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Although shortages of wine and maddening shipping delays continue to impact our inventory, we're very happy to have some of our favorite estate-bottled Champagnes back in stock as well as a colorful assortment of orange wines to satisfy your thirst for the new and different.
We'll take you to Italy for refreshing Pet-Nats and a superb Verdicchio, to Greece for a zesty Assyrtiko and to southern France for great Côtes-du-Rhônes and Le Rouge Can.
Featured today are the beautiful Rhône wines from our Biodynamic friend Pablo Hocht at Domaine de Crève Coeur, 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 2020 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 2020 Rosé du Coucou is a subtle and delicious direct-press of Grenache and Cinsault, really a lovely wine. All of these wines will drink wonderfully with grilled foods this summer as well as with steaks, chops and stews in colder weather.
Two of our favorite Châteauneuf-du-Pape producers also make superb Cotes-du-Rhones that deserve your attention. Domaine Ferrand's Cuvée Antiques Vieilles Vignes is simply outstanding in the 2019 vintage in a style quite similar to the estate's Chateauneuf-du Pape rouge. Jacqueline André at Domaine Pierre André makes one of the regions most fascinating "second wines," the bright and complex Vin de France "Clin d'Oeil." It's from a parcel in Vin de France east of Courthezon of 75 year-old Grenache and Cinsault; a parcel of CDR Grenache just outside Chateauneuf, and from light-colored very old vine Grenache within Chateauneuf - it's a dense and sapid Rhone red that's light on it's feet and a great food wine, especially for any grilled foods this summer.
Wines are in stock, but please allow 2 - 3 days for pick-up or shipping. Enjoy your weekend!
Joe Swick does it again! Here is a tasty, cheerful blend from Washington State (Columbia Gorge) and Oregon fruit, macerated on the skins for an enchanting orange hue. 30/30 Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer, with a host of other grapes, including Pinot Auxerrois and Riesling. The Gewurz takes care of the floral/spice aromatics, and the Chardonnay gives nice weight to the palate. Not too light, not too tannic, it's a really nicely balanced orange wine. Nice work Joe! -EL
This blend from Manchuela is mostly Garnacha Blanca (Grenache Blanc) with a "splash" of Muscat. Even a splash is enough to lend subtle floral/perfumed aromatics, but thankfully it is not overly aromatic. On the palate, it is all stone fruit, between light and medium bodied for a white, with fresh acidity and nice cut. The skins are left to macerate with the juice during fermentation, for about 2 weeks. Technically an "Amber Wine," as it states on the label, this is on the lighter side of the orange wine spectrum, with nice dry texture fromt the skin contact. Perfect for Summer, and though it is snappy, it also has a bit of character so will still satisfy the poolside wine enthusiast. -EL
Organically (with some biodynamic practices) farmed grapes grapes from 2 plots over sandy saline soils. 70% Moscatel de Alexandria (Salinas de la Mata Natural Park in Torrevieja) and 30% Malvasia (Puerto de la Harina Estate). Manually harvested in July/August, table selection, indigenous yeast fermentation in stainless steel with 30-days skin contact. Aged on the lees for several months after harvest in the same tanks, before being bottled unfined, unfiltered, and zero SO2.
Col di Luna produces sparkling wines at the foot of the Dolomites, with a family tradition and preference for the Brut style. Flora rosato comes from the local grape variety called Raboso, a trifecta of spice, brambly fruit, and a rather energetic
acidity! The wine is fermented with a slight maceration on the skins for 12 hours, and then continues to ferment in the tank. Once the wine settles, the producer transfers the juice to the bottle, where it finishes fermentation and creates the magic fizz. This is the traditional col fondo style, and you’ll notice a bit of ‘fondo’, or sediment, in the bottle.
Having missed our trip to France this year, we decided to bring in two vintages from Beaufort that we have not tasted recently, 2012 and 2014. The 2012 has warranted our attention. The robe is a pale golden yellow. The wine has a fine bead and soft foamy mousse. The nose offers aromas of apple blosom, Seville orange peel, and wet stone. The palate is ripe but chiseled, with savory russet apple peel, crushed herbs, evolving with air to offer flavors of salted plum and stone. As with other Beaufort Champagnes the character is vinous and mouth-filling and suited for the table. This shows excellent energy and persistence and beckons for pairing with salmon crudo, marinated roasted peppers, or salade Nicoise with perfectly ripe tomatoes. John McIlwain
The Mitropoulou family planted Assyrtiko in a valley in Central Macedonia more than a decade ago and winemaker Evanthia Mitropoulou finds that it thrives in the rich loam soils; she credits the limestone that lies underneath for giving the wine its mineral flavors. The vineyards at nearly 1000 feet, are an ideal alternative to the volcanic pomice and ash that make up Santorini. Farmed organically, the vines produced a small, concentrated crop in 2021, which she vinified in stainless steel, with minimal sulfur. The result is zesty and invigorating, perfect for warmer weather. The nose is redolent of citrus, white flowers and chalky stones while the palate exudes flavors of lime, white peach, green apple underscored by bright acisity and crunchy salinity. The finish goes on for miles with a savory minerality that is positively lip smacking. For lovers of Muscadet, Albarino, Chablis and platters of briny oysters! Giselle Hamburg
Organic certified fruit, native yeast fermentation, 'glou glou' red in a can... We have been waiting to be able to write that sentence, but many of the canned options out there only tick one of three boxes, so we're happy to start seeing low-intervention, naturally fermented wines in can format.* This is a blend of Grenache (50%), Vermentino (40%) and a touch of Carignan, certainly juicy and completely "chillable." Perfect for tossing in the picnic basket or beach bag. *keep your eyes out for Tendu rose in a can from Steve Matthiasson! We can't wait!
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 2021 shows a very pale rose 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!
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 grippy 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. Surprisingly structured so perfect with grilled meat, tagines, reblochon or other soft cheeses.
(Arrives 6/14) 2019 is a great vintage for the beautiful Ferrand Cuvée Antique - 90% Grenache from 85 year-old vines just outside Chateauneuf-du-Pape, with 5% Syrah, 2% Cinsault, 2% Mourvèdre, 1% Grenache blanc, Clairette blanche. From DrinkRhone: "dark red; the bouquet has a deep setting of plum fruit with a crushed nutshell air above, is locked up, plenty of potential on board to expand and diversify. The attack is well sturdy, agreeably thorough, covers the ground well, sustaining into a lingering close, the juice lasting well. The Grenache plum fruit has verve and a fluid intensity, does a really good job, while the tannins are fresh, too." This drinks like good CDP but at half the price, enjoy over the next ten to fifteen years.
John Wurdeman did not set out to own a winery. A trained painter who started his studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore in the 1990s, a chance encounter in 2005 with a local Georgian farmer, Gela Patalishvili (now the current winemaker), sparked a lifelong friendship and catalyzed the foundation of Pheasant’s Tears. Both John and Gela continue to champion local grape varieties and traditional Georgian winemaking practices to ensure that the 8000-year region’s viticultural history is not lost. Their Rkatsiteli is powerful, smoky and saline, with aromas of baked apricot, walnut, cinnamon, honeysuckle, white peach and flowers. These notes carry through onto the palate, which is rich and robust with a persistent savory and saline minerality.
The Zeit 'Orange' is all Gruner Veltliner from around Wagram in Austria. On the light/medium end of the spectrum for orange wines, this has nice mellow texture, some stone fruit, and the subtle feel of skins which lends dryness and frames the wine well. Crown capped, but completely still (no bubbles), this is a great introduction to skin contact ("orange") wines. -EL
A blend of Welschriesling, Grauburgunder, and Traminer biodynamically grown on a rocky loam soils. Hand-harvested, the grapes macerate for about a week followed by spontaneous fermentation and aging in stainless tank on the lees. The wine is unfined, unfiltered, and only 25 mg/L of SO2 is added before bottling. A nice balance of florals, apricot, and savory leesiness with just a whisper of texture.
This is a textured, dry Pet-Nat of Riesling from organic vineyards in Pavia, Italy. Fermented totally dry, with zippy bubbles, and some lees left in the bottle for the hazy look. Looks aside, the lees inclusion also lends soothing texture to the wine, giving some balance to the frothy bubbles. A perfect accompaniment to any rooftop party, barbeque or picnic this Summer. -EL
Champagne is oft-maligned as wine of flash and marketing rather than a wine of substance and yes Virginia, terroir. And while there is a bit more winemaking involved than simply harvest, press, and bottle--sulfur optional, our favorite growers make wines that express vintage and village and soil quite precisely, thank you. One such domaine is 12th generation grower Louis Gatinois from the Grand Cru village of Aÿ. The Pinot-dominant 2012 millésime offers a fine example of the vintage (structured and ripe) as well as the village (equal parts concentrated, mineral, and sophisticated) with spicy red fruit and pungent and nearly salt soil notes lending gravitas to the polish on a driving mid-palate and lengthy, sapid finish. This is just nascently complex and will gain from time in the cellar. A beautiful bottle and a bravura expression of Aÿ terroir. John McIlwain
100% organically farmed Chardonnay from the flint-rich chalks of Montgeux in the Côte de Bars. Fermented in tank and comprised of a perpetual cuvée. Orange oil, apple blossom, with a wisp of smoke on the nose. The palate is ripe, but structured and taut and deeply chalky with some exotic fruit notes and a long, somewhat creamy finish. This is delicious and a great expression of the distinctive Montgeux terroir. John McIlwain
From a perpetual cuvée , vinified in barrel. The fruit comes from Cramant, Chouilly, and Mesnil-sur-Orger. Upon first opening, the wine offers aromas of white flowers and lemon verbena, giving way to notes of chalk and sea spray. The palate is creamy-textured with a fine bead and lemon and golden apple flavors enrobing a mouthwatering, deeply chalky core. This is a shimmering, age-worthy blanc de blancs , that pairs incisive minerality with elegant ripe white fruit, and nuance from the perpetual cuvée of vins clairs. Beautifully rendered and a joy to drink. Highly recommended! John McIlwain
The 2016 is fresh and bright but has gained complexity with age to the point where it is competing with some of Italy’s best white wines. Aromatically fine and layered, with typical almond, a hint of white flowers, tarragon, fennel, and other green herbs it’s fairly full-bodied and shows no heat (at 13 degrees alcohol); the pleasing vinosity and richness is carried by quite pronounced saline mineralilty and lively hints of fresh lime. All in all this is a perfect moment for this lovely wine. Jamie WolffA truly fantastic wine. On the nose, there is a fresh nuttiness, accented by plush herbs, white blossoms, clementines and apricot. Flavors are generous, and the mouthfeel defies the wine's age. Lemons, orange pith, and zingy white minerals cling to an awesome, filling structure. Great acidity and a little tannin - you lick your gums after you sip it. Powerful wine, and an absolute stand-out at this price point. David Hatzopoulos
The word mulatschak is Hungarian in origin (mulatság), meaning "merriment" or "amusement", and refers to the traditional evening drinks celebration where the glasses are hurled against the wall. The alternative name means "fifteen down", the most popular Austrian card game. 50/50 Zweigelt/ St Laurent.
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 2020 Seguret shows a deep red/black color and aromas of blackberry liqueur, black cherry and plum, with earth, garrigue, black pepper 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, licorice 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.
(Arrives 6/14) This is our second shipment of the Pierre André "Clin D'Oeil," the much admired "second wine" of this wonderful Chateauneuf-du-Pape estate. It's at the same time serious and fun, it's the Wink of a Eye, it's a superb wine of terroir that's also easy drinking and the perfect accompaniment to a casual meal. Dark red/garnet color with a bright rim, bright aromas of ripe black cherry, red currant, black plum, spice and earth. The palate is beautifully structured with firm, very earthy, chalky acidity underlying elegant, subtle, cherry, ripe strawberry and red currant fruit. It's a dense and sapid Rhone red that's light on it's feet and a great food wine, especially for any grilled foods this summer. (From a parcel in Vin de France east of Courthezon of 75 year-old Grenache and Cinsault; a parcel of CDR Grenache just outside Chateauneuf, and from light-colored very old vine Grenache within Chateauneuf) Highly recommended! David Lillie