Company History

The Mad Rose Group is a family-run organization that is composed of a close-knit group of people who understand that wine is an agricultural product and that in its best and purest form wine must reflect a specific sense of place. We share the goal of communicating this concept to a growing audience by presenting the finest examples of wine made in the classical western European tradition.

This endeavor started in 1977 as a humble, one-man retail operation located in New York City but very much outside the mainstream of the wine business. Neal Rosenthal, having stepped away from his corporate and international law practice, conceived of this project. Joined shortly thereafter by his partner, (Ms.) Kerry Madigan, the two expanded their fledgling company, known as Rosenthal Wine Merchant ("RWM"), from its retail base to become an importer and distributor of fine wine and specialty food products.

The objective from the outset was to work as directly as possible with growers who were dedicated to producing limited quantities of the finest quality wines and who shared the RWM passion for "terroir", that ephemeral "sense of place". Forays into California in 1979 and then into France and Italy in January 1980 were the initial explorations. Since that time the RWM portfolio has grown to include 100 different suppliers. These producers supply wines from almost every viticultural area of France, a broad range of wines from Piedmont, Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio, Liguria, Lombardy and the Valle d’Aosta in Italy, the high mountain area of the Valais district of Switzerland and a unique Cava from Spain’s Catalonia. The wines are selected for concentration, purity of flavors, and clarity of expression. All products brought to the marketplace by RWM are produced in as natural a manner as possible; we believe strongly in sustainable and organic agriculture. Our selections have a striking balance between finesse and power which results in exceedingly age worthy wines.  Our credo is best expressed in our brief essay on “The Concept of Terroir” which can be found in a separate tab on this website.

With the assistance of a small and passionate team, the RWM selections are now distributed in 35 states and the District of Columbia. The consistent growth, both in number of suppliers and clients, has never caused us to be less than faithful to the goal of presenting the finest quality products. We refuse to stray from this high standard despite the rigors of a marketplace that frequently casts about for the newest winemaking fad or demands more wine from the "hot sources". As we have grown, we have preferred to change the commercial balance at our growers, shepherding more wine into bottle rather than into the hands of negociants. We prefer to seek out other small sources of supply rather than work with a cooperative, negociant, or large commercial producers to keep the flow of wine coming.  All of our wines are “estate-bottled”.

RWM is proud of the fact that our selection is distinctive and expresses a consistent style. We have never purchased wine to simply fill a slot or a missing appellation. Each grower is visited twice yearly to follow the evolution of the wines and to track the development of each estate. The entire sales staff also visits each grower so that the nuances of each domaine can be successfully communicated to the American marketplace. We note with pride that our list of growers has remained rather constant over the years. This is a testament to the richness of our relationships with our suppliers. We conscientiously work with our producers to insure that they stay on course. A hallmark of our success is that together we have weathered the occasional difficult vintage because of the extraordinary partnerships we have formed with our suppliers and the understanding on the part of each of these suppliers of the obligation to provide RWM with wine of character and class every year.

Over the years, we have also encountered artisanal producers of exceptional food products.  These olive oils, honeys and associated gourmet items are purchased for sale in the US market under the same principles that apply to our purchases of wine: the finest quality, expressing the flavors of a particular place, produced in as natural manner as possible by individuals who share our obsession with the notion of terroir.  These products are available for purchase through this website as well as at a handful of specialty food shops across the USA.

The Mad Rose Group, through Rosenthal Wine Merchant, is proud of its accomplishments, will continue to educate the public about the joys of our products and is dedicated to providing the finest quality both in product and in service.  We are grateful to our suppliers for their hard work and their loyalty; we are grateful as well to our colleagues who share our philosophy and who work so diligently to communicate our ideas to the public; and, we could not survive without the curiosity and enthusiastic participation of our clients: our distributors, the many retail wine merchants and restaurants who appreciate (and buy!) our selections and the individuals who buy and drink our wines and use our food products in their kitchens and dining rooms.  It is a privilege and a pleasure to realize that somewhere, every day, someone is enjoying a Rosenthal Wine Merchant selection.

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