Get 10% off the purchase price with every order of 12 bottles or more of still wine not already on sale. The savings add up!
Candela Prol, highly experienced certified wine educator and friend of the shop, is available for tastings and training for private and corporate events. For rates and other inquiries, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
*Offsite events are contracted to and coordinated by a 3rd party, and are in no way affiliated with Chambers Street Wines.
New wines – and, actually, at least kind-of-new winemakers.
This offer is missing at least one new wine I’m really looking forward to (Alan Manley’s Barolo “Margherita Otto”) which won’t be here until the fall. The others couldn’t wait (or I couldn’t wait). There are some exciting new wines in Barolo and Barbaresco, and I think more are on the way as young people return home to assist or otherwise transform family properties. Enriched by travel and tasting, they bring a fresh perspective that (at least for the people mentioned here) is based on organic farming and minimal winemaking. Unlike in generations past, where it was typical to be quite isolated and even suspicious of anything new, they have the moral support and advice of some more senior, brilliant locals, like Augusto Cappellano, Alessandro Ceretto, Giacomo Fenocchio, and Ferdinando Principiano.
Two favorites have transformed their family vines and wines. Giulia Negri came back to the family vineyards after falling in love with Burgundy. She’s making beautiful Barolo from Serradenari, one of the highest vineyards in Barolo; at 540 meters in altitude Negri’s vines are at the highest point of Serradenari, which may in part account (forgive me) for their Burgundian finesse.
In Barbaresco Fabio Gea has rescued old vines (planted by his grandfather) and is making fascinating natural wines. In person Gea is a kind of human whirlwind, buzzing with energy and eager to communicate his complicated philosophical and mystical ideas regarding the connections between nature and wine and humans. Gea’s wines are distinctive, maybe even a little eccentric, but they show striking purity and focus.
One unexpected wrinkle is the appearance of some non-Piemontese winemakers, even non-Italian winemakers (including the aforementioned Alan Manley). Unexpected because unless your family owns a chain of gourmet shops, or the equivalent, it’s just too expensive to get a start in Barolo and Barbaresco. And I confess I’ve always been skeptical about outsiders coming in to classic regions, as if you had to have it in your DNA to make good wine there (thus I confess my schadenfreude regarding Maison Ilan**, for example). But the path that Dave Fletcher (from Australia) has followed makes sense: work for a great producer, pay many dues, and get to know the place from the inside, so far as is possible. After several years Dave has begun to bottle his own wines, and the Barbaresco is impressive for its authority and typicity: it feels like a wine that’s been made in place for years. Jamie Wolff
(The Fletcher's home and cantina is in the beautiful old train station in Barbaresco. As you can see, they no longer have to perform any station master duties.)
* The text on the Recta Pete labels reads: "With respect for tradition, this wine is a blend of grapes chosen by me from a variety of vineyards in Barbaresco. The blend changes every vintage with the intention of obtaining only the highest quality."
** It's a long shaggy-dog tale, and not updated, but if you want to read more about Maison Ilan, click here.
Tartufaia is a blend of Brunate (the La Morra section) and Serradenari, from vines in lighter, sandier soils. The 2013 is medium-bodied, intense and complex, at first very savory, then a lovely streak of lifted dark cherry fruit follows – the finish is long and very elegant. Fine wine! Jamie Wolff
The Barolo Serradenari is a very focused wine with greater density and complexity when tasted next to the Tartufaia. Forgive me (again) but a line of my tasting note (made in the cellar at Negri last May) reads: “Very Burgundian…”, which was intended to express the highest compliment along the lines of iron-fist-in-velvet-glove: this is a subtle, elegant wine that only shows its depth and power as it evolves on the palate. Exciting stuff, and expressive of Negri’s very promising future. Jamie Wolff
Barbaresco: “Notu” was Fabio Gea’s grandfather, and the name of the wine means “Notu followed the drops of water.” Although it may not be intended, the reference to water makes sense when you taste the wine, which has a kind of crystalline freshness and clarity that reminds one of spring water. Fabio writes: “48 months fining barrel (the wood Fabio use are not really “toasted,” but vaporized with specific volcanic hot rocks (no any creation of toxic elements after this treatment) and after unique mass for 6 months in porcelain jars (Fabio is the designer and the ceramist of his own porcelain jars; very probably the first one winemaker in the world that uses “no breathing ceramics” for winemaking). 1136 bottles made.”The 2014 is an edgy, dynamic wine, showing ripe fruit balanced by great lift and transparency. It stands out in the vintage, and it’s exciting to drink. Jamie Wolff
“Grandpa goes to hunt truffles without a dog” – also a sensible description of the wine for its truffley, woodsy core of aromas, lifted by lovely strawberry fruit and acidity. Forget about what you might think about the vintage – this wine has its own distinct wild personality. Jamie Wolff
2016 Recta Pete is a gorgeous wine – finely detailed, subtle, balanced – it has a long future but is quite irresistible now. Jamie Wolff Dave Fletcher writes: “50% of the vineyards I work with are certified organic and the other half is under conversion. As a day job I work for one of the biggest Biodynamic producers in Barolo and Barbaresco. I believe 100% in these techniques for my own grape production and strive for better health and lower impact for the vines and their surroundings. Not wanting to contribute to an ever increasing mono-culture in the Langhe, I offset the land used for my grape production with ownership of the equivalent area in Forest, swamp and grasslands rich in biodiversity.”
2016 Recta Pete is a gorgeous wine – finely detailed, subtle, balanced – it has a long future but is quite irresistible now. Jamie Wolff
Dave Fletcher writes: “50% of the vineyards I work with are certified organic and the other half is under conversion. As a day job I work for one of the biggest Biodynamic producers in Barolo and Barbaresco. I believe 100% in these techniques for my own grape production and strive for better health and lower impact for the vines and their surroundings. Not wanting to contribute to an ever increasing mono-culture in the Langhe, I offset the land used for my grape production with ownership of the equivalent area in Forest, swamp and grasslands rich in biodiversity.”