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Occasional Thoughts

New Arrivals from Domaine Viret

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

The Greatest Impact Of Climate Change On The Wine Sector

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

ARBIN Mondeuse Vin de Savoie (Magnin) 2014

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

Rosso de Véo 2015

Does not get better than this. Exceptional always but particularly in this vintage. Superb balance with lovely acidity that lifts this wine of important concentration. The terroir of Montefalco rendered to near perfection. NIR


Seeing the Ferrando brothers in this photo reminds me of the first visit I made to Carema back in January 1980. In the company of a roguish Neapolitan, I met Luigi Ferrando, father of Roberto and Andrea (seen in this photo) on a damp, overcast day. We met in the small city of Ivrea, home to the Olivetti dynasty, a family noted for its well-conceived approach to urban life, creating over the years a “company town” generous in its living standards and cultural and sporting accoutrements. From Ivrea, we made the short drive to the village of Carema,

Étoile 2016

Scrambled and sunnysided eggs just gathered an hour or so ago from the chicken coop, sautéed shiitakes in Armato oil with shallots and garlic from last year’s garden and added some Armato oregano and peperoncino, steamed broccoli and Brussels sprouts dressed with Bea “Grezzo” oil … all accompanied by this brilliant Étoile 2016 from Nicole Deriaux’s beautiful Domaine de Montbourgeau. This wine is vivid, vivacious and vibrant, bursting with energy. Sous-voile élevage, no concessions to modernity, honest and true to the grand traditions of the Jura. The salinity obvious in the nose and on the palate references the millennia-old period when this region was ocean rather than terra firma. This wine practically trembles in the mouth with a near static electricity. Fully expressive of its specific terroir, the elegance and cut of Nicole’s wines are on display.


Gigondas “Gour de Chaulé” 1991

29 years young. Vibrant, ripe, with length and no sign of fatigue. Classic Grenache spice. Punches well above its weight. Another example of how this domaine performs at a consistently superior level year in, year out. NIR

Brunello “La Torre” 2001

Drinking this marvelous wine this evening. Gorgeous in all aspects. Aromatic with dark cherry and cigar box aromas. Quite full in the mouth but with a graceful, persistent finish marked by velvety tannins. 19 years young with plenty of energy for the long haul. A complete, complex and impeccable wine.


Domaine Michel Gahier

With Michel this Saturday morning. Certainly one of the great domaines in our portfolio. Drinking 1985 Trousseau Grands Vergers. NIR

Chateau Auney l’Hermitage Graves Rouge “Cuvee Cana” 2014

We have before us this evening a near perfect wine, a classic rendition of the particular terroir that is the Graves. The beauty of this wine crafted by Christian Auney is its subtle tenacity, the rigor of its structure which is truly distinguished.

Mondeuse Savoie (Chamiot) 2015

What a terrific wine we have at the table tonight! The Mondeuse 2015 from Romain Chamiot is racy and joyous. Classic Alpine notes of pine resin and wild berry fruit with vigorous acidity and impeccable balance.  Very much proof of the nobility of Mondeuse when planted on these sub-Alpine plateaus. Excellent value as well!  NIR

Spanna Costa Della Sesia (Clerico) 2013

Drinking this wine tonight. This is the sort of Nebbiolo that I grew up on. Fine, sexy, somewhat pale in color, grainy tannins with bitter cherry flavor, hints of earth on nose and palate, subtle spice and tree bark to boot. Very fine drinking right now with a myriad of dishes … roast chicken, flank steak in its juices are two that come to mind. We had fat portobellos tonight to indulge my vegetarianism which worked perfectly.


Sizzano (Monsecco) 2013

Sitting on the deck on a lovely summer’s eve finishing a bottle of Sizzano 2013 from MONSECCO after polishing off a pizza fresh out of the oven topped with pickings from the garden. What a joy this unpretentious wine is! Aromatically compelling with the classic scents of Nebbiolo … the earthy compost underlies the faded,

Sancerre Rouge 2013

Sitting at The Corner in the Hotel Tivoli drinking the 2013 Sancerre Rouge “Croix du Roy” from Lucien and Gilles Crochet. Married specifically to a plate of potato gnocchi with fava beans but went equally well with the green pea risotto served simultaneously. The essential red fruit of the wine was subtle and charming; the

Chateau Valcombe Epicure Rouge 2016

Just finished a lovely little red from Valcombe that sang beautifully over two days. It is a shame that this estate in the Ventoux is often overlooked as Luc Guénard is cranking out some satisfying wines at very reasonable prices. And, as for purity of expression and total absence of manipulation in the cellar as

Saturday night’s lineup

This past Saturday night we entertained some friends for dinner and drew some precious wines from the cellar … as you can witness from the photo. Each of the five wines served was in splendid condition.

Cornas Lionnet 2016

Our dedication to wines of terroir is best and most fundamentally expressed in a wine such as the Cornas “Terre Brulée” 2016 produced at the Domaine Lionnet. For all the excitement that swirls around the wines of the northern Rhone and various other interpretations of Syrah globally,


We are drinking this evening the finest wine of the year to date. An astonishing wine of breed and class from one of the finest vigneron of my career: Vincent Bitouzet’s Meursault Perrieres 1990. A white wine of almost 29 years age that is brimming with life, rich but vibrantly fresh still with a glowing

Aging white wine in the fridge

Our people are cranking out some very fine wines! We drank again today three wines that have been sitting in our fridge OPEN since John Paine showed them to his New Orleans clients a couple of weeks ago.

The 2016 Gamay “La Mourziere”

The 2016 Gamay “La Mourziere” is more proof of the sensational quality being cranked out by our quartet of SWISS growers. Clean, bright, dynamic, classic Gamay scent and flavors wrapped in this delicious wine that is a perfect companion to a multitude of dishes. So light on its toes but with an athletic posture that

What we are drinking tonight

The quite spectacular “Vigne Rovettaz”, single vineyard origin, 2016 Cornalin from Grosjean.

Aging Gracefully

A subject quite close to my consciousness obviously … and these three old friends each demonstrate the elegance of age built on the foundation of youthful strength and excellent breed.

A modest wine for New Year’s Eve

A lovely experience tonight and surprising as well. We are drinking Granger’s Beaujolais Villages “Le Fetrau” from the 2013 vintage.

Drinking this wine tonight.

Simply stated one of the greatest wines of our 40+ year history! NIR

Summary of Grower Visits – Part VIII

For those who think these wines are a tad expensive, consider this: that harvest levels are sometimes as low as 20 hectolitres per hectare at these two Mas. Reflect on that when you are considering village level white Burgundy at $600+ per case (rendement frequently 50 to 60 hl/ha). Organic?

Summary of Grower Visits – Part VII

Chateau Simone:
I spent a delightful morning with Florence and Jean-Francois (known as “Jeff” to Florence!) Rougier after departing from the early morning visit with Sylvain MOREY. The deep dive into Simone started with a trio of vintages of Grands Carmes Blanc.

Summary of Grower Visits – Part VI

Provence – A day for 3 Chateaux ….

CHATEAU SIMONE: what a lovely estate! Each time I visit (and, remember my first visit with the Rougier family was in 1981) I remain impressed by the impeccable grounds, the perfectly maintained cellar and ultimately the consistently excellent and idiosyncratic wines.

Summary of Grower Visits – Part V

BOIS DE BOURSAN: 2018 was a difficult vintage for Versino; harvest began 12 Sept ended 28 Sept; due to extensive mildew throughout the season, he harvested 11.5 hectoliters per hectare; this on the heels of 2017 which yielded another small crop size of 22 hl/ha.

Summary of Grower Visits – Part IV

More commentary on the visits Michael and I made to the growers between Oct 16 and Oct 23 …

DOMAINE DU GOUR DE CHAULE: Harvest in 2018 started on 13 Sept for the Rosé and then proceeded in stages of 3 to4 days as the vineyards ripened in an irregular, and different, pace …

Summary of Grower Visits – Part III

The afternoon of our second day on the road was joyous as the wines of Guillaume Gilles and Domaine Lionnet are simply magical.

GILLES: Guillaume started harvest early in 2018, the 4th of September. He reports a bountiful harvest of excellent quality. The ‘17s have brilliant potential.


CUILLERON: Our second day in the Rhône started with a tasting with Yves Cuilleron. The “Cuilleron Empire” continues to expand and requires considerable time to proceed through a tasting. In fact, 32 wines were presented, the result of which was that we were then late for the remaining appointments for that day.

Summary of Grower Visits – Part 1

Michael Kane and I just wrapped up 9 days on the road visiting our growers in the northern and southern Rhône, Provence, Languedoc – Roussillon and Bordeaux. We were the beneficiaries of beautiful Indian summer weather during the entirety of our trip, one of the few blessings from global warming.

Simone Grands Carmes Blanc 2014

Kerry and I revisited this wine over the weekend, opening and drinking most of the bottle yesterday with an udon-based vegetable broth; then, again, tonight to observe the wine’s evolution. It is, actually, spectacularly good, a wine loaded with character, strongly lanolin, petroleum-laced, amidst the background menthol-pine aromatics and flavors.

American Wine Importers That Changed the Game

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

Jean Faurois Vosne Chaumes 1981

Drinking this aged beauty tonight. Blake and Michael , I believe, may have had the pleasure of meeting the “Master”.  Jean Faurois was the epitome of the classic Burgundian vigneron of this era … a gentleman of the first order … quiet, determined, calm with a deep love of his land and a knowledge so

The Dragonfly: A Sign Of A Healthy Environment

A REPORT FROM THE ROVELLOTTI FAMILY IN GHEMME I received a note yesterday from my good friend, Antonello Rovellotti, who was brimming with good cheer because of the healthy state of his vineyards in Baragiola, recognized as the top “cru” in Ghemme. He recounted that back when he was a young boy (and he is

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On Monday evening, June 26, 2017, the New York-based RWM team gathered at the Westlight in Brooklyn to honor our long-time colleague, Paul-Pierre Compere. Paul has decided to retire on June 30th after twenty-three years of rendering impeccable service to us and to our clients. The party, as you can see from the accompanying slide

Cornalin Les Bernunes 2014

To all:  We drank the Cornalin “Les Bernunes” 2014 from Caloz this evening with total satisfaction.  This red gained strength and depth throughout the course of the meal.  Beautiful color; racy, alpine aromas that move to smoky, meaty, Syrah-like (northern Rhone locale); long finish, very fresh with spice and licorice components; starts simple, clean but

Culture through the Prism of Wine

Neal Rosenthal is celebrating 40 years in the wine business, starting as a retailer in New York and quickly moving to importing.  He was just in Austin, and Mark Rashap, CWE , The Illuminated Bottle and Radio Producer and Host, Another Bottle Down on KOOP 91.7 Austin. caught up with him in person to talk

Simone Blanc and Rouge

First, experience shows that the “oiliness” that is so typical of top quality Simone Blanc develops slowly and intensifies as the wine ages; texturally the mineral drive one divines in the youthful stages and which makes for a more linear sensation recedes as the density of the wine increases, a development which, in turn, yields

Old Wine Alert!

ATTENTION:  just opened a 1986 Vosne Romanée 1er Cru “Les Chaumes” produced by a member of the first group of Burgundians from whom I ever purchased wine:  JEAN FAUROIS.  I was introduced to Faurois by Claudette Amiot (Bernard’s wife) in late 1981 or early 1982.  Jean was born in the Chateau du Clos de Vougeot

Harmand-Geoffroy Gevrey Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2011

Drank the above-captioned wine last night at dinner with immense satisfaction. Anyone should be comfortable recommending this bottling to someone looking for classic, compelling Cote de Nuits at the village level.  Still with a touch of youthful edginess but scintillating bouquet, deep robe, dense texture, deeply dark-fruited with excellent length … head and shoulders above

a dialogue on Arboreus, Michel and Pradeaux

Clarke, Beautifully said … bravo! I am an ardent admirer of the 2009 Arobreus which, I believe, is Bea’s best effort to date of this particular wine.  There is a persistence to its attack and finish that is subtle but remarkable.  I, for one, am not at all surprised by its tenacity over a four-day

Chauvenet Bourgogne “Noyer du Pendu” 2014

Run do not walk to grab whatever remains of this wine in stock. Call your friends and favored clients to let them know that this is a top flight “entry level” red Burgundy , one amongst several wines in this category that are standouts in our portfolio. NIR

Domaine de la Petite Mairie, Bourgueil “Butte de Tyron” 2014

There are few more immediately reassuring sights in an Old World wine cellar than a wall of large, weathered wooden casks. Besides being beautiful to behold, they imply a continuity of tradition—an unbroken resistance to the sleek, technical winemaking practices that have stripped so many modern wines of their souls. The way of the foudre

2014 Poulsard Pêcheur

Drinking this exquisite version of Poulsard (2014) from Pêcheur tonight. Elegant, clean, so very ALIVE and a perfect companion to so many different types of cuisines. What a joy! NIR Neal: I, too, have been taken with this wine having had the opportunity to taste it now stateside.  Every bit as you describe:  star-bright; autumn

Ca’ du Leria 2013 Clerico

Married this wine tonight to a grilled magret duck breast. The wine is brilliant, showing a vibrant ruby color, evocative nose of fresh crushed wild berries and a spicy, fresh finish. Surprisingly complex for its price, it bristles with a lovely acidity. I would say that we should give the Ca’ du Leria 2013 a

Arbin Mondeuse (Magnin) 2011

Drinking with exquisite pleasure this classic Mondeuse from Louis Magnin. When we first brought this wine into the States last spring, it was tight as a drum with its high acid tension. To my surprise,  this wine has turned the corner much more quickly than I had thought it would. It is wonderfully aromatic with

Clerico Spanna 2012

Drinking this wine tonight. At a beautiful spot right now. Structured, perfectly balanced , savory with spice, lithe and long on the palate. A near-perfect example of Alto Piedmontese Nebbiolo. Confirms for me, once again, that Clerico is right behind (perhaps equal to) Rovellotti as the best of our producers from that region. Highly recommended!

An assault on the sacred notion of “controlled appellation”.

As some of you may have noted, there is a different label on the Ferrando Spumante this vintage (2011). For this vintage at least the sparkling wine is referenced as “Spumante” without the specific distinction of the DOC of Erbaluce di Caluso.  The reason for this is a technical one as explained in full by


Drinking 2012 Jaugaret tonight. A perfect wine in the purity of its expression of its terroir. Every wine should be this “correct”. In the background there is an enchanting herbal, weedy, tobacco rich flavor and bouquet, the tannins are bright yet with a pleasant grip; only 12.5% alcohol which is when Bordeaux from Cabernet is

a brief mention of two wines we drank over the past two evenings

Ploussard 2014 from Crinquand: a minor note of reduction on opening that quickly dissipates and leaves one with a wine of exceptional elegance, fine tannins and a pure red berry nose and flavors; charming, exceedingly flexible at the table; one of his best efforts. Chateau La Peyre, St Estephe 2010: run to this wine before

1980 Haut Segottes

1980 Haut Segottes

We are drinking the last bottle in the cellar of 1980 Haut Segottes. It is magic!  This wine stretches the bounds of believability: 36 years since the harvest in a vintage that is considered one of the least ripe in memory; yet, this wine is fine, elegant, still fresh with a silky texture, savory, actually

Chassagne Rouge ’85 Prudhon

Drank this wine tonight with pleasure. At 30 years plus a modest village burgundy is still alive and bright with its typical grainy tannins. Color deepened with aeration. Might it have been even better 5 or 10 years ago? Probably but this wine is a “gamer”, a sturdy little fellow. Last bottle in the cellar!

St Aubin Murgers Dents de Chien ’13

Drinking the subject wine tonight with sautéed shrimp and a risotto made with a sample of a carnaroli rice from the Novara region of Piedmont. Classic white Burgundy, Meyer-lemon like acidity, beautifully dense with a long, clean, lively finish. The Prudhons are a class act and are cranking out truly superb wine. We also drank

A Week of Wine at Mad Rose Ranch

We thought it might be fun to share with you the wines we drink at home during the course of a week … providing commentary on the wines as well as some insight as to why each wine was selected and the food we served with it.  If this exercise proves interesting, we will repeat

Chateau Simone Blanc 2009

Enjoying this wine immensely this evening. Best when opened an hour in advance. Ultimately drinks “suave” … oily, sensuous texture, pine – quinine – chamomile flavors, great length, so very sophisticated, perhaps the finest white wine from the south of France. NIR

Bois De Boursan Felix ’11

Drank this beauty tonight with dinner. This vintage, somewhat suspect in the general perception, is showing brilliantly. The ripe and spicy Grenache takes center stage with a touch of tannic kick from Mourvèdre. A wine that is shedding its quietude and finding a classic expression of Chateauneuf – with stems!  NIR

Loire Valley Wines

Kerry and I continually assess our wines by putting each to the ultimate test: drinking wine with our meals.  Over the most recent weekend, we explored, with much satisfaction, several wines from the Loire Valley that do not appear regularly at our home table. On New Year’s Eve, our quiet celebration was toasted with the

Etienne Becheras Saint Joseph Blanc 2011

Drinking the above captioned wine tonight. We have a small allocation of this wine every year which is, by and large, ignored once it arrives. That is a shame. The wine is rich, speaks with a booming voice and is blessed with a joyous perfume full of exotic flora. This wine should fine a home

Auney L’Hermitage Cana Rouge ’12

Drinking this wine tonight. Delicious. One of the best values in the portfolio. Perfect balance, dignified, an adult wine of class and breed. Photo will follow.  By the way, the proprietors are two of the most intelligent and charming vignerons in our universe. NIR

Lionnet Cornas 2012

Drinking this wine tonight (see photos). Classic Cornas. May be the best Cornas in stock right now. Powerful, dramatic, severe, every element of the appellation is on display … The granite soils, the non-destemmed grapes, the raw ferocity of Syrah in the northern Rhone.  So good right now but with a brilliant future of 10

Dolcetto d’Alba ’14 DeForville

Once again our friends, the Anfosso family of Barbaresco, have produced one of the singular great values in our portfolio of wines. We are drinking tonight the 2014 Dolcetto d’Alba which is simply delicious, actually thirst-quenching, vibrant, fresh, so very much alive! One wonders sometimes how it is possible to produce a wine of this

NOAH Coste della Sesia Croatina 2011

a brief note about one of our newest wines… To our delight, this wine from young Andrea Mosca’s cellars in Brusnengo in the Alto Piemonte is developing nicely and shows, with a considerably higher degree than I anticipated, a true sense of terroir. In fact, this wine from Croatina is much more fine than it

An Old Friend

No one ever made a truer Chambolle Musigny than our old friend (and very first producer in Burgundy), Bernard Amiot. Tonight we are enjoying his 1997 Chambolle Musigny 1er Cru “Les Chatelots”. As we do, we reminisce about how we started working with Bernard, tasting through the cellar and marking the individual barrel or barrels

2000 J Dauvissat

Drinking this wine drawn from the cellar tonight. Rather astonishing for its freshness  (15 years old, village wine!). Classic Chablis – aromatically and gustatorily true to its Kimmeridgian origins. My only quibble is that it shows just a touch too “warm” on the palate despite its declared 12% alcohol. Lovely density … As we used

Barbera d’Asti “Ca’ del Buc” 2013 from DeForville

On a beautiful spring evening in Shekomeko‎, we are enjoying a favorite wine of ours: the Barbera d’Asti 2013 produced by the Anfosso family from their “Ca’ del Buc” vineyard in Costigliole d’Asti. Although the family is based in Barbaresco, they have owned this special site for many years, using it to produce this formidable

Aging Dolcetto – An Example

Having tasted through the series of older Dolcetto Dogliani (an appellation with a certain deserved renown for producing age-worthy Dolcetto) recently, it was a revelation to drink a bottle of Dolcetto d’Alba “Vignavillej” 1998 from Brovia, a wine drawn from our private collection. It is an astonishing wine – deep in color, robust, still fresh

A Bordeaux Moment – Pauillac front and center

Just finished drinking a bottle of Chateau Chantecler, Pauillac, 2010 (while listening to the Brad Mehldau Trio) which experience drove our memories to the earliest days of our career in wine when we had the pleasure of indulging in another Pauillac by the name of Château Latour in vintages like ’61, ’62 and ’64, wines of

Several Visits to the Cellar

The nicest aspect of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is that it gives us a bit of “down-time” to explore the cellar and dig up a few wines to drink at our leisure. So, here is a brief report on a few wonders that have been hanging out underground for awhile … We had the pleasure

Working the high mountain passes of the Valle d’Aosta

It’s thrilling to work the high passes of the Valle d’Aosta searching for wines in places that are home to the chamois and mountain goat as much as they prove to be fertile ground for a fascinating array of local grape varieties.  Our love affair with this area started 35 years ago in January 1980 when we first

A Grand Cru Experience

We sat at the dinner table tonight and drank, over a simple dinner (leftover pork tenderloin, roast potatoes, endive and blue cheese salad), a bottle of Mazis-Chambertin produced by our grower Harmand-Geoffroy in the 2006 vintage. This bottle offered vivid testimony of its breed and answers the question: do certain vineyard locations truly provide a

Saint Emilion

On November 23, 2013 Neal wrote: “Just wrapped up a lovely morning in Saint Emilion and am now on the train from Libourne to Bordeaux (to catch a connection to Montpellier this afternoon). I was delighted by what I tasted at both Haut Segottes and Belregard Figeac. First of all, I am happy to report

A Morning in Vouvray

        “Wednesday (20 Nov 2013) morning was dedicated to Vouvray with stops at Peter Hahn’s Clos de la Meslerie and Philippe Foreau’s Clos Naudin. 2013 was not kind to the appellation: a devastating hailstorm in summer and a rainy late season and cold spring reduced yields and made the growers struggle mightily

Neal’s Report from the Eastern Loire

“The afternoon of Tuesday, Nov 19 2013 was spent in the Eastern Loire visiting with Marc Deschamps, Gilles Crochet and Philippe Gilbert. In Pouilly-sur-Loire, Marc Deschamps reported favorably on the results of the current harvest, better results than might have been anticipated considering the up-and-down conditions during the growing season. He predicts a wine with

Report on Dauvissat and Defaix

Last week Neal traveled from Champagne to Chablis before making his way to the Loire.  Here are his notes from domaines Dauvissat and Defaix. “I visited with Sebastien Dauvissat early in the morning of Tuesday November 19 – a hint of snow was in the air. Our stocks of the Dauvissat wines are dwindling rapidly

Notes from Champagne

On Sunday, Neal departed for his final grower visits of the season.  He continues to chronicle them here on the blog. 11/21/13 “I am on the train departing from Nantes destination Bordeaux – finally a free moment to pen a few words about my current visits with our growers. On Monday of this week, I

Visit to the Valais

After a couple of days in the Alto Piemonte and the Canavese, Neal crossed over the mountains via the Gran San Bernardo pass to visit our growers in the Valais in Switzerland … herewith his initial comments: “We arrived in the Valais on Tuesday evening, I introduced our newest colleague, Ross Mattis, to the traditions

The Report from Ferrando

A day in Carema, October 2013: “Our visit with Luigi, Roberto and Andrea Ferrando was spent mostly in discussion of the “crisis of quantity” in Carema and whether there is some way to increase access to, and control the production of, grapes within the appellation. There is no easy answer to this conundrum but, at

Neal’s Visit to the Alto Piemonte (Oct 2013) continued

Neal’s visits in Alto Piemonte continued with a trip to Castello Conti: “Tuesday morning Oct 22 we visited with Elena and Paola Conti. Four wines were the subjects for the day.  The wines had just been bottled 10 days prior. The Nebbiolo Colline Novaresi 2012 was the most affected by the bottling, showing the dryness

Updates from Alto Piemonte

We will continue posting Neal’s dispatches from his producer visits.  Over the next few days he will be in Italy and Switzerland.  Here is the first update from Italy. “A quick “wrap” of yesterday’s activity in the Alto Piemonte, 10/21/13 … Monsecco: Greeted by Giorgio and Fabio, as usual. This duo presents a charming and

A Day in the Jura

Sunday, Sept 22, 2013 Neal spent the day visiting our producers in the Jura.  Here are his notes: “I spent last Sunday (September 22) visiting each of our four producers. The first issue to discuss is “reduction” in certain wines from our producers in the Jura. Of course, we had this problem raise its ugly

Northern Rhone Part I

Late last week, Neal spent time visiting producers in the Northern Rhone. Here is his report on Guillaume Gilles: September 20, 2013 “On Friday Sept 20, I visited with each of our five producers in the northern Rhone. I am pleased to report that the wines from both the 2011 and 2012 vintages are exceptionally

Northern Rhone Part II

Neal’s update on our Northern Rhone producers continues with Domaine Lionnett and Etienne Becheras: September 20, 2013 “The Domaine Lionnet is really coming into its own. Ludovic is finding his stride. My notes are replete with praise. There is no doubt that 2012 will be a top vintage here and, interestingly and somewhat in contrast

Northern Rhone Part III

This is Neal’s final dispatch from the Northern Rhone: September 20, 2013 “To wrap up the Northern Rhone…I had a pleasant encounter with Yves Cuilleron. Yves continues to expand his holdings. There are now 55+ hectares that he exploits as owner and sharecropper. There is now a nice Crozes Hermitage Rouge being produced. The Levets

A quick report from the Savoie

Neal has taken off on the first of his autumn trips to visit our growers in Europe.  We will chronicle his travels on the blog by posting his field reports. September 19, 2013 “Flew into Geneva this morning and visited Vens-le-Haut and Magnin today. Was privileged to be here on a gorgeous day, unfortunately one

A Tasting Odyssey in Three Parts

Part 1: The Midwest Comes East On September 9 and 10, Rosenthal Wine Merchant hosted a group of its distributors and their top clients from the Midwest states of Wisconsin, Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado at its warehouse in New York City. Just a few years ago it was difficult, or impossible, to find Rosenthal wines in most

Late August in the Valais

During a visit to the Haute-Savoie region of France for a wedding last weekend, we took the opportunity to head east to the Valais to visit a couple of our vignerons and check in on the progress of the vines.  The weather couldn’t have been better, with clear skies and temperatures in the high 70s. 

Chateau Haut Segottes – A History Lesson

As you can see from the attached photo, we drank a bottle of 1980 Chateau Haut Segottes (Saturday Aug 31, 2013), one of the few older vintages that remain in stock from the collection that we purchased from Mme Meunier, the proprietor, several years ago.  Of course, this vintage was left behind in our stock while

A Mountain Red

The exuberant reds from our growers in the Valais scream out their mountain heritage. Drinking the 2011 Cornalin from Romain Papilloud tonight makes the point brilliantly. A wine of vibrant, deep color, its bouquet brings the Alpine atmosphere directly to the table like a fresh, cool breeze rustling through the low bushes of berry and

Old Originals

This week [June 2 – 8 2013] we raided the cellar again.  Without planning it, we drank two wines that share an interesting history: the 1983 Cote Rotie from Bernard Levet and the 1982 Brunello di Montalcino from Luigi Anania’s La Torre estate.  Two distinct wines with one dramatic similarity: both wines were the first

Brunello “La Torre” 1982 + Chet Baker !

People always talk about food and wine matches but not so often of the marriage of wine and music. Tonight [June 6, 2013] we experienced the ideal: listening to Chet Baker (singing + playing trumpet) while drinking Brunello “La Torre” 1982. Both are the ultimate in sophistication, elegance and class.  


At the request of one of our best clients, I composed a brief and certainly very general summary of our view of recent vintages in Burgundy (from 1999 to 2010).  You might find this commentary of some interest … 1999: a heralded vintage for both red and white wines; whether the wines will live up

Badebec – Our Newest Addition to the Portfolio

Standing in the kitchen as we prepare dinner and taste the first bottle of “Badebec”, a Rosso from the Vallé d’Aosta, to come to the States.  It’s always exciting to test these recent arrivals once they are Stateside.  We do all of our selecting overseas in the cellars so that initial bottle opened at home

Exploring the cellar (again) – a perspective on Hubert Lignier and wines with a bit of age …

It seems that, more often than not when contemplating a new blog post, I am drawn to comment on the joys of exploring wines that we had tucked away in our private cellar many, many moons ago.  I do this, I think, because there appear to be so few opportunities now for those who are

Beaujolais: An Essential Part of Burgundy

We have argued for many moons that some of, if not the, best values in red wine can be found in Beaujolais.  Certainly, when one cruises the “cru” vineyards of this region, the grapes of which have been cared for and transformed into wine by the serious and quite traditional growers, the notion that Beaujolais

Chianti Classico, Sangiovese, Castelnuovo Berardenga

We recently indulged ourselves with a trip into our past as experienced through several older vintages of Chianti Classico Riservas from Castell’in Villa, one of our first sources of superb Italian wine (and no longer part of our portfolio for a complex of reasons).  Most specifically, we drank on separate occasions the 1988 and 1985

DeForville Barbaresco

Tonight (August 23 2012) we drank a bottle of Barbaresco “Vigneto Loreto” 1997 from De Forville.  This estate, with which we have been working for the past 33 years, has always flown a bit under the radar … in  a commercial sense.  Perhaps this is because the Anfosso family, the owners of De Forville, are

What We Have Been Drinking …

A brief note about some of the wines we have consumed over the past few days … Coteaux Champenois Blanc (Coulon) 2008: the “deposit” or “veil” that was present when we first released this wine seems to have disappeared; the wine is scintillatingly replete with the terroir of Champagne – stony to its core with

Villa Sant’Anna Chianti Colli Senesi 2005 and Thoughts on Assembling a Cellar

We stumbled across a bottle of Chianti Colli Senesi 2005 from Villa Sant’Anna the other day while cruising our personal cellar; so, we drank it that evening.  A simple but satisfying wine this modest Chianti from the hills just north of Montepulciano with a rustic, earthy bouquet, lots of presence on the palate and tannins