A Study in the Subtleties of Northern Rhône Terroirs

Posted on Posted in Domaine Guillaume Gilles, Domaine Lionnet, Wine Press

By Eric Asimov
Sept. 3, 2020

This month we’re going to try something a little different.

Ordinarily, I suggest three bottles of the same type of wine. Instead, I want to compare three wines that are closely related but come from different appellations within a larger region, the Northern Rhône Valley of France.

Each is made with the syrah grape. But what if anything distinguishes one from the others? That’s what we are going to examine.

The French appellation system suggests that each place will have its own distinctive characteristics. It’s one thing, say, to compare a Chambolle-Musigny from Burgundy with a Chinon from the Loire Valley. One is made from pinot noir, the other with cabernet franc. You would expect that they would differ for that reason alone.

But if wines are made with the same grape, other factors come into play. In the case of the Northern Rhône, the French authorities concluded long ago that the wines made in St.-Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas were all sufficiently distinctive to warrant separate appellations….

We have not covered Cornas previously, so if you cannot find the Granit 30, please consider bottles from Franck Balthazar, Alain Voge, Guillaume Gilles, Mickaël Bourg, Domaine Lionnet and Jean-Baptiste Souillard. I’m not suggesting legendary producers like Thierry Allemand and Auguste Clape, but if you have a spare bottle, by all means go ahead and drink it.

Read More

12 Summer Sparkling Wines, Because Who Needs a Reason

Posted on Posted in Domaine de Montbourgeau, Luigi Ferrando, Wine Press

Beyond Champagne, excellent bubbly now comes from all over in a diversity of styles. You don’t require a special occasion to enjoy them.

Domaine de Montbourgeau Crémant du Jura Brut Zéro NV $26.99

The Jura region of France is a reliable source of Champagne-style sparkling wines that are subtly different from Champagne. This one, from the excellent Domaine de Montbourgeau, is a fine example. It’s rich and creamy, yet precise — bone dry and still rounded and lush. In most Champagne-style wines, producers add a dose of sweetness just before sealing the bottle to balance the often searing acidity. But if the wine is balanced without the dosage, as this one is, it can be omitted. Hence the designation, Brut Zéro. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York)

From Good Wine, a Direct Path to the Wonders of Nature

Posted on Posted in Domaine du Jaugaret, Wine Press

Last year a friend asked me a question I had never considered before: Over the many years I had been writing about wine, what was the greatest thing this job had given me?

I answered almost reflexively. As a New Yorker who has spent most of my life living in Manhattan, wine had provided me a connection to nature that I most likely would never have experienced otherwise.

I’ve thought about this a lot over the last few weeks, as the pandemic has now been with us for more than four months. Most of that time, I’ve been in my apartment, far away from vineyards, much less anything that might reasonably be construed as wild and natural, like a forest or ocean. I feel the difference, physically and emotionally.

My friend professed surprise at my answer. He’d assumed that I would cite the wonderful, otherwise inaccessible wines I had been able to drink, or maybe the many intriguing personalities in the wine world with whom I’ve spent time.

These, of course, have been wonderful benefits as well. If I were not representing readers of The New York Times, I would never have had an opportunity, to drink, say, great old wine made from grapes harvested in 1846, or to try 16 vintages of Château Lafite-Rothschild going all the way back to 1868.

I also know that my understanding of wine would not be nearly as rich without having had the opportunity to spend time with people as diverse as Jean-François Fillastre

The Polarizing Power of Orange Wine

Posted on Posted in Gravner, Paolo Bea, Wine Press

THE POUR
By Eric Asimov

The best examples of these white wines, made with red techniques, are striking and wonderful. Still some dismiss this ancient wine, now trendy once more.

From a distance, what divides white wines from reds seems pretty clear. Yes, the color is obvious, but it’s also the methods of production.

To make red wine, the producer begins by macerating the juice of the grapes with the pigment-bearing skins. This adds not only color to the juice but also tannins, which contribute texture and structure to the darkening wine. When the fermentation is complete and the winemaker is satisfied, the wine is drawn off the skins to begin the aging process.

“Wines like those from Josko Gravner…”

“Farther south, in Umbria, Paolo Bea produces Arboreus, a waxy, bright and juicy wine made of trebbiano spoletino.”

The 25 Best Rosé Wines of 2020

Posted on Posted in Articles, Commanderie de Peyrassol, Wine Press

Even a global pandemic can’t dampen interest in the pink wine juggernaut. According to VinePair’s internal data, rosé is off to an earlier than usual start to its strongest seasonal period, with a 19 percent increase in reader interest this March compared to 2019.

That interest comes off the back of four years of solid growth. According to Nielsen data, off-premise sales of pink wine increased almost 300 percent between January 2016 and January 2020, starting the decade with a value of over $576 million. It’s a remarkable success story, and one that looks set to continue based on the increasing diversity and elevated quality of wines VinePair recently tasted for our annual rosé ranking.

This year’s list encompasses bottles from mainstay regions like Provence and southern Italy, with fresh additions from throughout the Mediterranean, including Spain and Greece. There’s also a strong selection of domestic offerings, many of which can be purchased and shipped right from the wineries. Winery-direct sales are particularly resonant right now, as much of the country is sheltering in place; it’s a sales channel we expect to see grow in importance moving forward in the new normal.

The number of bottles tasted for this year’s list surpassed 100 labels. With a staff panel of tasters, we hotly debated our selections and rankings based on drinkability, mass appeal, quality, and value for money, with prices taken from wine-searcher.com or the winery itself, in the case of direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings.

On the topic of price, the top 25 bottles of 2020 offer further proof of the value offered by the rosé category: More than half of the bottles on this year’s list deliver change from a crisp $20 bill. At least 10 come in at $15 or less.

1. CHÂTEAU PEYRASSOL

Château Peyrassol is one of the top 25 rosés of 2020. A delightful reminder of what makes Provence rosé so popular, this wine ticks all the boxes. The nose is delicate but serves layers of white flowers, red fruit, and a sprinkle of savory spices. The palate is both bold and refreshing, with tangy fruit cut by a piercing jolt of acidity. Add a hint of wet rocks and a dusting of white pepper to the equation, and you’ve got yourself the best rosé of 2019. If you can’t find this exact bottle, the producer’s entire range is equally impressive and should be sought out. Average price: $35.

Have Swiss Wines Finally Arrived?

Posted on Posted in Cave Caloz, Wine Press

Change has come glacially, but now is the time to explore these Alpine imports.

At first glance, Switzerland’s four official languages, six primary wine regions, 26 political cantons, and 62 appellations take some work to wrap your mind around. But the important things to know are fairly straightforward: the Valais and Vaud — mostly French-speaking and in country’s sunny southeast — produce glorious pinot noir and refreshing chasselas that represent almost all of what we see of Swiss wine in the U.S. These are followed by a smattering of whites and reds from the Three Lakes district just above that and then the many little denominations of the north-easternmost region, known plainly as German-speaking Switzerland. There is also Ticino, extending into the Italian boot, ably if curiously meeting this part of the country’s thirst for merlot.

15 Wines Under $15: Inexpensive Bottles for Stay-at-Home Drinking

Posted on Posted in Domaine de Fenouillet, Wine Press

These intriguing wines are sometimes quirky and often unusual. All are delightful, whether with a meal tonight or as gifts to those who could use one.

By Eric Asimov
April 2, 2020

Where I live in Manhattan, wine retailers appear to be experiencing a sales boom, even though many shops are in delivery- or pickup-only mode.

While these are financially difficult times for many people, the desire for wine and spirits remains strong.

People want to drink away the coronavirus blues, at least that’s part of it. But people are also finding comfort in good food, an intriguing bottle of wine, a new cocktail. That’s part of it, too.

So I thought I would put together an inexpensive case of wine, six whites and six reds that I highly recommend and that won’t break the bank. I threw in a few extras, a couple of sparklers and a sherry look-alike. Let’s call it 15 under $15.

Domaine de Fenouillet Vin de Pays de Vaucluse 2018 $14.99

This juicy, stony red comes from the Southern Rhône Valley. It’s labeled Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, because the blend of merlot and marselan falls outside of the appellation rules. You already know merlot, and marselan you may get to know. It’s one of seven grapes now permitted in certain Bordeaux appellations as winemakers begin to plan ahead for profound climate change. This one is certified organic and certifiably delicious. (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York)

Neal Rosenthal | Founder, Rosenthal Wine Merchant

Posted on Posted in Articles, Wine Press

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.

Rosé Champagne Brings the Holiday Joy

Posted on Posted in Champagne Guy Larmandier, Reviews, Wine Press

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.

Unique Gifts To Charm Wine Lovers For The 2019 Holidays

Posted on Posted in Commanderie de Peyrassol, Food News, Rosenthal Wine Merchant News, Wine Press

Jill Barth
Contributor
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.

‘Producing Wine With Each Other and the Creator’: A Group of Nuns on Operating Their Italian Vineyard

Posted on Posted in Articles, Monastero Suore Cistercensi, Rosenthal Wine Merchant News, Wine Press

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.

Why It’s Worth Knowing Who Imported Your Wine

Posted on Posted in Articles, Rosenthal Wine Merchant News, Wine Press

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.

20 Under $20: Minimal Effort, Maximum Pleasure

Posted on Posted in Articles, Chateau Soucherie, Grosjean Freres, Rosenthal Wine Merchant News, Wine Press

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.

Rosés Beyond Provence: In Search of Different Expressions

Posted on Posted in Articles, Domaine Lucien Crochet, Rosenthal Wine Merchant News, Sancerre, Wine Press

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 […]

12 Bargain Bordeaux Wines to Drink at Thanksgiving

Posted on Posted in Articles, Chateau Auney l’Hermitage, Château La Fleur Garderose, Chateau La Rame, Wine Press

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 […]

American Wine Importers That Changed the Game

Posted on Posted in Articles, DeForville, Domaine Ghislaine Barthod, Domaine Lucien Crochet, Jacques Puffeney, Luigi Ferrando, Occasional Thoughts, Paolo Bea, Wine Press

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 […]

5 Inspirational Lessons from a Veteran Wine Entrepreneur

Posted on Posted in Articles, Culture & Customs: A Mad Rose Group Project, Travel, Wine Press

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 […]

GRAPELIVE: WINE OF THE DAY MAY 2, 2018

Posted on Posted in Articles, Domaine de la Petite Mairie, Rosenthal Wine Merchant News, Wine Press

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 […]

In Pomerol, Wines of Grandeur From Modest Estates

Posted on Posted in Articles, Clos Saint-Andre, Wine Press

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, […]

Eight Star Producers in France’s New South

Posted on Posted in Articles, Domaine de l’Horizon, Wine Press

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 […]

Red Burgundy 2016 and 2015, Part 1: Two Terrific but Very Different Vintage

Posted on Posted in Articles, Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Domaine Fourrier, Domaine Georges Lignier, Domaine Ghislaine Barthod, Wine Press

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 […]

Six Affordable Bordeaux Worth the Hunt (Seriously)

Posted on Posted in Articles, Chateau Auney l’Hermitage, Chateau Moulin de Tricot, Wine Press

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 […]

Last-Minute Buys for Thanksgiving Wines

Posted on Posted in Articles, Domaine Cheveau, Insights, Wine Press

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 […]

Domaine du Gour de Chaulé & Domaine Lionnet – Josh Raynolds

Posted on Posted in Articles, Domaine du Gour de Chaulé, Domaine Lionnet, Wine Press

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 […]

Bordeaux Estate Makes Fine Wines Naturally

Posted on Posted in Le Puy, Wine Press

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 […]

A Wine with the Rhythm of Beaujolais and the Soul of Burgundy

Posted on Posted in Domaine Georges Lignier, Wine Press

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 […]

Switzerland’s Liquid Assets: Wines of the Valais

Posted on Posted in Cave Caloz, Cave des Tilleuls, Cave du Vieux-Moulin, Serge Roh-Cave Les Ruinettes, Wine Press

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 […]

The 2015 Red Burgundies: You Are So Going To Want Them

Posted on Posted in Domaine Bitouzet-Prieur, Domaine Forey Pere & Fils, Domaine Fourrier, Domaine Georges Lignier, Domaine Ghislaine Barthod, Domaine Hubert Lignier, Wine Press

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 […]

Can Northern Rhône Syrah Survive the Spotlight?

Posted on Posted in Bernard Levet, Domaine Lionnet, Guillaume Gilles, Insights, Robert Michel, Wine Press, Xavier Gerard

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 […]

Wine in Common: A Fine Read Wine

Posted on Posted in Wine Press

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: […]

Cappellano Barolo Chinato

Posted on Posted in Wine Press

After-dinner drinks are hardly the fashion these days, but Barolo Chinato is enjoying a moment. A bittersweet digestive produced in Piedmont since the late 1800s, it’s riding high on Barolo’s popularity. It satisfies the yen for handcrafted products, being made a few barrels at a time by serious winemakers from secret recipes. It’s a delicious […]

20 Wines for Under $20

Posted on Posted in Wine Press

20 Wines for Under $20: The Spring Edition   The Pour By ERIC ASIMOV APRIL 21, 2016 Monastero Suore Cistercensi Lazio Bianco Coenobium 2014, $19.99 This is a rare Lazio white with great character, a blend of trebbiano, malvasia and verdicchio. The grapes are grown by Cistercian nuns just north of Rome and made into […]

Domaine Thevenet & Fils

Posted on Posted in Wine Press

Domaine Thevenet & Fils 2013 Saint-Véran Clos de l’Ermitage Saint Claude Vieilles Vignes 88 2013 Mâcon Pierreclos 87 Vinous is a subscription based wine publication. Get more details here. We began working with Jean-Claude Thevenet in 1982.  At that point, having taken responsibility for this family domaine in 1971  from his father, Raymond, when their […]

Domaine du Clos des Rocs

Posted on Posted in Wine Press

Domaine du Clos des Rocs – Oliver Giroux 2014 Pouilly-Loché En Chantone 89 2014 Mâcon-Loché En Près Forêt 88 2013 Pouilly-Loché Clos des Rocs Monopole 91 2013 Pouilly-Loché En Chantone 88 2012 Pouilly-Loché Clos des Rocs Monopole 92+ 2012 Pouilly-Loché Les Mûres 91+ 2012 Pouilly-Loché Les Barres 90 2012 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Pierrotes 89 Vinous is […]

Domain Cheveau

Posted on Posted in Wine Press

Domain Cheveau 2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Aux Bouthières 91 2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Vieilles Vignes 90 2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Vers Cras 89+ 2013 Pouilly-Fuissé Les Trois Terroirs 89 Vinous is a subscription based wine publication. Get more details here. The cellars of the Domaine Cheveau are situated in the hamlet of Solutré-Pouilly in the heart of the appellation of […]