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We're very proud to present new arrivals from Pierre and Chantal Frick in Alsace. Pioneers of organic and Biodynamic agriculture and among the first producers of natural, zero-sulfur wines, the Fricks continue to experiment, creating new and wonderful skin-contact and orange wines, many of which are offered today.
Laurent Barth makes absolutely delicious wines on his 4 hectare organic estate in Bennwihr, just north of Colmar. The wines have a silky texture and remarkable complexity of fruit, floral, spice and earth flavors that are vibrant and pure and unburdened by excessive use of SO2. These are my favorite Alsatian wines for sheer pleasure and value. A new shipment has just arrived in NY - we're starting with Laurent's four "introductory" wines, that offer fantastic everyday enjoyment, plus the superb 2018 Riesling Rebgarten Vieilles Vignes!
Pierre and Chantal Frick
The Fricks work with each vintage according to what nature brings them, so there is great variation from year to year - a challenging diversity of cuvées, most of which are bottled without sulfites. Working organically since 1970, and certified Biodynamic since 1981, they have living soils that contribute to the health of the vines and the complexity of the wines.
"The application of this more comprehensive approach to the life of the soil and vine advocated by bio-dynamie has changed our vineyard. The growing cycle of the vine is in better harmony. It is less sensitive to grey rot and insect pests. The better balance of the plant is conducive to good grape ripening and obtaining a better quality of juice (density, balance, minerality, vitality). From this the wines have revealed more depth and greater expression of terroir."
Fermentations are with wild yeasts - "The soil and sub-soil and additionally the bloom and yeasts on the grapes constitute the terroir. For us, biodynamic viticulture and the expression of terroir require wild yeast fermentations."
Aging is in old 3,000 liter casks, which the Fricks prefer to stainless steel or barrique. "These casks allow breathing (airflow) and transpiration (evacuation of higher alcohols and esters) of wines, without changing their taste by the contributions of new oak."
These are beautiful expressions of the terroirs of Pfaffenheim through a creative and responsible viticulture. This is truly artisanal work, creating wines of great character with little regard to the commercial aspects of winemaking - we urge all lovers of pure juice to try a mixed case of these unique and delicious wines! (Bottle-cap closure)
"Over the years since I first started traveling to France to taste wines in 2011, I have tasted with Pierre countless times, and always end up laughing a LOT (he's a very animated and funny man), and learning new wine descriptors like "claquant," "sportif," and "digeste" - along with the body motions that accompany them (a ninja slice or loud clap for claquant, a literal leap into the air for sportif, for example). He is a passionate man, and dedicated to his ideologies - I still remember when he proudly and comically showed us the newspaper article that reported how he snuck into a neighbor's vineyards at night, burned their genetically modified vines, and turned himself into the police the next morning. He's also the first person who confirmed for me that wines have "energy," and can truly make our bodies feel good, and lift our spirits. Once, Pierre approached me with a glass of zero sulfur Champagne from Marie Courtin and said with a beaming smile: "It makes me feel 30 years younger!" - EL
Experience the energy of these vibrant natural wines - quantities are extremely limited, so don't delay! Warning - bottle cap closures, have extra corks handy as these wines develop nicely with a few days open, re-corked in the fridge...
Laurent took over the family estate in the late 90s and soon converted the vineyards to organic and biodynamic farming. He practises regenerative agriculture, doing a shallow plowing once a year and maintaining a green cover to protect the life of the soil and biodiversity in the vineyard. Laurent’s vineyards are made up of 27 scattered plots and add up to 4.5 hectares. They include parcelles of Riesling and Muscat on the Schlossberg Grand Cru and parcelles of Gewurztraminer, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir on the Marckrain Grand Cru. All his dry wines are fermented and aged without any SO2 added. He typically adds 1g (sometimes none, and at most, 2) at the bottling and does not filter - this is an important factor in the beautiful purity of fruit and lovely texture in Laurent's wines.
Wines are in stock, pickup/shipping available April 27, 10% case/mixed case discounts apply
100% Sylvaner, Pur Vin Nature with no added SO2, from the lieu-dit "Bergweingarten" on brown calcerous soils, mid-slope, aged on the lees for seven months in old foudre. This is a vibrant dry Sylvaner, drinking more like a dry Riesling.
This new cuvée from Laurent Barth is a delicious blend of Pinot Gris, Pinot Auxerrois and Pinot Noir, fermented and aged in 600L and 1500L foudres, minimal S02 is added before bottling. An ebullient nose opens with aromas of ripe pears, green herbs and wet stones. The palate explodes with notes of poached pear, yellow cherries, candied orange peel and ginger chews. A hint of residual sugar is well balanced with vibrant acidity underscoring a long juicy finish. Spring in a glass! Giselle Hamburg
100% Pinot Auxerrois from Pierre and Chantal Frick, zero added SO2. Slightly cloudy pale gold color; aromas of ripe pear, apple, dried herbs, almond, a bit volatile but quite pretty. The palate shows firm acidity with dense pear, apple, stone, almond and herbal flavors, finishing with mineral, citrus and pear. This gets better with aeration showing more density and complexity of fruit with a beautiful texture and great minerality. Really a delicious natural wine with zero SO2, serve with choucrote garni of course, potato leek soup, omelette fines herbes, charcuterie, etc...
The Pierre Frick 2020 Muscat Sec is Pur Vin Nature, zero added sulfur, 11.8% alcohol, zero RS. Electric, chiseled, and oh so dry. In many ways, true to all the varietal characteristics, but with a sharp and very refreshing side. No density or ripeness here, just pure lip-smacking acidity and mineral backbone.
Though it seems like a relatively new category, it turns out winemakers in Alsace have been making skin contact wines for some time. The first may have been Bannwarth, who experimented with qvevri (georgian clay anforae). Then, along with the Fricks, JP Rietsch, Patrick Meyer, and Bruno Scheuller. This is Pinot Gris with 10 days of skin contact and no sulfites added. A lovely reddish-pink hue in the glass, with notes of dried fruits and subtle tannins.
This lovely skin contact of Riesling hails from the Carriere vineyard.The wine matured on its fine lees for 9 months in old foudre before bottling. Zero added SO2. Notes here are of chamomile tea, and stone fruit. A very delicate style, not as bombastic or eye-catching as the Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer maceration wines, as it throws less color and tannins than Pinot Gris, and doesn't give the bouquets of flowers and perfume like Gewurztraminer. Indeed, it is understated, but it still stands as one of the most balanced and enjoyable Riesling Skin contact wines we've ever tried.
The 2020 Frick Gewurstraminer Macération is from two parcels: Terroir Krottenfues, soil marno-gréseux, high on a slope above grand Cru Vorbourg, and from a limestone terroir below Grand Cru Steinert, facing due east. Grapes see ten-days of whole-cluster maceration before pressing, and the wine is matured on its lees for six months in hundred year-old foudres. The wine shows a bright and luminous orange tinted color and complex aromas or rose, cinnamon, cardamon, white pepper and orange zest. It's dry, ample and rich with discreet tannins and flavors of white fruits, citrus, rosewater, ginger, pepper, with a long spicy finish. Serve this dry Gewurztraminer as an aperitif or with Asian and spicy dishes of fish, vegetables or white meats. (13.1% alc, 4.0 gr/l total acidity, 0.3 g/l RS Dry)
Grand Cru Steinert is the steepest vineyard in Pfaffenheim with bedrock of limestone covered with thin stony soil and rocks with fossilized shells, very dry and porous, famous for wines with intense mineral flavors. The 2014 Muscat is extremely dry (0.5 g/l RS) with 12.6% alcohol, a beautifully balanced wine. The aromas of citrus and white flowers typical of Muscat are joined by almond, stone and earth. The palate is quite earthy with subtle flavors of citrus, peach and almond, with a bit of the musky flavor found in natural wines. The finish is all minerals and citrus expressing the limestone terroir. A Vin Nature to contemplate with a full-flavored raw milk cheese, or perhaps sauteed monkfish with ginger and garlic. Best to decant or open a day or two in advance...
Grand Cru Steinert is the steepest vineyard in Pfaffenheim with bedrock of limestone covered with thin stony soil, very dry and porous. The wine shows a bright gold color with aromas of limestone, honeysuckle and verveine with a touch of iodine - the palate is ripe and energetic with saline flavors framing citrus confit, white fruits, with a long mineral finish. Every so slightly off-dry, in a welcome, food-friendly way. Less than 15mg/l of SO2, 14.3% alcohol, 7.5 gr/l RS
The Frick 2020 Pinot Noir "Strangenberg" is from grapes grown at the summit of a dry hill, with brown calcerous soils over hard limestone bedrock. The grapes undergo a fifteen day whole-cluster fermentation and are then pressed, with no addition of sulfur, followed by six months aging in 100 year old foudre. Bright, deep garnet color, lush aromas of ripe raspberry liqueur and elderberry with violet, brown spice and toasted almond. The palate if full with ripe firm tannns and saline flavors underlying vibrant red currant, cassis and sour cherry. A beautiful Pinot Noir - pure juice, zero additives! Serve with duck breast, roast lamb with garlic, beef carpaccio, smoked meats, eggplant tian with goat cheese.
Laurent Barth's 2018 "Racines Metisses" is a delightful blend of many grape varieties from his tiny organic estate in Bennwihr. Always around 50% Pinot Auxerrois (fermented separately), with Muscat, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, and a touch of Riesling. The idea here is to make a wine that is easy to drink, says Laurent, and he nails it! The wine shows bright citrus, lime-flower, white fruits and Riesling aromas - there's a subtle touch of spice on the palate, with silky white fruits, citrus and floral notes, with a crystalline minerality in the finish, thanks to the granite soils. Delicious! Eben Lillie
Laurent Barth makes beautifully balanced Alsatian wines from his tiny organic estate in Bennwhir, near Colmar. The 2020 Pinot d'Alsace (Pinot Auxerrois with a bit of Pinot Noir) is a lovely aperitif and a perfect wine for many fish and chicken dishes. Showing pretty aromas of pear, green apple, almond and lime-flower with citrus, pear, almond, honeysuckle and herbal flavors on the palate - really pretty, round and balanced with minerals and white fruits in the supple finish - this is a great value and a good introduction to the beautiful wines of Laurent Barth.
From sandy clay soils on granite in Bennwihr, this wine is a blend of fruit from several different parcels, including a small amount from the granite Schlossberg vineyard. The residual sugar here is usually hovering around 2-3g, making this a pretty classic dry Riesling from the region.
From old vines in a south facing vineyard of sandy granite soils in Bennwihr, Laurent Barth produced this superb dry Riesling that shows a bright pale gold color, with ripe floral aromas of pear, almond, citrus and spice. The palate however, while rich, shows a dense, ripe character, but without sweetness, very mineral and with firm acidity. Green apple, citrus peel, almond and stone flavors linger in the long, nicely balanced finish. This is a lovely Riesling to pair with a wide variety of fish and white meat dishes, highly recommended! (Open well in advance if possible, or cellar 3 to 5 years then enjoy till 2030.)