read the entire article here (subscription required) BY ERIC GUIDO | APRIL 21, 2022 Friuli-Venezia Giulia never rests. It’s one of the reasons the region was able to establish itself as the epicenter for white wine production in Italy. It’s the reason why leading producers had so much success internationally with their stylized Super Whites
Domaine Levet in Côte-Rôtie has been a cornerstone of our portfolio since the 1983 vintage—the first they ever produced. Bernard and Nicole Levet started their domaine with three and a half hectares of enviable holdings around Ampuis, passed down through Nicole’s father Marius Chambeyron…Read More
We at Rosenthal Wine Merchant have always relished working with small producers, and we have grown our portfolio over the years by continuing to forge alliances with people who work their land on an intimate, human scale. Read More
Domaine Georges Lignier possesses among the more astonishing collections of vineyards in the Côte de Nuits, but it wasn’t until young Benoit Stehly—Georges’ nephew—took the reins in 2010 that the wines began to fully articulate the greatness of their terroirs. Read More
These 12 wines, made by vignerons and not grand estates, are classically refreshing and altogether inviting. The POUR By Eric Asimov Published March 31, 2022 Updated April 1, 2022 Sales of Bordeaux in the United States took off last year, rising by 24 percent in volume, according to the Bordeaux Wine Council, a trade group.
For over four decades, we at Rosenthal Wine Merchant have forged our reputation seeking out distinctive and characterful wines from every corner of viticultural France and Italy. Along the way, we have been guided neither by concerns about marketability nor by ideological strictures, but by our own aesthetic North Star. Read More
The Lionnet family has been farming in Cornas since 1575, and the five-hectare domaine today comprises an impressive array of very old vines in some of the area’s greatest sites. In 2003, Corinne Lionnet and her husband Ludovic Izerable—originally from Grenoble—assumed control of the family holdings…Read More
Though technically part of Burgundy, Chablis is adamantly its own place, not only for its colder, grimmer climate, or its entirely different geological origins, but for its distinct traditions of élevage. Read More
These 20 wines are not from the most famous regions. But they are great values and, most important, delicious. By Eric Asimov Jan. 13, 2022 It’s a bleak, cold January day, and as I look out the window at a solitary, huddled figure waiting for a city bus, I want nothing more than the hot
WINE SCHOOL By Eric Asimov Dec. 27, 2021 It’s a recently popular style made with ancient techniques: whites produced using the methods for reds. Is it a passing fancy, or will it endure? We don’t ordinarily get too deeply into the details of making wine, but we will with our next subject, orange wines, also
The Charming Jura Wines of Domaine Pêcheur
It’s tempting to exoticize the wines of the Jura: a land that time forgot, planted to idiosyncratic varieties, aged in offbeat ways, and so forth. (I’ve certainly put forth such notions in my proselytizing efforts over the years!) But, to those rooted here, the wines of the Jura are simply… wines. To be sure, non-stringent appellation controls and an overriding outsider spirit make the Jura a hotbed of experimentation, but plenty of talented growers here produce lovely wines which convey their unique terroir without attendant renegade flair.
Christian and Patricia Pêcheur exude an infectious warmth each time we visit them in their sleepily picturesque home village of Darbonnay, serving their wines and showing off their magnificent Château-Chalon cellar with a combination of refreshing frankness and joy. Christian’s parents established Domaine Pêcheur in 1976 with just two hectares in Passenans, in the Côtes du Jura, and Christian and Patricia have expanded to just shy of eight hectares since assuming control of the domaine in 1992. If their wines lack the auteur-like majesty of Puffeney’s or the brazen wildness of Gahier’s, they compensate with directness and accessibility; these are lovable wines that provide ample pleasure and constitute easy entry-points into the region’s vinous treasure.
Christian and Patricia farm without the use of chemical herbicides or pesticides, and their cellar work is unglamorously straightforward: natural fermentations in steel, and aging in well-used but sound oak barrels. The Pêcheurs’ vines are between 35 and 50 years old on average, with the Chardonnay and most of the Savagnin planted in pebbly dolomitic limestone, and the Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot Noir planted in red marlstone soils; the Savagnin destined for the fabled Château-Chalon is planted in the distinctive blue-grey marlstone of that appellation. Their gentle hand in the cellar produces wines of elegance, transparency, and digestibility, and even their long-aged sous-voile wines convey an appealing lightness of touch.
2020 Côtes du Jura Poulsard
The Pêcheurs’ limpid, delicious Poulsard verges on rosé in color, yet delivers plenty of jammy strawberry and cherry, underpinned by a tender minerality. From 25-year-old vines in the Champs Rouge vineyard in Passenans, it is destemmed entirely and spends a year aging in a combination of stainless steel and used 600-liter oak casks.
2020 Côtes du Jura Trousseau
Displaying a variety-typical greater depth of fruit and breadth of structure compared to the Poulsard above, Pêcheur’s Trousseau nonetheless offers easy drinkability and effortless balance, its cherry and plum fruit augmented by a hint of licorice. This is aged entirely in used demi-muids after a spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel, and bottled just before the following harvest.
2020 Côtes du Jura Pinot Noir
Fermented in steel and aged entirely in used barrels like the Trousseau above, the Pêcheurs’ Pinot Noir combines varietal silkiness and delicacy with a hint of the Jura’s telltale mineral twang; and, as with all the domaine’s red wines, it impresses with balance and freshness rather than depth of color or richness of structure.
2019 Côtes du Jura “Cuvée des Trois Cépages”
As its name implies, this wine combines the Jura’s three main red varieties Poulsard, Pinot Noir, and Trousseau in roughly equal proportions. Tactile, scrumptious red fruit gets a bit of punch from the Trousseau and a bit of suaveness from the Pinot Noir, offering an excellent sense of tension on the palate.
2018 Côtes du Jura Chardonnay
From 35-year-old vines in Mont Royal, Grand Vaux, and Chanet planted in dolomitic limestone, Pêcheur’s Chardonnay spends two full years in used barrels with no topping up after a spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel. Gently oxidative without displaying the full thrust of the voile, this maintains a vibrant sense of acidity and a well-articulated minerality.
2017 Côtes du Jura Blanc “Cuvée Spéciale”
A step up in oxidative complexity from the Chardonnay above, the Pêcheurs’ “Cuvée Speciale” combines roughly equal parts Savagnin and Chardonnay, neither of which are topped up during their three-year stint in well-used barrels. Despite its wealth of sea-salt minerality and marzipan-like voile character, this maintains a sense of poise and prettiness—very much in the overall style of the house.
Also available: 2012 “Cuvée Spéciale” library release (highly limited)
2016 Côtes du Jura Savagnin
The domaine’s pure Savagnin, from the dolomitic blue limestone soils of the Mont Royal, Grand Vaux, and Chanet vineyards, offers a gentler take on the sous-voile version of this legendary variety than those of Arbois or L’Étoile. Aged three years in old barrels with no topping up, it presents flavors of Indian curry and yellow fruits on an airy, breezily mineral frame, finishing with impressive length but without undue weight.
The Vin-Jaune-only appellation of Château-Chalon is the Jura’s grand cru in all but name, its ultra-steep slopes of grey marl producing wines of greater finesse and more pronounced minerality than its peers in Arbois. Aged in a rustic above-ground barrel cellar with wide temperature fluctuations, Pêcheur’s Château-Chalon—from 50-year-old Savagnin in the south-facing Gaillardon vineyard—is a wine of deft precision, with a smoky mezcal-like note emerging from beneath its intensely saline minerality and taut green fruits.
2009 Côtes du Jura Vin de Paille
Comprised of 70% Chardonnay with 15% each Savagnin and Poulsard, the Pêcheurs’ lovely version of this traditional Jura sweet wine is dried for several months on straw mats and aged two years in neutral oak after the meager amount of juice wrested from the raisins finishes fermenting. With its bristling acidity and its layered flavors of orchard fruits, honey, and brown sugar, this somehow remains fresh, drinkable, and digestible amidst all that residual sugar.
Along with its neighbors Puligny-Montrachet and Meursault, Chassagne-Montrachet is viewed today as one of white Burgundy’s “big three”—a world-famous village synonymous with layered, mineral-driven, age-worthy Chardonnay…Read More
An Evening with Xavier Gérard It was a real treat to have our friend Xavier Gérard in NYC for a few days this past week. The overarching reason for Xavier’s trip was a dinner in his honor, hosted by the Commanderie des Costes du Rhône, a fraternity of over 4,000 enthusiasts with chapters worldwide dedicated
2019 Château du Petit Thouars Chinon Les Georges The 2019 Chinon Les Georges is a savory Cabernet Franc with masses of spice and smoky nuances alongside violets and red fruit. Savory and serious Old World tannins offer a chalky grip on the sappy, fresh finish. Drink now with food or over the medium term. —
The Jura’s meteoric rise among American wine drinkers over the past decade has been well documented, but the wines from the tiny appellation of L’Étoile remain somewhat less known. Perhaps that’s due to its comparatively diminutive size, or perhaps to its lack of appellation-status red wines—much initial fervor over the Jura in the US was driven by the region’s light, irresistible indigenous Poulsard and Trousseau—but L’Étoile, with its exceptionally rocky and limestone-dense soil, quietly produces among the Jura’s most profoundly mineral-driven white wines. The appellation’s undisputed leader is Domaine Montbourgeau, a nine-hectare estate founded in 1920 with whom Rosenthal Wine Merchant has been working for two decades now. Nicole Deriaux, for many years the only woman to head a domaine in the Jura, inherited Montbourgeau from her father Jean with the 1986 vintage, and today Nicole’s sons Baptiste and César are gradually learning the ropes under her careful guidance. Nicole farms without chemical treatments, and raises her wines according to the Jura’s distinctive and proud traditions, fully embracing the power of the local yeasts (the voile) to engender a complexity and a specificity of character unique to the region.
This cuvée has long been our go-to for reasonably priced, traditionally produced Jura Chardonnay. Vinified in steel but aged in well-used barrels with no topping up, it is bottled two years after harvest—enough time to display oxidative influence but not long enough to develop full-on voile character. The resulting wine is vividly fruit-driven yet saline and long, bursting with expressiveness.
2017 L’Étoile “En Banode”
This unique cuvée represents roughly equal parts Chardonnay and Savagnin interplanted in a single vineyard by Nicole’s father Jean Gros in 1970. Over the years, the ripening cycles of the two varieties have aligned, allowing them to be harvested at the same time at proper maturity for both. Like the L’Étoile above, this ferments in steel and ages for two years in barrels—the first year in 25-hectoliter foudre, and the second in 500-liter demi-muid with no topping up. “En Banode” is forceful in its salinity, underlining the site’s heavy limestone content, and the Savagnin contributes a lurking power which is emphasized by the vineyard’s typically ultra-low yields.
2017 L’Étoile “Montangis” [NEW]
“Montangis” represents Montbourgeau’s oldest parcel: Chardonnay with a few stray interplanted vines of Savagnin and Poulsard, planted in 1930 by her grandfather Victor Gros in a particularly stony and fossil-rich vineyard. Like the two wines above, it is vinified in steel, transferred to large foudre for its first year of aging, then racked into used 228-liter barrels for a second year during which time it is not topped up at all. “Montangis” is thickly textured and densely concentrated due to the vines’ age, with a powerful sense of minerality not at all obstructed by the voile’s subtle influence.
2016 L’Étoile “Cuvée Spéciale”
“Cuvée Spéciale” showcases Nicole’s masterful ability to preserve acid-mineral complexity and nuance even through extended sous-voile aging. Composed of Chardonnay with a few stray vines of Savagnin, this cuvée undergoes alcoholic and malolactic fermentation in used 228-liter barrels with no temperature regulation. It remains in those barrels, with no topping up, for four years—sometimes five—developing a full veil during its long aging and resulting in a mouthwateringly salty and profound expression of Jura Chardonnay.
2017 L’Étoile Savagnin
Montbourgeau’s outstanding Savagnin is produced from 20-year-old vines planted in veins of grey and blue marne, a soil particularly favored by the variety but less common in L’Étoile than elsewhere in the region. Nicole ferments it in steel and employs 30-hectoliter foudres for the first year of elevage; 600-liter demi-muids are used for the second, third, and fourth years, during which time the Savagnin develops a full voile. This electrifying wine combines L’Étoile’s high-tension acidity with broad, almond-tinged golden fruits and a blast of sea salt, and its finish lasts well past the minute mark.
2018 L’Étoile Savagnin “Les Budes” [NEW]
With the 2018 “Les Budes,” Montbourgeau—under Nicole’s son César’s guidance—has produced their first-ever topped-up example of Savagnin, fermented and aged in used 500-liter barrels and bottled after two years of elevage. This cuvée forefronts Savagnin’s spicy, luscious character while preserving the deep sense of salinity that drives the sous-voile version, but its overall personality is far gentler, more subtle, and geared more toward finesse than the classic Savagnin above.
2012 L’Étoile Vin Jaune
Hailing as it does from the elegance-enhancing soils of L’Étoile, Montbourgeau’s Vin Jaune displays a precision and lift rare in the genre. Its briny voile thwomp is sheathed in fruit less rich than that of its cousins in the RWM stable, and it punches all the more devastatingly for it. Quince paste, freshly polished brass, and pink salt coat the palate completely, provoking salivation and building to a full-bore, tunneling finish of great tension.
Over the past 35 years, Giampiero Bea—both through his own deeply personal wines and his far-reaching influence—has become a cornerstone of our family of growers. Building on the work of his father, a through-and-through farmer whose Umbrian dialect is so thick as to be nearly incomprehensible to outsiders…Read More
A source of pure, chiseled red Burgundy for us for over 25 years now, Domaine Jérôme Chezeaux is undergoing a particularly exciting phase. While the wines have always been honest and delicious, the last few vintages show a level of finesse and precision which places them squarely into the top ranks of the Côte d’Or’s elite. Read More
Maria Sole Giannelli’s wines won immediate acclaim among our clientele earlier this year, with her inaugural shipment selling out within a few short weeks of arrival. Happily, we are slated to receive a second order from her later this month, comprising the new vintage of her terrific rosato “Noble Kara,”…Read More
The histories of Rosenthal Wine Merchant and the village of Carema have been intertwined since January of 1980, when Neal purchased a small lot of wine from Luigi Ferrando—the very first wine he ever imported. Over the ensuing decades…Read More
August 27, 2021 KAREN MACNEIL (Chassagne-Montrachet, Burgundy, France) $75 Every now and then, every wine drinker deserves a good red Burgundy for the sublime beauty and silkiness that such wines possess. The small village of Chassagne-Montrachet in the Côte de Beaune is best known for its Chardonnays, but Pinot Noir makes up about a third
No domaine with whom we work embodies the Jura’s pre-technological agrarian past as wholeheartedly as Overnoy-Crinquand, headed today by the warm and energetic Mickael Crinquand. Although the family still derives twice as much income from their Comté cows as their wines, Mickael’s 5.5 hectares in the prized hills of Pupillin yield wines of tremendous character and staggering authenticity—wines that could be produced absolutely nowhere else but the Jura. Mickael’s forebears were never seduced by the labor-saving chemicals being flouted several decades back, and so the family’s vineyards have always been worked organically (certified as such since 1999). The stark, bare-bones cellar, located beneath their modest home, houses huge barrels of 50 to 100 years of age within which their completely egoless wines gradually take form. If these wines are perhaps less chiseled and fleet-footed than Montbourgeau’s, or less full-throttle than Les Matheny’s, they more than compensate with their sense of timeless calm and inimitable local flavor.
Crémant du Jura Blanc
Mickael’s Crémant Blanc is pure Chardonnay with 30 months of lees contact and a mere 0.5 grams per liter dosage. Produced exclusively from the 2017 vintage, this disgorgement offers greater textural plushness and breadth than the beloved Montbourgeau Crémant above, with iron-tinged minerality and a gently honeyed character.
2019 Arbois-Pupillin Ploussard
Overnoy-Crinquand’s Ploussard, from 25- to 60-year-old vines in Pupillin, pours a pale-orange-tinged ruby, but offers surprisingly meaty depth and firm minerality. Large, ancient barrels preserve the wine’s freshness and allow for an extremely conservative application of sulfur, and this 2019 is a richer and more palate-coating example than certain vintages, owing to the growing season’s solar character. Still, this is a wine driven by spice, and it remains a beguiling combination of delicacy and earthy funk.
2019 Arbois-Pupillin Trousseau
Although it is more ethereal than the versions from Les Matheny and Joseph Dorbon owing to Pupillin’s elegance-enhancing terroir, Mickael’s Trousseau—aged in similar fashion to the Ploussard above—offers plenty of ripe, controlled red fruits, with a twist of licorice and dusty spices, and anchored by mellow but present acidity. It is slightly richer and more concentrated than the Ploussard, but, as is often the case here, the two are closer in body and personality than at many domaines.
2018 Arbois-Pupillin Chardonnay “La Bidode”
Crinquand’s “La Bidode” is produced from 40-year-old Chardonnay planted in the vineyard of the same name, on a steep slope just behind the family house in Pupillin. While it is not topped up during its two-year elevage, this shows significantly less oxidative character than those from our other growers in the region, due partly to the size and age of the barrels—25-hectoliter foudres whose many years of usage have greatly reduced porosity—and partly to Pupillin’s terroir. Floral, fine, and sprightly, this offers excellent precision and lift.
2016 Arbois-Pupillin Chardonnay “Vieilles Vignes”
A unique and arresting wine, Mickael’s old-vines bottling of Chardonnay is picked three weeks later than the “La Bidode” above, with frequent occurrences of botrytis among the bunches. Fermented and aged three full years in well-used 600-liter barrels, the 2016 harnesses the full capacity of its 70-year-old vines, offering a gripping, powerful palate whose dense, apricot-dominated fruit threatens to outmuscle the wine’s voile-derived saline thrust.
It is a particular privilege to commence a relationship with one of Barbaresco’s oldest and most iconic producers: Cascina Luisin. Nebbiolo from Piedmont’s great terroirs, after all, has been a cornerstone of our portfolio since the very beginning, when Neal began importing the singular Carema from Luigi Ferrando and the lovely traditional Barbaresco from the Anfosso family at DeForville. Cascina Luisin’s wines hail from some of the zone’s greatest vineyard sites…Read More
BY ERIC GUIDO | AUGUST 19, 2021 From a geographical and varietal point of view, Umbria and Lazio make strange bedfellows, yet they share one thing that keeps them grouped together in my mind: they are the two Italian regions that receive significantly less credit than they deserve. When we think of Umbria, there are
The needs are different when it’s hot and sticky: Lighter-bodied wines, more whites and rosés than reds, refreshment rather than solidity. By Eric Asimov Aug. 19, 2021 Few things influence the choice of wine as much as the weather. Food is one, of course, if you think of wine primarily as an accompaniment to meals,
Few in the Jura are as talented as Emeric Foléat of the tiny Les Matheny domaine in Mathenay, Arbois. Emeric worked for eight years under the legendary Jacques Puffeney, who taught him the ultimate value in embracing risk and trusting the quality of his fruit to do its thing in the cellar without coercion. Emeric farms his three hectares in Arbois without the use of synthetic chemicals, and he raises his wines in a small cinderblock shed devoid of modern gadgetry. Minute additions of sulfur, and even then only sometimes, are the only adjustments he makes to these bold, assertive, deeply personal creations—wines that embody the exhilarating freedom Jura growers enjoy compared to many of their peers in more buttoned-up regions.
2018 Arbois Pinot-Trousseau
Emeric owns so little Pinot Noir that he ends up having to blend it with other varieties—Poulsard in some years, and Trousseau in others, as he sees fit—following the model of his old employer Puffeney who produced the stunning “Vieilles Vignes” cuvée through the 2005 vintage using all three cépages. Aged for two years in a single decades-old small foudre, this 2018 Pinot-Trousseau is built around 45-year-old Trousseau from the village of Aiglepierre, and the roughly one-quarter Pinot Noir serves to moderate the Trousseau’s scrappy wildness with a touch of silk.
2017 Arbois Chardonnay
Rather than topping up religiously or allowing wine to evaporate and voile to develop by rote, Emeric treats each Chardonnay barrel individually, aiming for a final blend that sizzles with acidity and bursts with fruit yet speaks an unmistakably Jurassien patois. Consequently, the dynamic range on a Les Matheny Chardonnay is staggering, with notes of marzipan vying with bare-knuckled minerality and a soaring acidity that speaks both to the character of the local marne soils and to Emeric’s refusal to control fermentation temperature.
2012 Arbois Vin Jaune
Emeric’s Vin Jaune, bottled a full seven years after harvest, is a focused effort of remarkable complexity. Exuberant but controlled on the nose, it laser-beams preserved lemons, freshly tanned leather, and marzipan at the taster, ratcheting up the intensity with its agile, built-for-speed palate. It is a wine both weighty and brisk, with decades of upside potential, and its combination of power and balance clearly evokes his legendary former mentor’s wines.
Joseph Dorbon’s setup is simple: three hectares of organically tended vines on prime south-facing slopes above his home village of Vadans; a horse to help him plow; and a subterranean 16th-century cellar in which his soulful wines slowly take shape. We met Joseph through Michel Gahier, and indeed the two men share a certain combination of dyed-in-the-wool Jurassien spirit and boundary-pushing thoughtfulness. Vadans, a sleepy little village even for the Jura, contains soils of yellow marl, which tend to produce reds of great finesse and whites of chiseled complexity, and Dorbon’s wines follow suit; yet, like the greatest wines in the region, they are both deeply evocative of place and distinctly Joseph’s own. He works his land without chemicals, plows by horse—a difficult and little-encountered practice which he learned from his uncle—and harvests by hand. His cellar practices are minimal and steeped in Jura tradition: spontaneous fermentations without temperature regulation; aging sous-voile for his white wines; minimal (and sometimes no) additions of sulfur; and bottling of the white wines only after significant time in cask. Joseph’s evocative wines have garnered deserved attention since we first began our partnership six years ago, and their preciousness grows as he approaches retirement within the next few years.
2017 Arbois Rouge “Les Bernardines – Vieilles Vignes”
“Les Bernardines” is a vineyard in Vadans named after the Bernardine order of Cistercian monks who stewarded the land during the Middle Ages, and Joseph owns Poulsard and Pinot Noir vines within its confines. This cuvée, comprising around 80% Poulsard and 20% Pinot Noir, is co-fermented in stainless steel without temperature stabilization, and aged two full years in old Burgundy barrels. Fresh and lithe, “Les Bernardines” leads with Poulsard’s sappy red-cherry fruit, with the Pinot Noir contributing a certain suaveness of texture. The palate sees an extra boost of concentration from the 60+ year old vines, and the wine combines gentle structure with vivacious drinkability in harmonious fashion.
2019 Arbois Trousseau
Trousseau reigns supreme in Montigny-les-Arsures, the home village of Michel Gahier and Jacques Puffeney, where it produces wines of power and structure from the village’s grey-marl soils; by contrast, Vadans’ yellow-marl soils produce a more easygoing version of the variety, and Dorbon thusly treats it more breezily in the cellar than he does his Poulsard, aging it in stainless steel for just one year and adding no sulfur at all. With its clean, ringing black-cherry fruit and its varietally true spice character, Joseph’s Trousseau dazzles with its purity and drive, with only a wisp of tannins evident on the refreshing finish.
2016 Arbois Blanc “Cuvée des Moyne – Vieilles Vignes”
“Cuvée des Moyne”—moyne being the Middle French spelling of moine, or “monk”—comprises 80% Chardonnay and 20% Savagnin from vines between 40 and 70 years of age in Vadans. The varieties are interplanted, and Joseph harvests and ferments them together, aging them for three years in neutral 228-liter Burgundy casks with no topping up. This wine illustrates clearly how veil-derived characteristics—marzipan, curry, green walnuts—can coexist comfortably alongside fresh-fruit elements and vigorous acidity in a well-crafted sous-voile white wine. “Cuvée des Moyne” is downright chiseled in its minerality, with bright, direct yellow fruits framed by, rather than overwhelmed by, the saline thrust of the veil.
2010 Arbois Savagnin
Joseph purposely bottles very little of his Savagnin as Vin Jaune, and his “basic” Savagnin spends longer in barrel than is required of an actual Vin Jaune by law—in the case of this 2010, seven full years sous-voile. The resulting wine, though deeply marked by the mysterious and wildly complex aromatic and flavor spectrum of the veil, remains fresh and vinous, with stunning acidity and a saliva-prompting, bone-dry finish of incredible length.
2009 Arbois Vin Jaune
According to appellation restrictions, Vin Jaune must spend a full five years in barrel sous-voile, and it may not be released until six years and three months after the harvest; Dorbon doubles the formula, giving the rare barrels he deems worthy of being bottled as Vin Jaune a full decade in cask. The result is an oceanic wine of Herculean power, with raging acidity wed to luscious, salt-caked yellow fruits, and given additional complexity by a raw-almond character that stops short of overt oxidation. This makes most Vin Jaune taste tame by comparison, but it nonetheless retains a stunning sense of equilibrium and fine-grained minerality.
Carema is northern Piedmont’s “heroic” wine By Robert Camuto Jul 6, 2021 I’ll go anywhere Nebbiolo grows in northern Italy, such is the spell this elite Piedmont native casts. But until this spring, I’d never been to Carema, a tiny village and wine appellation in northwestern Piedmont, about 90 miles north of Nebbiolo’s most famous
Aldo Viola cuts a memorable figure: tall and wiry, with long low-intervention locks, scruffy facial hair, and skin that clearly sees plenty of strong Sicilan sunshine. Aldo is a man in motion, literally and figuratively—constantly moving, gesturing, smiling, and exclaiming, and always searching for ways to coax greater expressiveness from his inspiringly personal wines. Born in the late 1960s…Read More
This Alpine region in eastern France was little known until recently. Its gorgeous wines are distinctive and immediately appealing. By Eric Asimov July 8, 2021 Places like Savoie exist all over historic wine areas, little-known cul-de-sacs that are suddenly embraced by the outside world, though the residents have been making wine there for centuries. Then
Macerated Whites from Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Alsace, and Piedmont Joško Gravner, like many of the greatest vintners in the RWM portfolio, is a revolutionary. Never satisfied with the status quo, he has completely transformed his vines, tanks, barrels, and wines throughout his career, always striving to more clearly communicate the historically renowned terroir of his home
Beneath the towns that flank the central Loire lies another world. It is a world of caves, dug into limestone by prior generations—folks who knew that the ideal place to nurture a bottle of wine is deep within the same earth that nourishes the vines from which it came. Given the extensive German occupation they endured in World War II Read More
Sylvain Morey’s career path is a far cry from that of a typical Burgundian vigneron. As a boy, he worked among the vines with his larger-than-life father Jean-Marc and his grandfather Albert—two dyed-in-the-wool old-schoolers with whom we at Rosenthal partnered joyously for many years. Read More
These regions, often but not always peripheral to the countries in which they find themselves, harness their historical and cultural tensions to produce some of the greatest, most intriguing wines that we at RWM have the pleasure to include in our portfolio.
Even in warmer weather, some occasions cry out for a red. This Tuscan wine is a gorgeous expression of sangiovese, with many excellent producers.
Here’s my wine for the summer: Chianti Classico.
I know, it’s not what people usually imagine as a summer wine. It’s red, for one thing. Sunny days, sweaty nights and poolside tables are the regular haunts of rosés and whites.
I’ve always resisted the notion that seasons alone dictate what’s best to drink. It’s the food at least as much as the weather.
For us here at Rosenthal Wine Merchant, as well as for countless drinkers across the country, Château Le Puy has greatly expanded our notion of what Bordeaux can be—aesthetically, philosophically, and historically. In a region teeming with commercially minded product and still suffering from the excesses of an era during which power was seemingly prized over grace, Le Puy is a beacon Read More
We opened our first bottle from Domaine Viret tonight … the ENERGIE 2019. Get excited because this wine has “blockbuster” written all over it. A quaffable yet serious wine that renders its Syrah component with exceptional elegance and purity. “Energie” offers formidable value at its price level. I suggest everyone on the sales squad sample
My first trip to the Languedoc did not go as I expected. Rather than piercing deep into an unknown, unexplored realm, I instead felt a strange, through-the-looking-glass sense of homecoming. The Languedoc’s craggy hills and wild friche, while a world away from the climate of Vouvray or Chablis, resembled uncannily the scattered Chaparral that
Atop a hill in Saint-Maurice-sur-Eygues, in the southern Côtes-du-Rhône, a structure looms at once imposing and beautiful. Constructed of rectangular earthen-yellow stones broader than a human’s wingspan, it is flanked on the entirety of its left side by an Ionic-columned portico, and punctuated on its upper level by three large circle-top windows. Read More
In a year of many exciting additions to our Italian portfolio, we at Rosenthal Wine Merchant are thrilled to announce our first foray into the region of Emilia-Romagna. In 2008, Gianluca Bergianti founded Terrevive with 16 hectares in the village of Gargallo di Carpi just outside Modena…Read More
The Recaredo estate in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia is justly regarded as the greatest producer of sparkling wine in the Penedès. Their long-lees-aged, zero-dosage, single-vintage, hand-disgorged wines are ubiquitous on the greatest wine lists in Catalunya and in Spain in general, and we at RWM have greatly relished building their reputation here in the United States over the past dozen years of our partnership. Read More
The traditionalism of the Cappellano family in Serralunga d’Alba is not one of blind adherence to the past. It is a searching, intelligent traditionalism, one which prioritizes accumulated wisdom and connectedness to the land over the allure of technology and the pressures of the market. Read More
Sancerre is not exactly a hotbed of experimentation. Knowing that it can generally be sold on name alone, its growers hew toward conservatism, and it requires a particularly driven vigneron to veer from the citrus-and-chalk orthodoxy the market has come to expect from the appellation. Read More
With only 11 domaines and 220 cultivated hectares of vines, the gorgeous seaside appellation of Cassis produces distinctive wines of sun-soaked Mediterranean generosity and marked salinity, the vast majority of which are consumed locally. We have worked with the Domaine du Bagnol since the early 1980s, first with former owner Claire Lefevre, and since the early 2000s with the magnetic Genovesi family, proudly representing among the very few examples of this historic appellation to be found in the American market. Read More
Certain wines feel timeless, elemental. They cut through the ephemera of technology, fashion, ideology, and marketing, and hit the taster right in the gut. Such experiences are precious, and increasingly rare, so it is with immense gratitude that we introduce our newest partner in Tuscany: Read More
The frost damage of this past week that affected large swaths of the European vineyards has become depressingly familiar as a storyline. Although there is much discussion of the frequently excessively hot summers that have occurred in Europe, the greatest impact of climate change on the wine sector is the mild nature of the winter
Few American drinkers are well acquainted with the Luberon, the picturesque interzone between the southern Rhône and the
northern part of Provence, as its production for many years has been geared toward simple bulk wine. However, our good friend Sylvain Morey—the youngest in a 400-year line of Moreys in Chassagne-Montrachet—is deeply engaged in unlocking the potential of the region, Read More
This domaine possesses among the more astonishing collections of vineyards in the Côte de Nuits, but it wasn’t until young Benoit Stehly—Georges’ nephew—took the reins in 2010 that the wines began to articulate fully the greatness of their terroirs. Read More
Wine School By Eric Asimov April 2, 2021 Back in the 1980s, when I was learning about wine, I used to cherish Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It seemed like an important and wonderful appellation. Certainly the bottles impressed me, with their dignified crests embossed right on the glass and their imposing labels, often in Gothic fonts. Domaine Gour
As those familiar with our tastes may surmise, we at Rosenthal were not explicitly seeking out high-alcohol wine from the deep south of Italy in the recent past; nonetheless, the Attanasio family’s bold, wild Primitivo di Manduria grabbed us by the collar…Read More
In advance of a trip to Provence in September of 2020, we were fortunate to be introduced to Chateau Les Mesclances by Etienne Portalis, who currently helms the singular Chateau Pradeaux in Bandol. Read More
Until very recently, we found ourselves in a curious position: despite working with two of the most beloved producers in the Chianti Classico zone—Montevertine in Radda-in-Chianti and Le Boncie in Castelnuovo Berardenga—we had no “Chianti Classico” to offer our clients, as both of these maverick growers choose to operate outside the classification system. Read More
One of the oldest partnerships in our entire family of winegrowers is with this enviably landed domaine, with their staggering collection of holdings throughout Meursault and Volnay. We began our work here first with the hugely talented classicist Vincent Bitouzet—from the 1978 vintage through the 2009 vintage—and, under his son Francois’s stewardship from 2010 on, the wines have gained even greater precision and complexity. Read More
Last spring, a young woman named Maria Sole Giannelli reached out to us via email about potentially representing her wines in the US. While we receive scores of such solicitations each year, Maria Sole’s sincerity and passion for her craft shone through almost disarmingly in that initial correspondence, and we began a conversation, full of curiosity. Read More
If you take a single variety and make wine in three distinct regions, how different will the wines be?
By Eric Asimov
Feb. 22, 2021
How important is the choice of grape in determining the character of a wine?
Extremely important, obviously. But it is far from the sole factor. Soil and bedrock, climate, farming methods, altitude and inclination, intent of the winemaker — all the elements of terroir can be just as important. Read More
With over thirty harvests under his belt, Regis Forey exudes the calm, warm confidence of a seasoned Burgundian vigneron operating at the apex of his powers. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Regis crafted robust, dense wines from his family’s enviable holdings in the Côte de Nuits—impressive wines which have aged superbly, but which do occasionally bear traces of a certain youthful striving. In recent years, however, he has honed a style that prioritizes subtlety in numerous ways:…Read More
With his impressive array of holdings throughout Chassagne-Montrachet, complemented by parcels in Puligny-Montrachet, Santenay, Montagny, and Rully, Jean-Marc Pillot is among our most important suppliers of Burgundy. Since our first vintage together over twenty years ago…Read More
Over the past 35 years, Giampiero Bea—both through his own deeply personal wines and his far-reaching influence—has become a cornerstone of our family of growers. Building on the work of his father…
A New Partner in the Heart of the Camargue
Just upstream of the ancient city of Arles, the mighty Rhône river abruptly forks, and its resultant two arms—the southeasterly-flowing Grand Rhône and the southwesterly-flowing Petit Rhône—encircle the largest river delta in western Europe.
In the big business that Provence rosé has become over the past fifteen years or so, it is easy to imagine that all stones have been turned over, that all worthwhile producers are represented in the market, and that every “new” Côtes de Provence pink out there is in fact just a label created in a boardroom and made with purchased juice…
The story of the legendary Montevertine estate in Radda-in-Chianti begins in 1967, when Milanese industrialist Sergio Manetti purchased the property …
In a pandemic era, when traveling is largely out of the question, these wines, good values all, can take you on a trip around the globe.
Good wine has the power to transport. As we now approach a full year locked in pandemic freeze-frame, with many people largely confined within their national borders, wine still provides an opportunity to taste the world.
I’m always intrigued by the wines of the Vallée d’Aoste, a hilly, Alpine region that sits on the border of Italy and France. I especially like those from Grosjean…
2018 Rovellotti Vespolina Ronco al Maso The 2018 Vespolina Ronco al Maso is bright and exuberant in its first impression, just as nervy tannins make an appearance to remind us of where we are. Succulent dark cherry, plum, spice and savory herbs all race out of the glass. This is an especially fruity, forward style,
2018 Montevertine Pian del Ciampolo The 2018 Pian del Ciampolo is a glorious wine. The purest essence of Radda emerges in a wine with striking translucence and captivating balance. The 2018 offers notable depth with less opulence and more freshness than the 2017. Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint and spice are all finely knit
2015 Monsecco Sizzano The 2015 Sizzano is gracious and understated, not to mention wonderfully alluring. Bright red cherry, orange peel, dried flowers and mint are all finely-knit. Translucent, ethereal and light on its feet, the 2015 has so much to offer. It is one of the prettiest wines I have tasted from Monsecco. 92 2020
2019 Domaine Lionnet Saint-Joseph Blanc Pierre Blanche Incisive aromas of fresh nectarine, orange zest and succulent flowers carry a chalky mineral overtone. Sappy, concentrated citrus and orchard fruit flavors show excellent clarity and stain the palate, picking up a touch of fennel and delivering powerful back-end lift. The mineral and floral qualities repeat strongly on
2018 Domaine Hubert Lignier Clos-de-la-Roche Grand Cru The 2018 Clos de la Roche Cuvée MCMLV comes from a 0.25-hectare parcel that Laurent’s grandmother said never frosted over. It has a crystalline bouquet of vibrant red cherry and wild strawberry fruit laced with crushed limestone. The palate is silky-smooth on the entry, with perfect acidity and
2017 Guillaume Gilles Cornas Opaque ruby. Powerful aromas of ripe dark fruits, olive, smoked meat and exotic spices; a suave floral element builds in the glass. Sappy and energetic on the palate, offering densely packed black and blue fruit, floral pastille and spicecake flavors that turn sweeter on the back half. Finishes very long and
2018 Xavier Gérard Saint-Joseph Le Blanchard Deep, youthful violet. Pungent, expansive aromas of ripe black and blue fruits take on spice and floral accents with air. Broad and fleshy yet lively as well, offering bitter cherry, cassis, cracked pepper and violet pastille flavors and a touch of smokiness. Finishes very long and spicy, with repeating
2018 Jean-Marie Fourrier Chambertin Grand Cru The 2018 Chambertin Grand Cru has a finely detailed bouquet of blackberry, briar, crushed stone and a touch of iris petal; good focus and detail here. The palate is medium-bodied with fine-grained tannins, taut and precise. The vibrant, shimmering finish is seductive. Excellent. (94-96) 2023 – 2050 Jan 2020
2018 Domaine Philippe Foreau (Clos Naudin) Vouvray Moelleux Réserve A fruit basket of baked pear, guava, banana, and notes of rosewater and orange blossom. Right now, the sugar dominates a bit. This is a rich and unctuous sweetie, but give it some time. 130 grams per liter residual sugar. 90 2022 – 2032 Jul 2020
2018 Yves Cuilleron Condrieu Lieu-Dit Vernon Diaphanous yellow-gold. Mineral- and spice-accented orchard, pit fruits and a hint of violet on the deeply perfumed nose. Densely packed yet lively as well, offering palate-staining nectarine, pear liqueur and Meyer lemon flavors that show outstanding clarity and solid back-end thrust. The floral and mineral notes build emphatically on
2017 Castello Conti Vino Rosso di Alto Piemonte Origini The 2017 Origini Vino Rosso di Alto Piemonte is Croatina, Nebbiolo, Vespolina, Dolcetto di Boca and Uva Rara. Readers will find an intense wine that melds together rich, exotic dark fruit with all the energy that is typical of Alto Piemonte reds, a combination that works
2015 Massimo Clerico Coste della Sesia Ca’ Du Leria The 2015 Coste della Sesia Ca’ Du Leria is a dark, sumptuous wine laced with dark cherry, plum, new leather, licorice and spice. The richness and ripeness of the year are evident, and yet the Ca’ du Leria remains translucent and faithful to its origins. Readers
2018 Domaine du Gour de Chaulé Rosé Gigondas Amour de Rose Limpid pink. Potent raspberry and tangerine aromas are complemented by floral and mineral accents that expand in the glass. Juicy and well-concentrated, offering lively red berry, citrus fruit and lavender flavors that tighten up steadily on the back half. The mineral and floral notes
2018 Domaine Jean-Jacques Carillon Bienvenue-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru The 2018 Bienvenue-Bâtard-Montrachet Grand Cru amounts to two-and-a-half barrels this year (one barrel new.) It has a beautifully defined bouquet of Granny Smith apples, crushed limestone and a touch of sea spray that gains intensity in the glass. The palate is beautifully balanced with touches of white peach,
2016 Brovia Barolo Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia The 2016 Barolo Brea Vigna Ca’ Mia’ continues a theme of total sensuality in this range. Black cherry, plum, spice, lavender, mint, licorice, sage, black pepper and leather infuse the wine with striking layers of nuance. The 2016 possesses striking inner perfume and tons of depth, with impossibly
2017 Podere Le Boncie Chianti Classico Le Trame The 2017 Chianti Classico Le Trame is a wine of real character. Amarena cherry, earthiness, licorice and cedar notes develop in a nuanced, silky Chianti Classico that has so much to say. Time in the glass brings out a very pretty aromatic upper register and notable brightness
2014 Paolo Bea Montefalco Rosso San Valentino The 2014 Montefalco Rosso San Valentino is the result of a very difficult vintage for Paolo Bea, though you’d never know it. Here I’m finding an exotic, layered expression, as rosy florals and peppery herbs give way to sweet, crushed strawberries with smoky minerals, hints of soy and
2018 Domaine Ghislaine-Barthod Chambolle-Musigny Aux Beaux Bruns 1er Cru The 2018 Chambolle-Musigny Aux Beaux Bruns 1er Cru has one of the most elegant bouquets from Ghislaine Barthod, offering beautiful, seductive red currant, crushed strawberry and crushed rose petal aromas. The palate is very well defined, with strict tannins framing dark berry fruit laced with soy
Stunning 2015s, plus a new wine
The past decade has witnessed a massive influx of interest in the Alto Piemonte, as a younger generation whose forebears may have fled the area for big-city comforts came to realize the specialness of what was left behind…
Antonio Galloni (Vinous) recently published his tasting notes on NOAH from the Alto Piemonte.
2018 Rosso Noah
The 2018 Rosso, a blend of Nebbiolo, Croatina and Vespolina, is a total knock-out and also a fabulous introduction to these wines. Sweet red cherry, blood orange, mint, spice and star anise are all beautifully lifted. Translucent and exotic, this deceptively mid-weight red blend packs quite a bit of punch. The 2018 is a wine that captures all the sensuality and allure that make Alto Piemonte wines so compelling.
50% Nebbiolo, 40% Croatina, 10% Vespolina
93pts Drinking window 2023 – 2038
Antonio Galloni Tasting date: Sep 2020
2015 Noah Lessona
The 2015 Lessona is all finesse. Dried flowers, mint, herbs, sweet dried cherry and mineral overtones all grace this sublime, ethereal red. The Lessona is much lighter than the Bramaterra, but its depth and energy are there, they are just expressed in a more understated manner. A whole range of bracing mineral and citrus notes drive the red berry flavors in an utterly beguiling, polished red. What a wine!
95pts Drinking window 2023 – 2040
Antonio Galloni Tasting date: Sep 2020
2015 Noah Bramaterra
The 2015 Bramaterra is rich and explosive in the glass. Blood orange, chalk, mint, white pepper and macerated cherry are some of the many aromas and flavors that develop in the glass. There is something incredibly wild and untamed about the 2015 that is so incredibly enticing. In the glass, the 2015 is deep, powerful and built for the long-haul. It is a wine of tremendous character and breeding.
80% Nebbiolo, 10% Croatina, 10% Vespolina
95pts Drinking window 2023 – 2040
Antonio Galloni Tasting date: Sep 2020
Introducing Two Spectacular New Cuvées of Menetou-Salon Rouge
Philippe Gilbert produces Pinot Noir as one who understands the variety to its core—its charms, its challenges, and its ability to display utmost finesse. Some eastern Loire Pinot Noir suffers from a “Burgundy inferiority complex,” with extraction and oak employed to compensate for the terroir’s tendency toward leanness; other examples display the opposite, with a simple, curt elevage overstating Pinot’s relative simplicity in these zones vis-à-vis the Côte d’Or. Philippe, on the other hand…
Joseph Dorbon’s setup is simple: three hectares of organically tended vines on prime south-facing slopes above his home village of Vadans; a horse to help him plow; and a subterranean 16th-century cellar in which his soulful wines slowly take shape. We met Joseph through Michel Gahier, and indeed the two men share a certain combination of…
By Eric Asimov
Nov. 12, 2020
The end of 2020 is mercifully in sight.
Ordinarily, November and December would be the time for gatherings, parties and celebrations. These are the months when the merchants of sparkling wine earn their keep.
This year? Sigh, and cue the shrug emoji.
We will find ways of commemorating the surreal nature of this year. But give up on sparkling wine? That’s just knuckling under to the forces of darkness.
Sparkling wine is made in just about every winemaking region of the world, in a multitude of styles and from almost any conceivable grape.
In recent decades, we’ve come to accept that sparkling wine can be appropriate for any occasion, not just christenings and ceremonies. All the same, nothing suggests a festive mood better than sparkling wine, even if the parties will be more subdued than usual.
This month we will look at several different sparkling wines, each from a different place and made with different grapes. Here are the three I suggest:
Ferrari Trento Brut Metodo Classico NV (Taub Family Selections, Boca Raton, Fla.) $25
Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Brut 2014 (The Rare Wine Company, Brisbane, Calif.) $32
Recaredo Corpinnat Terrers Brut Nature 2014 (Rosenthal Wine Merchant, New York) $33
The Ferrari is produced in northern Italy using the same method as Champagne. It even uses a Champagne grape, chardonnay.
The Recaredo is a cava, though it isn’t called that. Recaredo is like a number of leading Catalonian producers that feel the term “cava” has been diminished by the millions of low-quality bottles turned out every year. It, too, is made using the Champagne method, but with local grapes — xarello, parellada and macabeu, grown in the Penedès.
The Huet comes from the Vouvray region of the Loire Valley and is made of chenin blanc, though not by the Champagne method. Instead, Huet employs the methode ancestrale, like a pétillant naturel. Huet does not use that term, although it calls the wine pétillant in another sense of the word, which indicates that the carbonation is gentler than would be typical in a Champagne-style wine.
If you can’t find these wines, plenty of other choices are available. Other good cava-style wine producers include Gramona, Raventós i Blanc, Mestres, Bohigas, AT Roca, Loxarel and Parés Baltà.
Likewise, if you can’t find the Huet, other good chenin blanc sparklers include François Pinon, Jacky Blot, François Chidaine, Arnaud Lambert and Foreau.
The Ferrari should not be hard to find, but if you can’t for some reason, a lot of other Champagne facsimiles are out there, including Franciacorta in Italy or any number of California sparklers. You could always try a Champagne, too, or go further afield, as with a sekt from Germany or Portuguese sparkling wines.
Drink it with fried chicken, or with pizza. Try it with jamón Ibérico with nuts, or really anything you like. I don’t much like Champagne with caviar — that’s vodka’s reason for being — but if you like, why not? Or just drink it with ceremony.
As for 2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Langhe maverick Nicoletta Bocca, in her “Valdibà” and “Vigna Dolci” cuvées, issues forth among the finest examples of young-bottled Dolcetto in the entire region. It is with her ultra-long-aged wines, however, that Nicoletta establishes herself as a true visionary: one who pushes Dolcetto and Barbera into little-explored realms—into spaces usually reserved for the haughtier Nebbiolo (on the rare occasions it even reaches such heights). With her beloved “Austri”…
Some wine lovers will run for the hills at the mere mention of Châteauneuf-du-Pape—a bogeyman whose alcohol-driven wallop of overripe fruit threatens to bully the palate and dull the senses. The appellation has certainly seen its share of gloppy, overbearing wines through the years, particularly as global warming and the predilections of a certain prominent palate took sway over the past couple of decades. Indeed, trying to drink wines like these is like trying to dance with a bag of bowling balls.
Long ago, sweetness in any form was far rarer than today, and it was prized thusly. In our era of ubiquitous corn syrup, junk food, and soda, it is difficult to imagine a world in which sugar was special, and the overall difficulty in selling sweet wines across all markets testifies to that. Still, sweetness in wine—real wine whose sweetness has not been coerced—remains one of nature’s rare gifts. Producing sweet wines requires a grower to be courageous, as she must wait to harvest and risk late-season vagaries of weather, or, in passito-style wines, assume the risk of air-drying fruit for upwards of half a year in her cellar. Sweet wine production requires prodigious effort for feeble yields, which generally then take longer to produce and longer to sell than their dry counterparts.
At a time in which American wine drinkers are spoiled for choice, Swiss wine—which traces its origins back at least to Roman times—remains an enigma. Switzerland’s self-sufficient and insular nature accounts for this in part, as locals consume nearly 99% of the country’s 15,000 hectares worth of production each year. Price has traditionally presented another hurdle, as Switzerland’s relative wealth, combined with the labor-intensive nature of its Alpine viticulture…
… A hunched figure, barely visible in the twilight, barred the great subterranean cellar’s modest entrance. Ragged and weary from their journey, the five sommeliers looked at one another with surprise; the old book had mentioned nothing of a gatekeeper. They had followed the map with great care, the promise of long-buried vinous spoils, theirs for the taking, having sustained them through the endless Krug-less days—but it seemed a final challenge awaited. The sentinel scowled at them from beneath his large hood.
Drinking this exquisite wine this evening, a reminder of the past when wines had a vibrant freshness with modest alcohol levels and scintillating clarity of flavors and aromas. This effort from Magnin is the work of a master vigneron. A wine of impeccable balance with terroir in sharp relief; full with aromas of the mountains
The wine shop can be intimidating, with so many different styles of labeling. Here’s help in decoding a dozen basic types.
Buying wine can be a paralyzing challenge. Facing a wall of unfamiliar bottles can frustrate even the most worldly consumer.
Those bottles have labels, of course, often with loads of information about the character and nature of the wine within. But the more detail they offer to knowledgeable wine consumers, the more baffling they seem to the uninitiated.
To cut through the confusion, some wineries simply furnish fewer facts. These wines — often hugely popular ones like Yellow Tail, Barefoot and 19 Crimes — rely on brand names and marketing to build an audience. For dedicated wine lovers, though, the facts are crucial, even if it takes some education to decode a label.
Long before Cava became a brand, a category, a marketing term, a beverage sourced from disparate lands across all of Spain, it was an experimental artisanal wine produced by a handful of visionaries in the Alt Penèdes—the gorgeous rolling hills west of Barcelona in the long shadows of Montserrat, within striking distance of the Mediterranean Sea. The dictates of rapid industrialization transformed Cava from a local Catalan curiosity into a highly marketed juggernaut, with power and influence concentrating in the hands of several enormous bulk producers; but a few holdouts…
Though technically part of Burgundy, Chablis is adamantly its own place, not only for its colder, grimmer climate, or its entirely different geological origins, but for its distinct traditions of élevage. Chablis oaked like a Chassagne-Montrachet loses the ability to articulate its Kimmeridgian intricacies, while a stint in thermoregulated stainless steel often sacrifices texture, resulting in Chablis that feels more like Sancerre—just with slightly different aromatic and flavor signifiers.
The Jura’s meteoric rise among American wine drinkers over the past decade has been well documented, but the wines from the tiny appellation of L’Étoile remain somewhat less known. Perhaps that’s due to its comparatively diminutive size, or perhaps to its lack of appellation-status red wines—much initial fervor over the Jura in the US was driven by the region’s light…
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.
Edgar Coulon is a rare talent. At just 26 years of age, he is quickly becoming the guiding force of his family’s 215-year-old winery in Vrigny, in the heart of the Montagne de Reims in Champagne. Working in tandem with his tireless and supremely talented father Eric, ninth-generation Edgar has worked to steer the estate’s production toward ever-more uncompromising terroir expressivity…Read More
Sylvain Morey’s career path is a far cry from that of a typical Burgundian vigneron. As a boy, he worked among the vines with his larger-than-life father Jean-Marc and his grandfather Albert—two dyed-in-the-wool old-schoolers with whom we at Rosenthal partnered joyously for many years. In the early 2000s…Read More
Sancerre is not exactly a hotbed of experimentation. Knowing that it can generally be sold on name alone, its growers hew toward conservatism, and it requires a particularly driven vigneron to veer from the citrus-and-chalk orthodoxy the market has come to expect from the appellation. Enter Cyril de Benoist de Gentissart…Read More