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As summer approaches, some of our favorite fuller-bodied, more "serious" roses are starting to arrive. These wines generally get a longer maceration with the skins, take longer to finish fermentation and receive longer aging before being bottled - offering more complex aromas and flavors with a bit more structure on the palate, making them great pairings for grilled foods this summer, and some will age beautifully as well.
We'd like to lead off again this year with Peio Espil at Domaine Ilarria in Irrouleguy, who produces one of the world's most delicious and distinctive full-bodied rosés. Made from Tannat and Cabernet grown on shist soils, the wine is deep and full-bodied, fairly dark in color, and is a unique accompaniment to full-flavored fish dishes like grilled tuna, charcuterie, white meats, grilled pork and lamb and the cheeses of Southwest France. It's one of Eric Asimov's favorite rosés, we quote him from his article "A Rosé Can Bloom in Winter" - "Who wouldn’t want a rosé like Domaine Ilarria any time of the year? This wine, a shimmering, translucent garnet in summer sun or winter snow, comes from Irouléguy in the Basque country... As fierce as rosés ever get, it’s made of tannat and cabernet franc, and it tastes like liquid rock, combined with iron and blood. I love this wine, and it was terrific recently with roasted duck and wild rice." Eric will have to change his tune again for the 2021 as the "fierce" quality is more of refreshment with sapid ripe red fruits and a vibrant palate with a perfectly mineral finish making this immediately and fabulously enjoyable, with food or just sipped by itself.
We need to interrupt this rosé email as Peio's brilliant organic no-till farming produces superb red wines and a fascinating white as well. The 2019 Irouleguy Blanc is 55% Petit Manseng and 45% Petit Courbu grown on limestone - it's incredibly complex, dense and distinctive with unique herbal and mineral flavors that make it a great aperitif and a perfect pairing with full flavored fish or white meat dishes. The 2020 Irouleguy Rouge is approximately 50% Tannat, 30% Cabernet Franc and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, also on limestone - more intense and structured than the 2019 but the wine remains elegant, supple and immensely enjoyable to drink now, with a beautiful combination of soil, fruit and bright acidity in the finish.
Clos Cibonne is an incredibly original property in Provence, ensconced by the natural beauty of their landscape, producing wines which always transcend the rosé category. They have held true to a tradition of making age-worthy fine wines which happen to be rosé, in the midst of an appellation which rewards mediocrity. It is this independence and originality that has made Clos Cibonne one of the most sought after cult wineries in France, with demand greatly outpacing their artisan-scale production. The estate's wines are 90% Tibouren, a very old grape variety originally grown in Mesopotamia and propagated by the Greeks and Romans. The wine spends a year aging under fleurette (a thin veil of yeast) in 5,000 L foudres, giving this rosé complex, savory aromas, and a slightly oxidative character. Cuvée Tradition is legendary for its texture, substance, and ability to age gracefully for a decade or more - a serious rosé that's fabulously delicious and a great pairing with flavorful seafood and poultry dishes.
Chateau Pradeaux is one of the greatest estates in Provence and their most "serious" rosé is the 100% Mourvedre “Vesprée,” meaning evening in Provençal and Occitan, which presents a full, swaggering nose of quince paste, white pepper, and coarse-ground Indian spices, and the big, richly textured palate possesses a structural tension that heavily underlines its potential for aging—though it is fresh, tense, and very delicious right in its youth. It is exceedingly difficult to find rosé of this caliber and character, even from Bandol—and, in a twist of irony, this wine which is so purely and deeply Bandol to its very core was denied appellation status on three separate occasions, and is thus labeled a “Vin de France.” The wine is aged 12 months in ceramic "eggs."(Thanks to importer Neal Rosenthal)
The Bonavita Terre Siciliane Rosato is a huge favorite with our staff - It's from Faro in Sicily - north of Etna, in fact almost at the very north-east tip of Sicily, in a spectacular vineyard above the sea. Because it's the same grapes as Etna (Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, + the local Noccera) you get some of the same sensations, but Faro has much sandier soils, and the wine is more fruit-forward, strong on cranberry and raspberry. Fairly dark in color, this is incredibly adaptable with food - no shy, watery Provencal wannabe, but with real depth, even at 12.5% alcohol, so easy drinking, with gravitas.
We're down to the last 24 bottles of the beautiful 2019 Manissy Tete de Cuvée - don't delay! And our last two offerings are not exactly serious - the 2021 Grange Tiphaine Vin de France Pet Nat Rosa, Rosé, Rosam and the Terres Dorées Beaujolais Rosé de Folie - but they're fantastically refreshing and delicous and belong in your picnic basket this summer!
Please allow 3 -5 days for pick-up or shipping. Enjoy, seriously!
(Arrives 6/17) "This is one of my favorite rosés" said Eric Asimov in the NY Times and for good reason, as this beautiful blend of Cabernet Franc and Tannat is a vibrant and refreshing wine that pairs well with salads, seafood, white meats and grilled foods all year round. Domaine Ilarria practices superb organic, no-till farming with the goal of creating living soils that provide needed micro-nutrients and natural defenses to the vine. This is evident in al the estates wines which have a remarkable brightness and saline mineral character balancing the vibrant fruit. The 2021 Rosé shows a vivid pink/garnet color and ripe sweet aromas of red currant, pomegranate, rose, citrus and earth., very fresh and bright. There is luscious cherry, red currant and raspberry fruit on the palate which is sappy and deep but quite refreshing with earth, mineral and citrus flavors that continue in the very long juicy finish. This full-bodied rosé is lighter and more vibrant than the 2020 version, combining gorgeous fruit, zingy acidity and great minerality - it will evolve gracefully for three to five years, but it's insanely delicious now so why wait? Only a small quantity reaches the US, be sure to grab some of this rare treat for the summer or for the cellar. Highly recommended! David Lillie
This is an oustanding, totally unique and delicious wine! From organically certified vineyards, 1 ha dedicated to Petit Manseng and 1 ha to Petit Courbu, permaculture-pioneer Peio Espil offers a very unique interpretation of Irouléguy Blanc as he is one of the few growing grapes on Trias limestone. No tilling, use of ewes to graze the spontaneous vegetation and compost the soils leads to balanced yields of very concentrated grapes which see some skin maceration (6 hours or so for the Petit Courbu, 12-14 hours for the Petit Manseng) in order to extract aromatic compounds and structure. Long fermentations are preferred for texture. Then the wine stays untouched on its fine lees with racking if needed for up to 18 months, and doesn’t need to be filtered before bottling. As in 2018, the 2019 has a bit more depth and roundness than usual for this wine, but retains the intense mineral/herbal backbone that makes it so unique. It has a surprising density with so many layers: a very complex nose of passion fruit, chamomile, yellow plum, marsipan and smoked salt, the palate is very savory with a saline quality, with ripe pear and quince, roasted lemon and intense anise seed and chalky mineral flavors. It is a salivating wine with so much to give, that you want to sip on it little by little. Enjoy it today in large Burgundy glass or keep it for 10 years. For pairing, a rabbit agnolotti with dried sage or a cauliflower panna cotta with crab meat flesh and grapefruit segment.
In the French Basque hills, enveloped by Spain, Peio Espil tends his family’s estate with impressive care. Peio, after careers in both Sauternes and Jurancon, returned to Irouleguy to work sustainably, and received complete organic certification in 2008. Here he strictly adheres to a Fukuoka-inspired way of organic farming, with biodiversity in the vineyards and no plowing, with the overall health of the soil being his number one concern. The 2020 Rouge is approximately 55% Tannat, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Cabernet Franc and it's another sensational vintage for this unique wine. Deep black/red color with bright rim; elegant aromas of red currant, cassis and blackberry with rose petal and earth, really lovely. A bit leaner than the 2019, the wine is intense and well structured with firm acidity beneath sapid berry fruits that coat the palate. There is a lovely balance between intensity of fruit and refreshing acidity and while there are firm tannins the wine remains elegant, supple and immensely enjoyable to drink now, with a beautiful combination of soil, fruit and bright acidity in the finish. Serve a bit cool with grilled lamb, hangar steak or a tagine of vegetables, enjoy until 2035.
Produced since 1915 this is the historic cuvée of Chateau de Manissy, retaining the ancient label and the ancient methods of production, now enhanced by Biodynamic farming. Similar in style to the Tavel 'Vintage" at Domane L'Anglore, the wine is a blend of Grenache, Clairette and Cinsault that undergoes a 24 to 48 hour maceration on the skins and then a cool fermentation with wild yeasts for about 2 weeks. The wine ages in old barrels for 9 to 12 months. This is a true Rosé of gastronomy that will drink beautifully for ten years or more, showing aromas of fruit confit, flowers and spice with a silky, cool palate with a red wine feel, finishing with red currant, tart cherry and saline minerals. Serve with a ceviche of mackerel or bluefish, North African tagines, full-flavored fish and white meat dishes - the posibilities are endless, or just sip by itself on a summer evening...
The Tradition rosé from Brigitte Roux and Claude Deforge is an abiding staff favorite. This cuvée is made from Tibouren, a native grape to Provence, and a touch of Grenache. The wine spends a year aging under fleurette (a thin veil of yeast) in 5,000 L foudres, giving this rosé complex, savory aromas, and a slightly oxidative character. The 2020 shows a pretty rose gold color in the glass. After being open for a few hours, the aromas are deeply savory with notes of red cherry, apricot, spice, and fresh mint. The palate is rich and creamy, but with decidedly more acidity than in past vintages. The finish is exceptionally long and mineral. If drinking now, there is enough structure to pair with bold-flavored sauces and seafood. This will be even better with a few years of bottle age.
(Arrives 6/17) "Vesprée,” meaning evening in Provençal and Occitan, presents a full, swaggering nose of quince paste, white pepper, and coarse-ground Indian spices, and the big, richly textured palate possesses a structural tension that heavily underlines its potential for aging—though it is fresh, tense, and very delicious right in its youth.
(Arrives 6/17) This is one of our favorite Rosatos which we look forward to every year. It's from Faro in Sicily - north of Etna, in fact almost at the very north-east tip of Sicily, in a spectacular vineyard above the sea. Because it's the same grapes as Etna (Nerello Mascalese and Nerello Cappuccio, + the local Noccera) you get some of the same sensations, but Faro has much sandier soils, and the wine is more fruit-forward, strong on cranberry and raspberry. Fairly dark in color, this is incredibly adaptable with food - no shy, watery Provencal wannabe, but with real depth, even at 12.5% alcohol, so easy drinking, with gravitas.
"Rosa, Rosé, Rosam" is a gorgeous pet-nat, primarily Cabernet Franc with Gamay, Grolleau, and Côt made by the talented Damien and Coralie Delecheneau in Touraine. The vines are 70 to 80 years old and were planted in the clay and limestone soils by Damien's great grandfather. 100% direct press to preserve the aromatic finesse, followed by alcoholic fermentation at low temperature. Botled with residual sugar and no additives, the mousse produced naturally in the bottle. "It's a swimming pool wine" say the Delecheneaus "nothing complicated, just the simple pleasure of a fruity and refreshing 'bulle.'" It's quite delicious with bright, juicy strawberry and ripe cherry notes, and frothy, fully sparkling on the palate. Perfect for bringing to the next outdoor gathering!