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Reflections of a Wine Merchant: On a Lifetime in the Vineyards and Cellars of France and Italy Hardcover – 1 Jul 2008
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"Neal Rosenthal is a source of the kind of wines that I have always looked for, wines that speak to me not of marketing trends, but of the places where they were grown and the people who made them. Whether rustic or elegant, Neal's wines are wines of character, of taste. His lively book, which displays the spunky personality of the author, shines light on how character and taste may be bred into wine." --Victor Hazan"There have been many books about wine, but rarely one as absorbing and as wise as this one. Rosenthal tells of his travels in France and Italy, of his friendships with wine growers, and of his own growing understanding of this ancient business that combines both art and commerce. He writes so well, one can taste the wines he loves." --Charles Simic
About the Author
Neal I. Rosenthal was born in New York City in 1945 and was educated at Rutgers, Columbia, and New York University. He lives on a fifty-seven-acre farmstead in Pine Plains, New York, which produces organic eggs, buckwheat honey, fruit, and vegetables.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Inevitably it's going to be compared to Kermit Lynch's "Adventures on the Wine Route." That's the benchmark for wine books of this sort and I'm not sure anyone is going to equal it. Lynch is a good story teller as well as being kind of a Lewis & Clark of U.S. wine merchants, which gave him incredible stories to tell.
One of Rosenthal's chapters is a direct rebuttal to "Adventures on the Wine Route," where he discusses the problems of the wine seller choosing the barrels of wine he's willing to sell.
As far as complaints from other reviewers that he's bitter or settling scores, I think Rosenthal is just telling the story as he experienced it. One U.S. importer in particular seems to come across poorly. I've talked with three people who've dealt with that importer directly or through intermediaries and except for his excellent portfolio none had anything nice to say about him. So when Rosnthal writes bad things about him he's just picking the low-hanging fruit.
I want to try some of the wines that Rosenthal describes. I'm still trying to track down some Chambave rouge and I've got a line on some white Burgundy.
The writing is awkward in places. That's as much a fault of the editor as it is Rosenthal. It really seemed to slow down at the end. I got the feeling with the ending he ran out of gas and just wanted to end the book.
Also, he seems to be making the same pro-terroir argument several times with slightly different arguments. It seems that could have been condensed.
There's not much mention of my two favorite Rosenthal imports, Foreau and Schleret. Maybe he didn't have much to say. I'm glad someone is bringing them into the United States.
But I liked the book and would recommend it to anyone who loves wine.