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*Offsite events are contracted to and coordinated by a 3rd party, and are in no way affiliated with Chambers Street Wines.
Our good friend, Italian vino impressario Amy Ezrin, writes:
"We’ve all heard about organic farming, but what is this biodynamic thing you keep hearing about and how does it relate to wine? Is it essential to wines being considered “natural”? Does it impact the flavor of the wine? Is it true that you fill a bull’s horn with a manure preparation and bury it in the vineyards to enhance soil fertility? Is it science or voodoo or somewhere in between?"
If you’ve ever asked yourself these questions or are just interested in wines made from grapes grown without any chemicals, this is an incredible opportunity to get the information you seek with one of the foremost experts on the topic. On Wednesday, June 26th, 2019, Chambers Street Wines, a purveyor of natural wines for decades, is pleased to host Monty Waldin, international consultant on biodynamic farming, vineyard management and winemaking. A citizen of the UK, Monty published his first book on Organic Wine in 1998 and has appeared on UK TV since 1994. He continues to consult wineries around the world on biodynamic farming, moderates the Italian Wine Podcast, and writes for multiple wine-focused publications.
Held at the Fulton Street location of Kesté Pizza, one of New York’s premier destinations for eating and learning the art of making traditional Neapolitan pizza, we will explore (at least) 16 biodynamic Italian wines from Chambers Street’s vast selection as we learn all about what this farming method is and how it influences the wine. Join us in this fun and casual setting to discuss an intriguing topic and taste a highly varied selection of indigenous Italian grape varieties paired with classic appetizers and exceptional pizzas.
In addition to Kesté's great Neapolitan pizza and other treats, we will taste (at least) 16 brilliant Italian wines that are certified biodynamic, including Monte Bernardi (Chianti Classico), Foradori (Teroldego), Fongoli (Sagrantino), Pietramore (Abbruzzo), Cacciagalli, and more.
The ultimate summer red wine, but in grande bottiglia!
Foradori's Teroldego feels like a benchmark. Not that there is excessive opportunity to do comparative tastings of this lesser-known grape, but of the ones that we've tried, this wine is neither over-oaked, nor reedy and thin, but always perfectly balanced in its intensity and expression. A medley of brambly red and dark fruit (blackberries, plum) interwoven with dark spice, earth and green notes of blackcurrant leaf. The 2016 vintage is quite reserved when first opened, but some air reveals its true potential. One of my favorite pairings with roast pork. It's a great testament to Elisabetta Foradori and her family, and the hard work that has been done in the vineyards and winery for nearly 40 years, that this expression of Teroldego has risen from relative obscurity to be a true staple. Oskar Kostecki
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Verdot, this is the only Super Tuscan we carry in the store, and an anomaly within the character. Not over-extracted or over-oaked, this is a brighter and fresher expression, with a beautiful mix of red and black fruit and ample acidity. Notes of dried herbs and hay round out the palate. Great now, this will only improve with time. Oskar Kostecki
100% Piedirosso planted at 200 meters above sea level in the volcanic soils of Roccamonfina. The wine is hand-harvested, and fermented with wild yeasts in amphora. Aging also takes place in amphora, and is then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and Manzoni froma small .6 hectare parcel above the town of Bolzano. The vines are only 10 years old, but are already producing a beautiful, textured white wine, that is both weighty and elegant. Quite floral on the nose, the palate shows notes of white blossom, ripe citrus, apricot, honey, and crushed vitamin candies. Decant before serving, or age for another few years. Oskar Kostecki
Pranzegg 2014 Schiava (Vernatsch) Campill. From 50-year-old biodynamically farmed vines fermented partial whole cluster. 12% abv. Medium dark garnet translucent robe. The nose offers an array of brambly hedge fruits with black and red currant, wild blackberry, and pomegranate aromas dominating, with faint notes of wet bark, dusty violets, blackberry seed, and game peeking around the edges. On the lighter-side-of-mid-weight palate, the wild berry flavors vie with salty and ferrous soil notes for attention, giving way to to notes of plum skin, and cassis, with a mouthwatering, savory acidity propelling the finish. Great balance between fruit, earth, and freshness. A fine pairing with tagliolini with Prosciutto San Daniele, radicchio, and poppy seeds, but I could see this with roasted pigeon on red wine bruschetta, or gnocchi with speck and Grana Padano. Martin Gojer makes such vibrant and gratifying wines. It’s almost embarrassing that I don’t drink them with more frequency. John McIlwain
From 15 year old vines planted in both guyot and pergola training systems, Pranzegg's Lagrien is fermented with submerged cap for 4 weeks, and is a deeper expression of "mountain wine."Notes of dark fruit (blackberry, plum, and cassis) mingle with mineral notes wet stone and graphite. Framed by quite bright acidity, this is a great food wine, and will pair well with anything from a steak or roast pork, to a burger or barbacue. Oskar Kostecki
Passerina is a grape that I have little experience with beyond the wines of La Visciola in Lazio, which is a real shame given the depth of flavor a lifted texture the wines show. An obscure variety native to Lazio (and possibly distinct from a grape also named Passerina that grows along Italy’s Adriatic coast). The 2015 shows a more lifted character than the 2014. The nose is fairly tight on opening, giving notes of tart apple and pear leading into thyme and white flowers after a few minutes in the glass. Medium body with a soft texture and crisp acidity, the flavors show more candied lemon peel, green apple, and tart pear. Try it with grilled fish, potato or white pizza, soft cheese, or cured pork. Andy Paynter
Cesanese is perhaps the most “important” indigenous red grape of Lazio, capable of making fresh red wines with intense perfume and delicate structure. The reds from La Visciola are all varietal Cesanese from different plots showing distinct features of this underappreciated grape. Sourced from the same vineyard as the Passerina wines the estate produces, the 2015 Vicinale is the most approachable Cesanese from La Visciola. The nose carries hallmark flavors of tart and brambly red fruit with herbal tones of bay spice and pepper plant. The palate is quite light with whispery tannins, and tart, fresh acidity carrying plenty of red raspberry and cherry fruit with a slight menthol tone leading into a dry finish. As with all Cesanese wines, I can't imagine enjoying this without food: give it a shot with margherita pizza, red sauce pastas, charcuterie, semi-firm cheese, or of course with pasta carbonara for a truly classic pairing. Andy Paynter
Cesanese is perhaps the most “important” indigenous red grape of Lazio, capable of making fresh red wines with intense perfume and delicate structure. The reds from La Visciola are all varietal Cesanese from different plots showing distinct features of this underappreciated grape. The Vignale plot was planted in the 1960s on a soil of mixed sand and clay. It is vinified with native yeast in lined-cement, and rested in large barrels for around a year. The Vignale shows a more definitely spicy nose with black pepper, allspice, and fruit tones of cherry and orange zest with dried bay leaves. The palate has a fairly rich texture with fine-grained tannin and restrained acidity, showing poise but with a bit more heft than the Ju Quarto. The Vignale will pair easily and widely; try it with everything from pizza and simple veggie dishes to carbonara, pork chops, or roasted mushrooms. Andy Paynter
Cesanese is perhaps the most “important” indigenous red grape of Lazio, capable of making fresh red wines with intense perfume and delicate structure. The reds from La Visciola are all varietal Cesanese from different plots showing distinct features of this underappreciated grape. The Ju Quarto is sourced from a 60-year-old vineyard planted over a decomposed volcanic sand, rich in iron and showing a red hue. The wine is vinified with native yeast in lined-cement, and rested in large barrels for around a year. It is a more delicate expression of the grape with beautiful cherry fruit and red floral tones on the nose. The palate is light, almost airy, with bright acidity and very little tannin. Subtle rather than effusive it shows cherries, bay, and mint with a long, elegant finish. I would pair it with less assertive food to better enjoy the delicacy of the wine; think leaner charcuterie, pasta, simply-prepared fish, poached chicken, or with Caprese salad. Andy Paynter
Cesanese is perhaps the most “important” indigenous red grape of Lazio, capable of making fresh red wines with intense perfume and delicate structure. The reds from La Visciola are all varietal Cesanese from different plots showing distinct features of this underappreciated grape. The Mozzatta is the most assertive cuvée from the estate, made from 60-year-old vines planted on a “grey, clay soil,” that is a clay with some degree of incorporated limestone. Like the other reds it is vinified with native yeast in lined-cement (though with the addition of 20% whole cluster rather than being entirely destemmed) and then rested in large barrels for around a year. The result is a much more assertive style of Cesanese with more earthy flavors. The nose is brooding, showing pine needle and forest floor over ripe red fruit and black pepper spice. The body is quite full with grippy tannins and plenty of acidity though it shows deeper flavors rather than extra weight on the palate. The finish is dry and quite mineral. Try it with grilled sausage, chops, rich vegetable dishes, carbonara or other full-flavored pastas. Andy Paynter
The ultimate summer red wine! Lezer was first made in 2017, when hail led to damaged grape bunches. Not wanted to extract too much from the broken skins, Foradori went for a very short maceration of just a few days, and released the wine as a light and fun alternative to their more serious red wine offerings. It was a hit, and (somewhat reluctantly) they agreed to make it again this year-to our great satisfaction. Emilio, Elisabetta Foradori's son described 2018 as a "tropical vintage", and there is quite lush fruit here, but it is fresh and vibrant, with great acidity and very soft tannins. Notes of bright red cherry, raspberry, cranberry, pomegranate and a hint of citrus zest, along with slight herbal and mineral tones. Serve with a bit of a chill, and pair with a rooftop barbecue. Oskar Kostecki
An even bigger bottle! Grandissimo!
The Chianti Classico Riserva is a more serious reflection of the same principles underlying Retromarcia. It is produced from a plot of 40-year-old Sangiovese vines that contain around 5% Canaiolo Nero and naturally yield about half as much fruit as the young vines used for Retromarcia. The wine is fermented for 3-4 weeks on skins in steel and then aged for 2 years in old wooden botti and unlined cement tanks. It is rich on the nose with dark cherry fruit, spicy notes of cedar and allspice, and hints of rosemary and resinous herbs. Elegant rather than heavy on the palate with ripe tannins and restrained acidity, persistent and cherry fruit lead into an earthy finish. Lovely and open now, this is will improve for years to come in the cellar. Andy Paynter
Sa’etta is a cuvée dedicated to the best terroir of the Monte Bernardi estate: the oldest vines planted 45 years ago in the distinct compact sandstone of the area known as Pietraforte. The wine is made from the best bunches of Sangiovese which are fermented on skins for 4 weeks and aged in used Slavonian and Austrian Botti for at least 2 years. The nose is intense and forward with a deep earthy tone layered with notes of tobacco, thyme, and rosemary followed by black cherry fruit. Full with grippy tannins and plenty of acidity, the palate is quite structured without being heavy or over-extracted leading into a intensely mineral finish. An assertive wine that is all the better without the presence of new oak or other “prestigious” flourishes. Perfect for the cellar, I would recommend decanting if drinking now and pairing with any full-flavored foods. For me it will always be the perfect match for a roasted leg of lamb. Andy Paynter
A blend of 60% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, 10% Montepulciano and 15% Merlot.
Another full-bodied rosato that is at once complex and engaging, and ridiculously easy to drink. Valentina Passalacqua farms her grapes biodynamically in northern Puglia, and uses 100% Montepulciano for the rosato. Without any additions of sulfur during winemaking or at bottling, this is incredibly pure and fruit driven, while still being fresh, mineral, and slightly salty. A medley of wild red berries, cherry, and red plum couples with wet rock minerality and great acidity. At only 10.5% abv, this wine is a summer thirst-quencher, great for pizza or an outdoor barbecue, or just chilling on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Oskar Kostecki
A blend of Müller-Thurgau, Pinot Bianco, Sylvaner and Chardonnay, grown biodynamically on steep hillside vineyards above the town of Bolzano, 2017 is a sensational vintage of Tonsur, both compelling and a joy to drink. An aromatic and floral nose gives way to an energetic palate, showing notes of stone fruit and citrus, citrus peel, and white flowers. The wine has vibrant, zippy acidity, and a great mineral character of crushed stones, balanced by great texture from a bit of skin contact. A great food wine, but equally delicious on its own. Oskar Kostecki