Once again, he did it again. Neal and his teammate Blake surprised me again with the quality of their wines.
During all these years, I've tasted between 3,000 and 5,000 wines a year and drunk quite a few of them, in France, in Spain, in UK and now in the US (for the last 7 years), and I can confidently say that the Rosenthal portfolio is by far (in my opinion and for my palate) one of the best on the market.
It is quite simple, every time Blake come to the store to introduce me and the team to some new wines, he always go back home with an order from me. He never comes for nothing and always succeed to make a sale, which is not that easy for most of the other suppliers and distributors. Example: he came a few days ago with 5 wines and, funny to say, even to my own surprise, I bought them all (I will describe them soon on some other posts).
You see, I like balance, harmony, depth, richness, fresh acidity, integrated tannins and complexity (without heaviness, jamminess, over ripeness or oakyness) and even more balance in my wines and the Rosenthal porfolio seem to correspond the most to my palate. Most Rosenthal wines trigger an interest in me and seem to excite and please my taste buds like only a few wines (and a few portfolios) can do.
As I often say, not everybody can be a Neal Rosenthal, a Kermit Lynch, a Joe Dressner, a Jorge Ordonez, or (even more recently) a Savio Soares, a Jenny & Francois (in their own special organic and Biodynamic way) ... (you want more?) ....
I can even extend the list by saying that not everybody can be a Douglas Polaner, a Michael Skurnik, a Leonardo Locascio, a Mark Lauber, a David Bowler, a Christopher Cannan, a Bartholomew Broadbent, a Becky Wasserman, a Peter Weygandt, an Eric Salomon, a Francis Kysela, a Robert Chadderdon, a Jose Pastor, a Dan Philips, a Peter Click, a Terry Theise, a Martin Scott (although they are 2 different persons), a Neal Empson, a Marc De Grazia, a Liz Willette, a Eric Dubourg, a Kenny Ohnish, a Jan D'Amore, a Peter Matt, ...(and many more)....
As for not everybody can be a Robert Parker Jr., a Steven Tanzer, a Jancis Robinson, a Hugh Johnson, a Michael broadbent, a Bill Blatch, a Nancy Rugus, a Pierre-Antoine Casteja, a Michel Bettane ... (and many more) ....
And for portfolios, not everybody can have such an eclectic, carefuly selected gems as: Savio Soares, Polaner, Vias, Vinifera, Tempranillo, Winebow, Wineberry, Bayfield, Martin Scott, Fruit of the Vines and its many small importers, Domaine Select, Baron Francois, Lauber, Monarchia-Matt, Opici, VOS, Wildman, Admiral, Ibanez Pleven, Wilson Daniels, Wineberry, The Wine List, Maximilien selection, T-Edward, Skurnik, Monsieur Touton, Little Wine Company, Folio, and many more ....but more especially Rosenthal.
Except one or two (or three) persons among the people cited above, I've met, at least once (for some much more than that) most of these fine wine lovers, discoverers, pioneers, drinkers and promoters (and too many other people in the wine industry, owner and winemakers included, to list them all...) in many places from Bordeaux to Marseille to Lyon to Strasbourg to Bourges to Orleans and Paris (and everywhere in between), Barcelona to Haro to Valladolid to Madrid; from Edinburgh to London; from Mendoza to Santiago; and from San Francisco to New York. I have a lot of respect for these people and I think without them the wine industry will surely be less interesting and will definitely lack of aromas, flavors, depth, richness and palate diversity.
However, this post is a little homage to Rosenthal and to finish with a word about the man: It is because of people like him (and only a few others), that I've been enjoying my work as a Sommelier-Caviste and especially wine buyer for the past 17 years.
It is somehow because of passionate men and women like him who have unmatched patience, determination and assiduity to bring exquisite, balanced wines that people like me continue to believe that they still are lot of undiscovered small great wines and producers, and to search and find these rare little gems usually lost in an ocean of often undrinkable, disjointed and unbalanced wines.
Thank you Neal, keep up the good work! And Blake too!
LeDom du Vin
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