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Even though it's mid-August, great wines keep arriving (in reefer containers!)
This weeks special mention goes to our great friend Eric Laguerre who makes vibrant Roussillon wines from his very high altitude, granite-based vineyards. We're happy to have these exceptional wines and great values back in the store. All Eric's wines are back in stock, including the fascinating "Oxi" - Grenache Blanc from the 2014 vintage that spent 5 years sous-voile - for lovers of Vin Jaune. His scintillating EOS Blanc, made from Maccabeo and Grenache Blanc, is one of the greatest values in the store...
Pablo Hocht at Domaine de Crève Coeur is making beautiful wines at his 5 hectare estate in Sablet and Séguret. "I created the Domaine in 2010 to live my passion: that of wine, of nature and of respect for terroir. The vines cultivated in organic and Biodynamic agriculture produce authentic and original wines." We couldn't agree more as the wines are deep, complex and elegant - wonderful examples of Grenache-based Rhone wines at their best. The 2019 Sablet and Séguret are both blends of Grenache and Mourvedre, which undergo a four-week whole-cluster vinification with wild yeasts followed by 12 months in used barrels. The lovely 2020 Côtes du Rhône is all Grenache, made in a more forward, supple style and the 2020 Rosé du Coucou is a subtle and delicious direct-press of Grenache and Cinsault. All of these wines will drink wonderfully with grilled foods this summer as well as with steaks, chops and stews in colder weather.
There are also a handful of new and returning Burgundies, including the summer essential Chablis Boissoneuse from Julien Brocard and two powerhouse village wines from Domaine Hubert Lignier, who remains one of the truly legendary names of Morey-Saint-Denis. There is a really pleasant new discovery in Beaujolais, Domaine Chassaley. The village-level bottling "Beaujolais Is Not Dead," is a textbook example and the certified-organic farming is obviously top-quality, as the purity of fruit is just lovely.
A welcome discovery and great new addition to the shelves here at CSW, the Chasselay "Beaujolais Is Not Dead" is utterly classic and joyous Beaujolais villages. The Chasselay family has thirteen hectares spread across eight appellations and have been certified organic since 2006. BIND comes from a single parcel of forty-five year old vines planted in clay and limestone, fermented carbonically and aged entirely in concrete, with no sulfur added until bottling. It is full of lovely concentrated red fruit, strawberry and raspberry, with beautiful spice and floral notes and no shortage of freshness. On the Chasselay website, they describe the wine as digeste, which is a word I have always loved - it implies a lack of heaviness, that the wine will not take up space as one keeps drinking. So buy two of these (or three or four), as you definitely want another. Sam Ehrlich
Eric Laguerre's EOS Blanc is wonderful again in 2020! From high-altitude vineyards in the Roussillon, on granite soils, approximately 65% Grenache Blanc and 35% Macabeu, harvested by hand into small baskets, with low yields, certified organic by Ecocert. Subtle, floral, pear, stone, citrus and herbal aromas with an elegant, round and balanced palate of citrus, white fruits, hay and stone with crisp acidity. Really an elegant, refreshing and unique wine that is a great aperitif and will accompany a full-flavoerd fish dish, chicken and white meats. This is a beatifully made, real wine of terroir at an unbeatable price! David Lillie
Eric Laguerre's "Le Ciste," (named after a flowering bush in and around his vineyards) is certainly one of the most distinctive whites of the Roussillon. Grown in Eric's high-elevation terroir on acidic soils of decomposed granite, the wine is made from Marsanne, Roussanne, Rolle (Vermentino), Grenache Blanc and Maccabeu. Yields are about 20 Hl/Ha, harvesting is by hand in small baskets, fermentation (wild yeasts) and aging is in small barrels. Complex aromas of lemon oil, thyme, hay and white fruits—a lovely melange with contributions from each variety and especially showing the Marsanne and Roussanne. The palate is dense, stony and saline with herbal, citrus, almond and white fruit flavors. The finish is long with mineral acids and white fruits that linger on the palate. Complex and distinctive as a young wine, this will accompany grilled fish as well as fish and chicken in sauce and goat cheeses, and should develop nicely with a few years of cellaring. Really a Grand Cru of the Roussillon and a great value! David Lillie
Eric has once again made a small quantity of "Oxy" - his extraordinary Grenache Blanc that spends five years sous-voile. The current vintage is 2014 - for any lover of Vin Jaune, or anyone making chicken with vin jaune and morels, this is a must buy! The wine shows lovely herbal, stone, citrus peel and strong oxidative aromas. The oxidation is less apparent on the palate which is extremely elegant and of course shows an intense minerality, with flavors of lemon zest, stone and dried pear, finishing with terrific length. Only 36 bottles are available - don't delay!
Eric Laguerre's "Le Passage" is from his highest parcel, at about 2,000 feet, on soils of decomposed granite. Organic farming, natural vinification, aged in used barrels. 80% Carignan with Syrah and Grenache. The 2019 is a lovely dark red/black color with deep aromas of blackberry, earth, dark chocolate brightened with violet and pepper. Dense, velvety black fruits on the palate - blackberry, prune and cocoa lifted by bright citrusy acids and finishing with a mineral kick. This is a beautiful expression of Eric's mountainside vineyards and a sensational value - showing the quality of his low-yielding Carignan. Drink now, served cool, with grilled meats, stews, and full-flavored cheeses, or hold a few years for a mature experience. David Lillie
Eric Laguerre's "Eos Rouge" is an elegant blend of 80% Grenache from 40-year-old gobelet-trained vines, with some Carignan and Syrah from soils of decomposed granite, gneiss, and some veins of quartz. Like "Le Passage," the grapes are fermented in fiber tanks with native yeasts for about two weeks, then aged in concrete. The beautiful 2020 shows bright aromas of cherry, strawberry and black raspberry with hints of blueberry and musk from the Syrah, quite pretty and pure. The palate shows a potpourri of ripe red and black fruits, with earth, cocoa and spice in a refreshing frame of cool acidity and mineral flavors. The high altitude and the primarily granite soils give Eric's wines a bright and vibrant character that makes them great pairings with a wide variety of foods - we loved it with a grilled burger from grass-fed beef, but grilled pork and chicken would be great as well. This is one of the best values in the store - thanks to Eric and Corinne Laguerre for their great organic farming and delicious, affordable wines! David Lillie
Eric Laguerre's parcels for this cuvée are planted on plateaus fringed with flowering "ciste" bushes and wind swept trees. The Pyrénées loom in the distance and the afternoon sun reflecting off the decomposed granite gives his vineyards a sort of shimmering quality. Eric's bottling of "Le Ciste" is a faithful interpretation of each of these elements plus Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre - some de-stemmed and some fermented on whole-clusters, separately, then aged for a year in barrel before being blended together in fiber tank. The 2017 has all of the bold flavor and texture of grapes that were allowed to fully ripen without any worry about lost acidity. At his altitude and with the help of granitic soils, Eric has little reason to pick early; his wines are vibrant and always have a marvelous backbone of mineral acidity. This is his fullest wine, with rich tannins and brooding flavors of fresh thyme, black pepper, bitter chocolate, and blood orange buoyed by ripe cherry. And while this is a handy and humble "grab n' go" for barbecues, Moroccan-themed dinners, etc., this wine has all of the potential to make us giddy and glad that we saved a few for 2030.
This blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Mouvedre comes from old vines in “Le Planis,” planted just after the Second World War in the Southern Rhone. Creve Coeur’s Pablo Hocht created the Domaine in 2010, with a commitment to organic and Biodynamic farming. His recent vintages have been rich and ripe: just what one wants in Southern Rhone red. The wine undergoes a four-week whole-cluster vinification with wild yeasts followed by 12 months in used barrels. An inky delight in the glass, the aromatics are hedonistic and bold, full of black fruit, olive and smoke. The palate opens up to a generous gift of cassis, dried fruit, mint, and black pepper. The tannins provide a good energy to the minerals at play, and it gives a peak into what this wine will look like in a few years’ time. Enjoy with grilled meat, tagines, reblochon or other soft cheeses.
Pablo Hocht of Domaine de Creve Coeur has 3 hectares of 60+ year-old vines in Seguret on sandy limestone marl soils, 60% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah. As with his lovely Sablet, the Seguret is certified biodynamic, fermented slowly with wild yeasts with the stems included. Aging is partly in one to five year-old barriques, partly in vat. In other words, great farming and old-fashioned winemaking, similar to that of the Gonons in Saint-Joseph. The 2019 Seguret shows a deep red/black color and aromas of ripe blackberry, black cherry and plum, with earth, garrigue and cocoa - dark and rich but with a vibrant freshness. The palate is dense and round with a supple, grainy texture, a bit softer than the Sablet this year, with ripe blackberry and black plum liqueur, quite floral and showing the high percentage of Mourvedre, with hints of chocolate, citrus and provencal herbs. The bright acidity balances the wine and makes it food-friendly. The finish is long with cool acidity and earthy black fruits. Serve this beautiful Seguret a bit cool after a decant of a few hours or cellar five to ten years. Great with stews and tagines, grilled meats and game. David Lillie
This beautiful Cotes du Rhone from Pablo Hocht at Creve Coeur is made from 60 to 70 year-old vines of Grenache, with an interesting mix of semi-carbonic and traditional fermentations with whole-cluster and de-stemmed grapes. The 2020 shows lovely aromas of ripe black cherry and red currant lifted by floral, citrus and spice notes. The palate is soft and supple with ripe cherry and spicy strawberry fruit, quite delicious, and finishing with refreshing, velvety fruit. This is a real crowd-pleaser and a great value! David Lillie
The young Pablo Hocht makes beautiful wines at his Biodynamic estate in Seguret (southern Rhone) - his "Rosé du Coucou" is a refreshing direct-press rosé made with old vines of 60% Grenache and 40% Cinsault. The 2020 shows a very pale pink skin color with floral aromas of raspberry, peach, citrus and stone. The palate is very light, silky and elegant with subtle raspberry fruit with hints of melon, orange rind, spice and earth, finishing with nice length of mineral flavors and refreshing acidity. This is a very lovely wine at a great price! David Lillie
La Boissonneuse vineyard makes up the bulk of Julien Brocard's holdings, at 11 of his 18 total hectares. This cuvée is sourced from 30-year-old biodynamically farmed vines, fermented with native yeasts, and aged in large foudre. This is bright and snappy right from opening, with crisp lemon, green pear and sea spray aromatics. On the palate, the wine is juicy and fresh, with lovely racy texture. Beautifully mineral and precise, I like this very much and am looking forward to drinking it regularly this summer and probably saving a couple for mid-term aging. Sam Ehrlich
From three outstanding parcels of village-level Morey Saint Denis, including Clos Solon and Chenevery, with vines between 50 and 85 years old. This wine is often easily the equal of many producers 1er Crus.
From vines between forty and seventy years old, this should be a fairly exuberant expression of Gevrey.
This is a cheerful red from Fabrice Dodane, the winemaker at the helm of Domaine de Saint Pierre in the Jura. The Dos D'Chat wines are from organic fruit Fabrice purchases from friends in the region. This bottling is 65% Gamay, 20% Pinot Noir, and 15% Poulsard. A touch reductive on the nose, lithe and fresh on the palate. Nice acid and freshness. Drink with a light chill. -EL
Positioned for years as the quintessential white from Oregon, Pinot Gris has had a rough go of it in recent years as Chardonnay and Riesling have both surged in the Willamette. This 2018 bottling from Cooper Hill is a great argument for its continued cultivation. From vines planted in 1999, this is bright and snappy, full of pear and melon fruit with lime accents. There are traces of fresh green herbs and no shortage of acidity driving a clean fresh finish. Great value. Sam Ehrlich
The Jurtschich family is one of the leaders of the natural wine movement in Austria and all of their vineyards are certified organic, fermented spontaneously, and made without additives. This bottling is a blend of Pinot Noir, Zweigelt, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are fermented whole and then stored on the lees for a few months in neutral oak. This is is a plush, textural rosé that is a real stand out, and though ideal for the end of Summer, is one of our favorite Rosé wines for the Fall and Winter months. The wine just arrived from Austria in early August, so it needs a bit of time to open up. No need to decant, but open about 30 minutes before serving if you're consuming it in the near future. -EL
54% Muscat Ottonel, 29% Sauvignon blanc, 8% Chardonnay, 4% Gelber Muskateller, 5% Traminer
Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay spend 2 weeks in open vat on the skins, Tramier spends about 3 weeks on skins in amphora. The Muscat and Gelber Muskateller see less skin contact. After aging in amphora and old barrels, the four wines are blended before bottling. The nose is exploding with floral aromas. In the glass, it's a hazy, opaque grey/orange hue. A fascinating wine with a small cult following! -EL
From the red gravel and loess Eisenhut parcel, this is a fantastic Roter Veltliner, with nice weight and potential for aging. The wine was aged in large stoneware casks that Soellner purchased from auction shortly after World War I. Roter, when basic and at an entry-level, can often have bright acidity, but lack material to balance it out. This Roter, however, is far from basic, and shows the depth and complexity that can be attained from this lesser known Veltliner. -EL
A really impressive Gruner, especially for the price. Nice texture, medium weight, with chalky / limestone finish. Would be great with grilled veggies, on its own, or paired with poultry.
Beach buddy, subway sipper... this little can of refreshing Txakoli has many nicknames already and it's only been on the shelf for a week! The can is one third of a bottle of wine, and delivers crisp, zippy Txakoli from the Basque country in Spain, in a perfectly sized vessel. -EL