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Swick wines are officially back in stock! I am new to Joe Swick's wines, but I can already see why they have such a big following. These wines are fresh, unique, and fun to drink. I had the pleasure of meeting Joe on his recent visit to New York and was taken both with his commitment to organic and dry farming, and also to his very dry sense of humor. Joe began working harvests in 2003 in his native Oregon before traveling the globe for almost a decade to further his education in winemaking. In 2013 he returned home to Oregon and got to work on his eponymous winery "Swick Wines". Joe has been experimenting with maceration times and co-fermentations, honing in on his current style of richly textured, quaffable wines that showcase the best of the North-West. All of his grapes are sourced from organic and/or biodynamic vineyards from both the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the Columbia Valley in Washington, most notably from the entirely biodynamic Naches Heights AVA.
I'm a big fan of his line of "chillable reds" this year, including the apt "Shill-ah-blay," named for the pronunciation a costumer once used seeking out this style of low-tannin, lighter-bodied red wine. We'll be getting the "Shill-ah-Blay" and "For Your Za," a Sangiovese destined to be the perfect pizza pairing, a bit later this season. In the meantime we have both "The Natch," sourced entirely from the Naches Heights; a refreshing, unfiltered blend of Graciano, Pinot Gris, and skin-contact Gewurztraminer, and the "Ellaguru," a super savory combination of Melon de Bourgogne from Oregon and Counoise from Washington.
Fans of skin-contact, "orange" wines should check out his 30-day macerations of Marsanne and Gewurztraminer. According to Joe, he has discovered the sweet spot for soaking white grape skins at around 30 days. He explained that after two weeks the tannins tend to get a bit aggressive and overly astringent, but after another two weeks the texture softens and adds body. This helps balance their prominent acidity, because he prefers to pick these grapes early to maintain their freshness.
Most of these wines had a very small production this year, so I'm thrilled that we're able to share some with you at Chambers Street! Michelle DeWyngaert
This wine is a unique blend of 50% Melon de Bourgogne and 50% Counoise. The Melon is sourced from Oregon and the Counoise from Washington, but the two are harvested on the same day and co-fermented whole-cluster. The grapes are foot-stomped and left to macerate for 30 days which allows the tannins to soften a bit and create a plush texture. Joe Swick calls this his "salt-n-pepper" wine, which is a perfect description. You get a touch of saltiness from the leesy Melon, and a black pepper finish from the Counoise to make this wine an excellent food pairing. Savory and refreshing, this wine should be served slightly chilled and enjoyed within the next year. Michelle DeWyngaert
A really interesting blend from Joe Swick, sourced entirely from the Naches Heights AVA in Columbia Valley, Washington, the smallest WA AVA and also the first to require their vineyards to be fully sustainable and practicing either biodynamics or LIVE certified. The Natch is 44%Graciano, 12% Gewurztraminer macerated for 30 days, and 44% direct-pressed Pinot Gris. This wine is super gulpable, full of juicy red cherry, and more candied on the nose than on the palate. Michelle DeWyngaert
The 'It Happened' is 100% Gewurztraminer that spent 30 days on the skins, sourced from the Eola-Amity Hills near Cristom. The wine has gone through full malolactic fermentation, which, coupled with the skin maceration, gives it a textured, creamy mouthfeel. This is a delicious orange creamsicle of a wine, fermented to dryness but displaying notes of sweet orange and yellow flowers. Michelle DeWyngaert
Probably the freshest expression of Marsanne I've ever tasted. I really enjoy Joe Swick's approach to this typically soft, sometimes oily grape. By picking the Marsanne early it maintains a ton of lemony acidity on the palate, but by extending the maceration on the skins for 30 days it developed a rich, supple texture and a touch of nuttiness. On the nose it's a lovely mix of white flowers, apricot, and fresh linen. Fermented with indigenous yeasts in neutral 500L barrels, and then racked once before bottling with a bit of SO2. Michelle DeWyngaert