It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and I’m making my own personal resolution for romance.
I’m going to swap roses for Rosenthals.
By that I mean wines imported by Neal Rosenthal for his Mad Rose Group, wines that, since the group’s inception in 1977, firmly have reflected his belief that “wine is an agricultural product and that in its best and purest form wine must reflect a specific sense of place.”
Consider this as you make your own plans for Valentine’s Day tasting, toasting and otherwise celebrating: From the very beginning, Rosenthal selected wines for his portfolio from growers dedicated to producing very small quantities of finest-quality wines that reflected “terrior” —or, as Rosenthal puts it, “that ephemeral since of place.”
What the current crop of hip, hot importers preach about natural wines, organic and sustainable growing practices, and all-around artisanship in let-nature-have-her-way production is what Neal Rosenthal was saying 40 years ago. Before a lot of these very good folks were born.
Every single bottle in the Rosenthal portfolio is estate bottled. Each grower is visited twice a year by a member of the small, highly selective staff at Rosenthal; the portfolio includes wines from France, Italy, Switzerland and also one cava from Spain. I’ve known the Rosenthal folks for almost 30 years now, and I’ve yet to meet a middleman; in fact, I’ve yet to meet anyone who even resembles a salesperson in the Mad Rose family
.What I most love about a Rosenthal wine is its guaranteed sincerity. Yes, purity; yes, that sense of place; yes, absolutely, character. But it all can be summed up by sincerity: true, real, heartfelt—all right there in the bottle.
So I’ll close this personal Valentine to Rosenthal wines with a list of favorites I’ve found right here in New Jersey—and with a wish that you, too, seek them out for sipping when you toast Valentine’s Day.
* Ferrando La Torrazza Canavese Rosso (Piedmont)
* Chateau Moulin de Tricot (Bordeaux)
* Cuilleron Crozes Hermitage Laya (Rhone)
* Domaine Overnoy-Crinquand Arbois Pupillin Ploussard (Jura)
* Domaine Bechtold Gewurztraminer Silberberg (Alsace)
* Paolo Bea Montefalco Rosso San Valentino (Umbria)
* Cave Caloz Heida-Paien Les Bernunes (Valais)