May 18, 2011

Appel on Wine: Wines from Rosenthal give drinkers link to Old World


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Neal Rosenthal furthers appreciation of the sense of place in wine-making in his book "Reflections of a Wine Merchant."

Courtesy of MacMillan

I don't drink Rosenthal wines nightly or even weekly, as much as I'd like to.

I buy them from time to time, and usually to set down for at least a couple of years (the quality of his wines is such that even the cheaper ones benefit immeasurably from this).

I drink them to be reminded of the effect wine can have on us if we'd only let it, and of the effect we can have on the world if we'd only take on more of the attributes -- calm, precision, elegance, complexity -- these wines express.

Rosenthal's portfolio as distributed in Maine by Mariner Beverages is vast, though it contains only Italian and French wines, plus a few Swiss producers and the legendary Tulocay of Napa Valley.

The few I mention here are ones I've especially enjoyed over the years, but your best course is to peruse Rosenthal's excellent website,, and find a trustworthy retailer or restaurant who can help you get better acquainted.

The Charles Schleret Riesling Herrenweg 2005 ($25) is an extraordinary dry Alsatian Riesling, replete with crisp apples and distinct resin-y pine forest aspects, cut to the quick by subtle kerosene.

Domaine Faillenc Ste. Marie Corbieres 2007 ($16) is feral and mammalian, lusty with a touch of char, an ode to terroir.

Anything from Piedmont's DeForville is terrific: their 2009 Chardonnay ($16) from 45-year-old vines is almandine but mineral-rich; the Dolcetto d'Alba 2009 ($19) a classic, delicate flower. The Fenouillet VdP de Vaucluse Rouge 2007 ($12) and Rose 2010 ($13) are perfect for a weeknight simple French meal.

And one of my favorite roses is Chateau de Peyrassol Cotes de Provence 2010; this vintage is lean and electrified, less rich than last year, suffused with rocks again, a primer on terroir.

Joe Appel works at Rosemont Market. His blog,, continues the conversation, and he can be reached at:


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