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One of the great frustrations for anyone with a Burgundy predilection is scarcity, and I'm not just talking about the top wines from Christophe Roumier or Dujac. After all, those are already 0.1 percent of 1 percent. As new markets for the region's wines have opened up, even good Bourgogne and Village wines are harder to find in any reliable supply. They come in, they get sold, and as quickly as consumers become attached to them, they are gone. Burgundy is tiny - about 75,000 hectares (165,000 acres). Compare this to Bordeaux's whopping 300,000 hectares. The supply of good Bordeaux at all classification levels is seemingly limitless by comparison. Certainly the wines are coveted, but still relatively easy to find, even at the very top.
As a result, we are always on the lookout for new wines - bottles from new producers, back-vintage wines that have been overlooked in an importer's portfolio, or entry-level wines from top producers that don't move as quickly as their Grand Crus. This way, we can be assured of always having both everyday wines and those for special occasions. Recently, we have come across some really fun stuff at a wide variety of price points. Some are things that we thought we had already seen the last of and others are brand-new to the shelves but all of them are delicious and worth a look.
For those people looking for value, the René Bouvier Bourgogne Rouge "Cuveé Chapitre Suivant" and the Maranges "Sur Le Chene" from the Chevrot brothers are absolute sure things. The Bouvier is sourced from 40-year old vines in Marsannay, Gevrey and Fixin; the Chevrot from a single parcel of vines up to 60 years old. Both are dynamite examples of the 2017 vintage, full of life and energy and excellent for the price. We also lucked into a little bit more of the '17 Beaune from Domaine des Croix. David Croix is one of the more brilliant vignerons of his generation in Burgundy and the wines have gotten consistently better every year since the estate's inception in '05. (Full disclosure - I worked for David at the domaine for a year. Doesn't mean the wines aren't awesome.)
If bang-zoom white Burgundy is more your bag, then we have Pierre Morey and Hubert Lamy in the Cote de Beaune and Moreau-Naudet and Julien Brocard in Chablis. Morey and Moreau made wonderful 2018s that came and went in August, so you can imagine how pleased we were to get a few more bottles. The Brocard Grand Cru is new to the shelves but will definitely be a staple in years to come, with its truly awe-inspiring Chablis intensity. The Lamy wines are consistently among the best in Burgundy these days and the '16 Chassagne-Montrachet "Concis du Champs" is the kind of sneaky village wine that sadly gets left behind in the scramble for his Saint-Aubin bottlings.
The wines here today represent the kind of Burgundy we want to drink - producers committed to great farming, careful (even cautious) use of new oak and an overall sense of restraint in the cellar. The results are clear - wines that communicate the nuance of what remains the most intricate of wine regions. Sam Ehrlich
From forty-year old vines split between Marsannay, Gevrey, Fixin and Brochon, this is a very pretty Bourgogne. Fermented with upwards of 30% whole cluster and aged in a combination of tank and older barrels, it's a hyper-savory expression of Pinot, with notes of sour cherry, strawberry and a floral note that goes from red to almost purple, like violet. The acidity is firm and drives the wine home to a dusty chalky finish. This is nice autumn wine and will be wonderful in a few weeks when Thanksgiving rolls around. Sam Ehrlich
The Brocard wines have been staples on the shelves here since they first arrived in New York a few years ago. They are the real thing, true Chablis. Certified biodynamic and aged in a combination of steel and wood, they have the mineral intensity that sets Chablis apart from its neighbors and all other white wines . We tasted this particular bottle a couple of weeks ago and while I failed to write a tasting note, I can say unequivocally that it was a showstopper. We were floored. It's as good a 2018 as I have tasted and fantastically ageworthy. Sam Ehrlich
The Chevrot brothers, Pablo and Vincent, make beautiful wines. The farming is excellent and the wines feel pure. The '17 "Sur le Chene," is no different. Right from jump, it is bursting with cherry and raspberry fruit and a blast of allspice and anise from a healthy percentage of whole clusters in the fermentation. As the wine opens up in the glass, it takes on weight and complexity but the energy and freshness of the vintage remains front and center. This is an great value and should not be missed. Sam Ehrlich
When I speak with Burgundy growers about their peers and whose work they admire and find inspiration in, the name Olivier Lamy comes up almost without exception. A relentless innovator and workaholic, Olivier makes remarkable wines. He has pioneered a number of viticultural techniques in Burgundy over the last twenty years, including experimenting with high-density planting (up 40,000 vines per hectare) and the adopting of a pruning model traditionally used in the Loire Valley (designed to reduce the amount of scar tissue on the vine and better protect it from wood diseases). While best known for Saint Aubin, he makes lovely Chassagne-Montrachet and Santenay as well. Concis du Champs is a parcel at the bottom end of the slope, with more clay, from 15-year old vines and aged in 600-liter barrels, virtually none of them new. From the very small but brilliant 2016 vintage.
This is sourced from vines between twenty and sixty years old and aged all in stainless steel. This is Chablis at its most inviting. It's full of juicy white fruit, peach and pear and feels generally supple and accessible from the moment the cork is pulled. But what is most captivating and engaging is the mineral component here. Chablis is defined by its limestone soils and at its best its character comes through as something I have always identified as "Welch's grape soda." Some people compare it to fennel or licorice, others to something else - it's somewhat nebulous, as tasting stones is not something we do in life. But whatever it is, this wine has it. The finish is stained with this unique expression of limestone, which is what we should ask of it. Outstanding for the price. Sam Ehrlich
One of the truly great sites in Chablis, comparable in some vintages to the Grands Crus. Moreau-Naudet's vines age from twenty-five to sixty years. The 2018 is a wine of poise and precision, that starts with lemon oil and high-toned white fruit and opens up with air, showing more floral aromatics and sea spray. There is an overall sense of class and poise here that makes obvious the Premier Cru designation. It combines a delicacy of texture with density and a feeling that if you have the patience to stash a couple away, there will be plenty to unpack as you drink them through the years. If it's any assurance, a 2010 that I opened last year was everything that mature Chablis should be and reason enough for me to keep buying these wines. **Arrives Friday, 11/6**
One of the truly great sites in Chablis, comparable in some vintages to the Grands Crus. Moreau-Naudet's vines age from twenty-five to sixty years. The 2018 is a wine of poise and precision, that starts with lemon oil and high-toned white fruit and opens up with air, showing more floral aromatics and sea spray. There is an overall sense of class and poise here that makes obvious the Premier Cru designation. It combines a delicacy of texture with density and a feeling that if you have the patience to stash a couple away, there will be plenty to unpack as you drink them through the years. If it's any assurance, a 2010 that I opened last year was everything that mature Chablis should be and reason enough for me to keep buying these wines.
**Arrives Friday, 11/6**
From two parcels just outside the Meursault appellation borders, the wines here are on average fifty years old. Year after year, this always consistently lovely and age-worthy.
The 2018 Pierre Morey Bourgogne Blanc, sourced from three parcels in Meursault, is a show-stopper of a wine. Upon opening, it shows lemon, a touch of creme brulee crust in the nose and an overall sense of richness that one would expect in a solar vintage such as this one. However, this is all held firmly in check by plenty of acidity and a sense of salty minerality that comes to dominate the wine. It is spilling over with chalk and cool stoniness, adding tension and focus as it sits in the glass. Everything else kind of fades away, leaving only you and the earth. This is magnificent for the level and will satisfy Burgundy cravings tonight or in five years if you are inclined to put a few bottles in the cellar. Sam Ehrlich