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In-Store Tastings are Back! Today we start with a throwback "New Arrivals" tasting, featuring natural wines: Le Jonc Blanc from the South-west of France, natural Loire wines from Grandes Vignes and Thomas Batardiere, and a few special guest wines (you'll have to come to find out!).
Natural Wines from Le Jonc Blanc
Perched on a unique limestone hill in Bergerac, Franck Pascal and Isabelle Carles make some of the most vibrant, soulful and just plain delicious natural wines in France at Le Jonc Blanc! The farming here is organic and Biodynamic, bringing great freshness and minerality from the unusual limestone terroir. The reds are made with zero added SO2, the whites receive a small addition depending on the vintage. These are pure, vibrant, living wines - not reductive, not high in VA, not full of Brett or "mousy," but yes a bit of variation - as Franck says "there must be a little chaos in the wine to vibrate our emotions!"
Clos du Tue-Boeuf
Thierry Puzelat at the Clos du Tue-Boeuf is an incredibly talented wine-maker who has been an important part of the French natural wine scene for almost 30 years. His 2021 Pineau d'Aunis is a rare and beautiful wine, only 12 bottles are available. (And the delicious Valerie Forgues Pineau d'Aunis "Icone" is back in stock!) Thierry's Gamay "La Butte" is one of the most beautiful Gamays of the Loire, or anywhere else for that matter - again, only 12 btls available...
Domaine Louis-Claude Desvignes in Morgon weighs in with a new wine, "L'Aube a Javernières" from vines adjacent to their Morgon "Javernières" - it's a beautiful Beaujolais at a great price!!
Hailing from Central and Eastern Europe is a collection of Rieslings, Gruner Veltliners, a pet nat, an orange blend , a pinot noir and an amphora skin contact!
Please allow until Wednesday 10/26 for pick-up/shipping.
The 2020 Jonc Blanc "Fleur" is a gorgeous and complex wine from 45% old-vine Semillon (70+ years old), Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris from Franck and Isabelle Pascal in Bergerac, Biodynamic farming on limestone with clay and sandy soils, vinification without additives, aging for 18 months on the lees in cuve inox, bottled with a small addition of SO2, 20mg/l total. The 2020 Fleur is a lovely wine showing floral aromas of ripe citrus, melon and pear; the palate is ripe, supple and refreshing with ripe white fruits, quite generous and backed with firm acidity and saline/mineral flavors in the very long finish. Far from the typical varietal Sauvignon, this is a rich complex white of great character that willl acccompany cheeses and white meats and is a delicious aperitif.
Isabelle and Franck Pascal make this beautiful natural wine (formerly known as "Classik") from Cabernet and Merlot grown on their Biodynamic estate near Felines, in Bergerac. The wine is aged sur-lie 12 months in barrel, and is bottled without filtration or added sulfur. The color is a dark red/black; the wine shows bright, vivid aromas of ripe cassis and boysenberry liqueur with earth, musk, violet and graphite. The palate is lush, ripe and vibrant with blackberry, cassis, prune, chocolate, earth, stone and licorice lifted by firm, cool acidity that continues in the long, bright and sapid finish. Wow, delicious! Serve with grilled pork or beef, a daube Provençal, strong cheeses and charcuterie or cellar for 5 to 8 years.
The 2018 Pure M is a beautiful natural wine with zero added SO2, 100% Malbec from a small parcel in biodynamic farming on "Calcaires a Asteries" typical of the plateau of Saint-Emilion. Two year élevage in 1200 liter Taransaud foudre without fining, filtration or SO2, 1600 bottles produced. The wine shows complex, pure, lush aromas of cassis, blackberry and prune with hints of tobacco, spice and earth. The palate is silky and bright with ripe cassis, blackberry and blueberry fruit backed by refreshing acidity. Mineral and ripe berry fruit flavors linger in the long finish. Serve this cool with any grilled meats, and it's balanced enough for veggies and lighter meat dishes as well. Just delicious and highly recommended! David Lillie
Wow, this a superb natural wine - 100% Gros Manseng from three vintages, 2018 - 20200, grown on a clay/limestone terroir (calcaire de Castillon). Elevage in 1800 liter Stockinger foudre. This is a more northern version of this grape of southwest France with aromas of exotic fruit, pineapple and herbs. The palate is vibrant with almond, pear and apricot fruit, and finishes with saline minerals. Zero added SO2, 24 btls for the US, enjoy!
Isabelle and Franck Pascal make outstanding and expressive natural wines from their biodynamically farmed vineyards in Bergerac, and this lively sparkling rosé is a great example of their precise, low-intervention winemaking. This delicate pét-nat is made with mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and a smaller portion of Sémillon (30%), and shows a lovely pink-orange color in the glass. The mousse is very delicate, and on the nose, raspberry, peach, tea, and crushed strawberries are evident, while citrus, melon, and strawberry come to the fore on the slightly off-dry palate. The delicate bubbles make this an outstanding candidate for before-dinner drinking, or a fun pairing with appetizers or Asian cuisines. It's intriguingly delicious, with zero additives!
(Arrives 10/26) 70% Pineau d’Aunis/20% Cabernet Franc/10% Gamay. 2020 is the very first vintage of "Icône". Averaging 30 years old, the vines are planted on clay-limestone soils in the heart of the Cher valley of the Touraine region in the Loire. They are certified-organic and tended and harvested by hand. The bunches were destemmed and fermented spontaneously with native yeasts and without sulfur in stainless steel and fiberglass tanks; the Pineau and Cabernet Franc were co-fermented, with the small bit of Gamay added after vinification to lighten up the blend. The wine was aged in vat and bottled without filtration and with minimal sulfur. The Icône shows a fairly dark red/black color with very pretty and surprisingly deep aromas of peppery, earthy berry fruits - typical of Pineau d'Aunis but with an extra layer of ripeness from the Cab Franc. On the palate there are firm juicy acids and velvety, chalky fruits as well, a nice melange of spicy cherry and berry fruits that is sapid and refreshing, with the juicy acidity lingering in the finish. Serve cool with just about anything...enjoy!
(Last of stock - don't miss it!) 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
(Last of stock) The Gavoty "Cuvee Clarendon" is produced from the domaine’s oldest Grenache (90%) and Cinsault vines (10%) dating back to the early 1960s. Like the “Grand Classique," “Clarendon” combines a touch of saignée with the juice from the first pressing, striking a wonderful balance between vinosity and brisk drinkability. Both nose and palate are multilayered and beguiling, and although the fruit is brightly kinetic, there is a sense of regal richness to this cuvée that has nothing to do with weight. “Clarendon” sits easily alongside the Bandol from Château Pradeaux or the Palette from Château Simone as a rosé that is more than flattered by a bit of bottle age.
(Arrives 10/26) Biodynamic dry Riesling from the Pfalz just north of the Alsatian border. Like his buddy Claus Preisinger in Austria's Burgenland , Sven Leiner is a proud member of RESPEKT Biodyn and a firm believer that " a species-rich soil ecosystem, including bacteria as well as beneficial fungal mycelia, earthworms and a variety of insects, ensures that an efficient nutrient cycle is in place. A wide array of plant life also cuts down significantly on the use of natural fertilisers." The vineyards are full of chalk and limestone covered in deep Loess which add to aromas of minerality and hints of petrol. Refreshingly juicy flavors of fresh nectarine, lemonade, lime zest, apricot, and crystalline acidity. Pair with any spicy cuisine for your next backyard BBQ or picnic! Giselle Hamburg
Sven Enderle and Florian Moll work their two hectares of vines organically with biodynamic treatments— a rare occurrence in their region, where quality often takes a backseat to quantity. The Basis is their entry-level Pinot, from 30-year-old vines on sandstone, limestone and loess. For a "basic" wine, it's pretty impressive in 2020, with some power and maturity, generous fruit and good balance/acidity. No need to wait on this one, but there's a sense that it should be really integrated and quite elegant in a few years. -Eben // Our friend, and importer, Stephen from Vom Boden writes: "A wild, earthy and crushed berry nose; a kitchen pantry of cooking spices. Crushed dark berry fruit, edged by a delicate bright lemon citrus that gives definition and lift. Crush-able. "
(Arrives 10/26) The Puzelats source tiny quantities of Pineau d'Aunis, mainly from neighbor vigneronne Valérie Forgues, who organically tends and hand harvests her hundred-plus-year-old vines. 2015 was their first vintage of this bottling. The wine is aged for 6 months in old barrels and was bottled and vinified with zero added sulfur. The aromas are floral with ripe raspberry, blackberry and blood orange, with pepper, brown spice, and animal notes. The palate is lush and bright with plum skin and blackberry fruit, very earthy firm acidity and berry fruits in the finish. Very delicious now, served cool, but probably best after a few years of cellaring - a superb Pineau D'Aunis for lovers of natural wines.
(Arrives 10/26) 100% Gamay. La Butte or "the hill" is an organically farmed, hand-harvested 1.7-hectare parcel of 85-year-old Gamay on flinty clay-limestone soils in the Touraine (Tue-Boeuf has been purchasing this fruit for many years from a neighbor who is also their source for the Petit Buisson Sauvignon). A small percentage of the fruit is of the teinturier type, distinguished by its red flesh, which adds deep color and flavor to this wine. Typical of Tue-Boeuf reds, the fruit goes as whole clusters into huge oak vats for a spontaneous fermentation, which is a semi-carbonic maceration with a closed top for around 10 to 14 days. The clusters are pressed and the wine finishes with a non-carbonic, open top fermentation in vat. La Butte is aged for about 8 months in used Burgundy barrels; it is bottled without fining or filtration and with little to no sulfur. Beautiful fruit and great balance and brightness in 2021, the wine shows lovely ripe strawberry and raspberry with pretty floral notes. Quite dense red fruits on the palate, supple and textured, really lovely and lifted by refreshing acidity. This is just plain yummy and will accompany just about anything...
(Arrival Wed 11/9) 2020 was the first vintage of "L'Aube à Javernières" and the first Desvignes wine to not be 100% cru Morgon, coming from a parcel of 20 to 30-year-old vines in deep clay soils on the edge of Javernières, just below the Cote du Py hill. The grapes are harvested by hand and the winemaking is consistent with most of the Desvignes wines, undergoing semi-carbonic fermentation and aged in concrete with no punchdowns. This is a fresh and exuberant expression of Gamay with pretty red fruit and cool herbs on the nose, backed by racy acidity that creates wonderful tension and a long finish that makes it a versatile pairing partner. Absolutely delicious and a great value for anyone who loves serious Beaujolais!
From the cool Saar region comes this exquisite dry and delicate Riesling that also happens to be Kosher! In order for it to be certified kosher, Max von Kunow wasn't allowed to oversee the winemaking process. All he was allowed to do was provide the ripest fruit possible (not a problem in 2015), leave detailed instructions and leave the rabbis to their work! Although the ripeness level is Kabinett, it is vinified completely dry so being lower in alcohol you can have another glass! The result is a scintillating riesling showing Saar minerality and freshness. Greengage, white grapefruit, mint and wintergreen. A firm Riesling with class and charm.
%100 Pinot Noir; one of the best examples on the Saar and Mosel. It’s a rare dry red wine in that it naturally doesn’t go through malolactic conversion and, like all their wines, is never chaptalized. With a mineral taste, lean texture, and wonderful bite, it reflects the Saar quite well. "The Webers like to bottle each Fuder separately, which is unheard of today, even though it was the standard in old times. Therefore, they can have two or more casks from the same vineyard site and with the same Prädikat. However, these wines will have different AP numbers because they come from different parcels of the same vineyard site and were fermented, aged, and bottled separately."
Tthe winery is situated in the Western edge of the famous Wachau region, in the Spitzer Graben - a steep valley branching off from the Danube vale. Son Georg Högl, father Josef Högl and grandfather Högl, work together to create outstanding, crisp white wines from the highest and coolest sites in the Wachau. This region is marked by extreme geological and climatic conditions. The extremely steep locations of the vineyards and the idiosyncratic climate are its dominant features. Terraces are colder and more barren, rugged and more stony than most others in the region.These Rieslings are precise, powerful, juicy, crystal clear and concentrated. The 2021 federspiel displays intense aromas of chalk, wet rocks, citrus and a certain pineyness. The palate is mineral with laser like acidity and an initial faint prickle leading to a long, slightly saline finish. Lipsmackingly good, a perfect foil to shellfish, white meats. goat cheeses and greens. Giselle Hamburg
In the 1970s, Hirsch started organic farming and in 2006, he was one of the founding members of Respekt – a new biodynamic certification started as an alternative to Demeter, which was then the only certification. Respekt has branched out from Austria and now covers “German speaking areas” including Northern Italy and Germany. The winery is located in Kammern in the Kamptal, a short distance from the vineyards, so the fruit is pressed a very short time after it’s picked. Yields here are very low. Grapes are always whole cluster pressed without crushing. ‘Hannes favors a long pressing rather than a short one, echoing fellow respect member Bernhard Ott’s feeling that the stems are “part of the wine too”. The Hirschvergnugen (meaning "deer delight") is a lovely entry level gruner showcasing the terroir and climate of the Northern Kamptal. The nose showcase aromas of wet rocks, lime, white flowers and green apples. The palate confirms an intense mineralty, green notes like asparagus with a hint of white pepper on the long, crisp finish. Giselle Hamburg
(Arrives 10/26) 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.
(Arrives 10/26) Demeter certified biodynamic farming; 35-60 year old vines on sandy, loam topsoil, volcanic subsoil; made in ancestral method with fermentation continuing in the bottle and bottled unfined/unfiltered under crown cap with a tiny bit of added SO2. From the volcanic soils of Somlo in Hungary near the Austrian border. A delightful Pet-nat made from Harslevelu and Juhfark. The nose explodes with tart green apple, lemonade and wet rocks. The palate is citrusy, mineral with bracing acidity and refreshing bubbles. The ultimate shift drink, for lovers of bone dry Ciders and salty Goses! Giselle Hamburg