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Minéral is a vintage-dated blend of Chardonnay from two particularly chalky lieux dits within the grand cru villages of Cramant and Avize, with the grapes from Bionnes (Cramant) vinified in demi-muid and Le Champ Bouton (Avize) vinified in tank and blended in equal parts. John McIlwain
From clay and limestone soils of grand cru parcels of Les Robarts and Les Gros Yeux, at the top of the hill in the village of Avize. 50+ year-old vines. The clay-dominant soils lend depth and breadth to the wine vs. the chalkier Minéral bottling.
Vincent Laval's wines are simply outstanding. Located in the warm village of Cumières in the southern Montagne de Reims, this Domaine is so tiny that, without a tip-off, you'd never know it existed. The Lavals have been farming organically since 1971, making their Domaine one of the longest standing organic Domaines in the region. Their "basic" (though, trust us, there's nothing basic about it) Cumières is generally 50/50 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir (with some Meunier in 2017). The grapes are harvested very ripe. enabling the wine to find balance without the addition of a dosage. We can't find the words to lavish sufficient praise upon this wine. The bubbles are perfectly fine and creamy, the aromas rich, earthy, and pretty, the palate broad yet chiseled, and the finish mouth-coating and minerally.
The vines of Chateau Beausejour live naturally in the Saint-Emilion satellite region of Puisseguin-Saint-Emilion. Unlike many neighbors, the vineyard has never been exposed to pesticides or herbicides, the wine is fermented with indigenous yeasts, and remains unfined and unfiltered with minimal sulfur. The 2015’s taut structure holds together a generous array of aromas and flavors. A youthful and pronounced set of scents, like sharp dark cocoa, mint, and black cherry come from the glass. Flavors are of espresso, blackberry, plum, and sweet kirsch. Still, there is something very, very refreshing about this red. A perfect addition to a feast among family. David Hatzopoulos
Biodynamic farming, native yeasts, wild fermentations, good value –all phrases not typically associated with Bordeaux. Yet, each year the Hubert family provides us with just that in their staple cuvee from the Côte de Blaye. The Cru Bourgeois is a blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a bit of Malbec. Generously aromatic owing to the rich clay soils in which it is grown, there's ripe red fruit, black currant, and spice, with supple tannins and an undercurrent of chalky minerality. This is a great addition to the dinner table alongside grilled meat or sipped on its own. Amanda Bowman
This year's Quintessence from the famille Hubert's estate in the Cotes de Bordeaux is composed of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from beautiful biodynamically farmed vines on clay limestone soils. The nose is dense and ripe on opening, showing ripe cassis, blackberry and raspberry, with hints of warming spice. With time open, the wine shows increasingly complex aromatic qualities, with more tobacco and earth coming through by hour 4 or 5. On the palate, the fruit is again ripe and dense, with cassis liqueur, ripe blackberry, and black cherry balanced by bristly tannins and limestone minerality on the long finish. After some time open, the palate leans more towards cacao and earth, but the ripe fruit remains dominant. A pleasure now with butter basted rib eye steak or roast beef, it will certainly improve over the next 10 to 15 years for drinking with lighter fare. Ben Fletcher