The Malibu Estate, the country home of George Rosenthal, continues to produce Southern California’s finest wines. In the 19th century, Los Angeles County was reputed to have been the leading producer of premium wine in California, but with the advent of phylloxera and Pierce’s Disease, followed by urban sprawl, wine production had nearly ceased in Los Angeles County and in much of Southern California as early as the 1950’s. Such was the unhappy state of wine affairs in and around Los Angeles until 1987, when George Rosenthal planted a prime portion of his Malibu ranch to European varietals and put Malibu and Los Angeles County back on California’s viticultural map. Others have followed suit in an attempt to emulate The Malibu Estate’s success, but none have thus far managed to fashion wines as compelling as Rosenthal’s The Malibu Estate.
Critics have commented that The Malibu Estate has two distinct levels of wine: great and greater. And after two decades of splendid wines, it would be hard to argue against that summation. The estate’s low yields and small production make it difficult to turn out anything but the best. This winery fashions ripe, succulent Merlot and exceptional estate Cabernet Sauvignon, but recently it is Rosenthal’s Meritage (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Petit Verdot) that appears to be the crown jewel at the estate. However, with Rosenthal’senviable record with red Bordeaux varietals, it would be easy to lose sight of the fact that The Malibu Estate also produces one of Southern California’s most compelling Chardonnays, albeit it in small quantities. In fact, the estate’s Chardonnay may still be California’s best kept secret. All of Rosenthal’s estate bottled wines are made using sustainable methods of agriculture and now bear the distinct Malibu Newton Canyon appellation.
The force and vision behind Rosenthal Estate Wines is of course George Rosenthal. George has been a real estate developer, restaurant/hotel owner, movie mogul, and breeder of fine Andalusian horses. However, today, his primary passion is fashioning Rosenthal The Malibu Estate into a living, sustainable work of art. The artist in residence is French winemaker Christian Rougenet, who spares no expense in the pursuit of full throttle, highly extracted wines of distinction. At Rosenthal Estate Wines The Malibu Estate, the grapes are entirely handpicked from low yield vines and the resulting hand crafted wines are all aged in the finest French oak barrels. The estate’s red wines are bottled un-fined and un-filtered. Moreover, no wine is released until it is ready to drink, a practice that defies contemporary economic exigencies but aptly defines this estate’s commitment to quality.