LETTIE TEAGUE Updated Feb. 8, 2017 SOME GRAPES, through no fault of their own, are the perennial plus-one, the second banana, the vinous add-on. That’s […]
BY STEPHEN TANZER | JANUARY 26, 2017 Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur François Bitouzet described 2015 as “a very silky, balanced year for Volnays” despite the challenging conditions. “It was a very dry year with strong oidium pressures, even worse than the last bad oidium year, 2004,” he told me in mid-November. “We had to treat the vines […]
Both Côte-Rôtie and Cornas have entered the spotlight after decades in the shadows. Jon Bonné considers how the rush of fame has affected these regions, and what it signals for the future of northern Rhône syrah. JANUARY 19, 2017 story: JON BONNÉ As I walk along the muted streets of Ampuis, one July afternoon, it’s […]
Neal Rosenthal’s Reflections of a Wine Merchant offers oenophiles a deep appreciation for the traditions of winemaking BY PETE HOLLAND JAN 19, 2017 5 AM Many people ask sommeliers what it took to get their job. I suppose those holding the impossibly lofty Master Sommelier title might tell them that becoming a sommelier is simple: […]
A new designation for the much-maligned sparkling wine gives hope to Spanish vintners trying to make top-tier juice. Read more about Recaredo.