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We're proud to offer the 2016s from Stéphane Magnien, a young man who is producing superb old-fashioned Burgundies at his 4.5 hectare domain in Morey-Saint-Denis. 2016 is perhaps the greatest vintage we have encountered at this over-achieving estate - a difficult year in the vines and with very low yields, but the results are outstanding. The wines show beautiful, deep red and black fruit and floral aromatics, quite complex and pretty; on the palate the wines are classically structured (12.5 - 13% alcohol) with medium-bodied dense, deep, sappy fruit and show fabulous expression of each terroir, with terrific length. And although the beauty of these wines will make them enjoyable young, they are built to last. This is the only shipment of 2016s we will receive from Stéphane, as our allocation was down by 50% from previous years. Only a few cases of each premier cru are available and please, 6-bottle maximum on the rare and beautiful Chambolle Vieilles Vignes.
Changes in 2016 include a new cuvee called "Pur Pinot Noir" in the appellation "Côteaux Bourguignons." Made from a mix of young and quite old vines below the village of Morey-Saint-Denis, it's a vibrant and surprisingly deep and structured Burgundy that will drink beautifully over the next five to eight years - and at $19.95, it's a sensational value! Also for the first time, there are two cuvees of village Morey-Saint-Denis: "Grains Fins" is made from selections of Pinot Fin on gravelly soils in "Bas-Chenevery" and "Crais-Gillons" - it's beautifully aromatic, fresh and bright, for lovely drinking over the next seven to ten years; "Vieilles Vignes" is from 45 to 65 year-old vines in "Clos Solon" and "Cognes" on clay soils, giving a dense, darker-fruited wine that needs decanting and will drink well through 2030 and beyond.
The domaine is proud to say that for four generations they have not used herbicides, plowing by horse and tractor to preserve the microbial life of the soil and force the vine's roots to descend more deeply, pulling great typicity from the terroir. There is a high percentage of old vines in their parcels, including a great deal of Pinot Tordu, a small-berried, aromatic old version of Pinot Noir. Minimal new oak is used, about 10% for the premier cru wines, and the wines are bottled without fining or filtration. Hand harvesting, of course, and long, wild-yeast fermentations, with organic treatments in the vineyards, not certified. "Far from 'vins médiatique' you will find in our bottles a subtle wine, well-structured, respecting the terroir and the vintage, with great length on the palate... all in finesse." Stéphane Magnien is a young star of Burgundy - if you haven't tried these lovely wines, we urge you to do so in this excellent vintage! (All wines arrive by Wednesday, Sept. 19th)
From 35-55 year-old vines below the village in deep clay soils, 50% Pinot Noir/50% Gamay (with the new AOC Coteaux Bourguignons replacing Borgogne Passetoutgrain and Bourgogne Rouge). Hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts and aged 16 months in tonneaux and stainless steel vats, bottled unfined and unfiltered, about 150 cases made. Bright red color, high-toned aromas of cassis, red currant, tart cherry. The palate shows vibrant cherry and red currant fruit, quite refreshing with a nice finish of juicy red fruits with firm acidity. Drink this lively Pinot/Gamay blend over the next five years. Great value! DL
The 2016 "Pur Pinot Noir" is the first Bourgogne Rouge produced by the talented Stephane Magnien at his superb estate in Morey-Saint-Denis (using the new "Coteaux Bourguignons" appellation and formerly blended with Gamay into two cuvees of Passetoutgrain). The Pur Pinot Noir is from a mix of young and old vines in the lieu-dit "Gué," below the village of Morey-Saint-Denis - it's a lovely wine, vinified with minimal extraction, showing a bright red/black color with pretty aromas of black cherry and black raspberry, floral and deep with hints of earth and meat. The palate shows ripe, sappy berry fruits with firm tangy tannins that lift the fruit, really quite lovely. The finish is long with a nice mix of minerals, red fruits and bright acidity. This shows the ripeness and structure of the low-yielding 2016 vintage in a complex and delicious red Burgundy that will drink well with just about anything over the next five to eight years. Highly recommended and a great value! David Lillie
The Morey-Saint-Denis "Grains Fins" is another new cuvée from Stephane Magnien, and it's an absolutely delicious wine! It's made from young vines of Pinot Fin, in the vineyards of "Bas-Chenevery" and "Crais-Gillon" on gravelly soils. There is a 12-month elevage in mostly old barrels, followed by 4 months in cuve inox - only 200 cases were made. The wine shows beautiful aromas of ripe black raspberry, red currant, cherry and blood orange with hints of violets, earth and cocoa. There is lovely ripeness on the palate, which is light and balanced, with deep, dense cherry and raspberry fruit. The finish is very long and balanced with lingering red fruits and minerally acids. This is simply delicious now, but please decant or open in advance, probably best 2020 - 2028. Beautiful wine! David Lillie
2016 is a superb vintage for Stéphane Magnien and in particular for this first vintage of his new Morey-Saint-Denis "Vieilles Vignes," from 45 to 65 year-old vines in "Clos Slon" and "Cognes" on clay/limestone soils. The wine shows deep, elegant blackberry and black cherry aromas, quite floral with mineral and meaty notes. The palate is ripe and dense with blackberry/cherry fruit with hints of earth, citrus and spice, pure, long and well-structured with firm tannins and chalky acidity. Excellent length of black fruits with stone and mineral flavors. Decant to drink now with a nice steak, best to hold three to five years, drink till 2030+ as this will be a superb mature Burgundy. David Lillie
From mixed limestone and clay soils in premier crus Clos Baulet and Les Gruenchers, which bracket Clos Sorbe beneath the village of Morey-Saint-Denis. The 2014 Petites Noix offers high-toned aromas of Morello cherry, violets, wild raspberry with cool herbal notes and spice. The mid-weight and silky palate is racy, ripe and pretty with juicy red fruits earth tones, and a fine spine of chalky minerality. Vibrant and lifted with a captivating interplay between the salty stoniness and perfumed, succulent berry fruit. Long on the finish and precise. Charming now, but with the balance to age effortlessly. This is a beautiful release of "Les Petites Noix!" John McIlwain
From two premier crus, Les Gruenchers and Clos Baulet, mid slope in Morey Saint-Denis, giving a slightly fuller wine than Faconnieres. As with all of Stephane's parcels, there is a high percentage of old vines of "pinot tordu." The wine is more structured due to the deeper clay soils and gets less pigeage. The 2015, tasted in January 2017, was less aromatic than the Faconnières with very deep ripe red and black fruits, showing more weight and a bit more fruit-forward than the more "classic" 2016s, with herbal and mineral flavors and terrific length. This will need time in the cellar but is an excellent example of the more heavily fruited 2015s, and it should be a superb mature wine. David Lillie
(Situated to the west of Grand Cru "Clos de la Roche," this steep and stony parcel has very thin topsoil over the limestone, with vines from 15 to 75 years-old.) Smoldering and smoky—Lauren Bacall in Key Largo? Violets, plum skin, freshly-turned soil lends plenty of gravitas on the nose. Perfumed; beyond floral—a hothouse full of orchids. Earthy and ripe and perfectly fruited. Loamy soil notes and perfect pitch. Motown and Farmer’s Almanac—a wine so pretty it begs for sentiment, yet so frankly earthy, it has you consult a geology textbook. This is beautiful Monts-Luisants and will make some old bones and offer charm and character for years. Lovely. John McIlwain
From a parcel of old vines grown in Les Faconnières, one of the best situated climats in Morey-Saint-Denis, located beneath Clos de la Roche and between the Millandes and Charrières premier crus. The 2016 has a deeply-pitched, perfumed nose, redolent of dark fruits, wild rose petals, and violets with aromas of black cherry and mustard seed, with cool notes of crushed herbs. The midweight and energetic palate offers punchy ripe black and red fruit flavors over a distinctly earthy and savory structure. The finish is expansive, mouthwatering, gamy, mineral, and long, with fine persistence. Plenty of charm, but the inherent structure and poise cry out for some time in the cellar. This is a fabulous Faconnières and a worthy candidate for long term aging. Just beautiful! John McIlwain
From vines planted by Stéphane's grandfather in the lieu-dit "Les Athets" in 1903 (115 years-old!), the rare and beautiful Magnien Chambolle-Musigny Vieilles Vignes is a lovely combination of finesse and ripeness, only 100 cases are made. The 2016 is lifted, buoyant, and luminous perfumed with aromas of wild strawberry and wild cherry and wild rose petals. The palate is ferrous and salty with succulent berry ripeness following. The vines are in Les Athets, which can make for a sterner expression of Chambolle, but the 2016 is silken and supple and has loads of charm, while possessing the structure to age effortlessly. A beautiful Chambolle and fantastic value. Lovely stuff! Decant if drinking now, better still in 5-8 years and beyond. John McIlwain
(From 35 to 90 year-old vines on deep, porous clay/limestone soils below Grand Cru Bonnes-Mares)Yet another shimmering example of 2016 Magnien. Les Sentiers, located beneath Bonnes Mares, often shares some of the rugged character of the grand cru in its youth. It can range from reserved to downright stern. However in ‘16, the purity of fruit and energy of the vintage shine through. Raspberry and red plum on the nose, with a dusty dried rose petal after-aroma that gives way to a ferrous earthiness. The mid-weight and concentrated palate offers flavors of red and black fruits, cherry pit, mustard seed, iron and game with a long, succulent, expansive, deeply stony finish. The fruit is magnificently pure and for the moment there’s plenty of dry extract to buffer the underlying structure, but this ought to age effortlessly and make for a sophisticated and suave Sentiers. Stephane Magnien has made a great range of wines in a particularly trying vintage and this is towards the top of the list. Beautiful Chambolle-Musigny and a delight to taste. Decant now, better still with 7-10 years in the cellar and beyond. Highly recommended. John McIlwain