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This is always an exciting time of year, when we welcome visiting winemakers -- both old friends and new -- to the tasting table here at Chambers Street Wines. The wine glasses will barely have dried from today's tasting to benefit Partners in Health before five of our favorite producers from the Canary Islands arrive tomorrow, Monday 3/13, to present new vintages of their wines from intriguing local varieties like Listán Negro, Tintilla, Vijariego Negro, Malvasía Volcánica, Listán Blanco, Forastera, and more!
In the days that follow, we will taste Champagne with Réol Beaufort, Boca from Podere Ai Valloni, exhilarating new releases from Clos Saron, Oregon Pinot Noir with Kelley Fox, and enjoy first-time visits from long-admired natural Spanish winemakers Alfredo Maestro (Viña Almate) and Goyo García Viadero, as well as newcomers Xurxo Alba (Albamar), Francesc Ferre of Celler Frisach, and more.
Our tasting schedule for the next two weeks is below, along with wines currently for sale from some of our honored guests. Many more selections are on the way! Please mark your calendars, check our homepage and follow us on Instagram for regular reminders and last-minute updates to the calendar. We look forward to seeing you at the tasting table!
Monday, March 13th 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Special Guests from the Canary Islands: Felipe Monje (Monje), Agustín García Farráis (Tajinaste), Pedro Ramírez (Frontón de Oro), Juan Jesús Méndez & Elena Batista (Viñatigo), and Ana de Leon (Bermejos)
Tuesday, March 14th 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Francesc Ferre of Celler Frisach (Terra Alta)
Wednesday, March 15th 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Gideon and Saron of Clos Saron (Sierra Foothills)
Thursday, March 16th 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Réol Beaufort (Champagne)* and Anna Sertorio & Andrea Marzo of Ai Valloni (Boca)
*Several seats remain for our dinner with Réol Beaufort at Racines NY on Wednesday, March 15th, at 7pm. Tickets are available for purchase below.
Friday, March 17th 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Oregon Pinot Noir with Kelley Fox
Saturday, March 18th 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM New Arrivals from France
Monday, March 20th 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Scott Sampler of Central Coast Group Project (Santa Barbara County)
Tuesday, March 21st 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Superstars of Jose Pastor Selections: Alfredo Maestro (Viña Almate), Goyo Garcia Viadero, Oriol Artigas, and Noel Tellez (Bichi)
Wednesday, March 22nd 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Daniel Ramos of Zerberos (Sierra de Gredos) and Xurxo Alba of Albamar (Rías Baixas)
Thursday, March 23rd 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Manel Avinyó of Clos Lentiscus (Penedès)**
**Please join us after this tasting for a party featuring special glass pours and bottles from Clos Lentiscus -- 7:30 PM to 11PM at Dirty Bird (204 West 14th Street between 7th and 8th)!
Friday, March 24th 5:00 PM TO 7:00 PM Bryn from vom Boden pours Enderle & Moll (Baden)
This bottling of the Beaufort NV Ambonnay Rosé is based on the 2011 vintage and was disgorged in July of 2018. Notes to follow.
Provence, eat your heart out. This pale, refreshing rose is 100% Listán Negro from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, grown at the bottom of painstakingly-tended hoyos (the local name for the craters dug into the crunchy, black topsoil that coated the island of Lanzarote following a series of volcanic eruptions that started in 1730). One vine is planted at the bottom of each hoyo, which protect the plant from Lanzarote's relentless trade winds, along with stone walls of volcanic rock rimming the hoyos to prevent the sandy soil from blowing onto the vines. (In reality, the walls are constantly blown down and rebuilt. This is high-maintenance viticulture!) Bermejos' visionary winemaker, Ignacio Valdera, produces crystal-clear expressions of this unique and mystical vinescape. The rosado is pale, dry, and refreshing, with flavors of salty citrus, grapefruit, cherry skins, blood orange, rhubarb, and brine, with ash, orange oil and grapefruit rind on the finish. Complex yet crowd-pleasing. Ariana Rolich
Agustín García Farrais is the third generation grower and meticulous force behind Tajinaste, located on the Canary Island of Tenerife in the highlands of the DO Valle de La Orotava. For his rosado, Agustín uses Listán Negro grown at 600m. The elevation along with the constant Atlantic trade winds help to amplify freshness. The 2015 rosado is a stand out at an incredibly good value. Tantalizing aromas of tart blackberries, red cherries and ashy minerals leap from the glass and lead to persistent flavors of lush strawberries, crisp rhubarb and textured with flinty minerals. This rose drinks like a light red and would make an excellent match for flavorful grilled or smoked fish from Blue Moon. Amanda Bowman
Francesc Ferre of Celler Frisach is producing some of the most balanced and varied expressions of Garnacha Blanca we've tasted to date. L'Abrunet Blanc is casually priced, yet seriously refreshing, from organically-farmed vines on iron-rich calcareous soils in Terra Alta (southern Catalonia). Two harvests are performed (one at lower potential alcohol to contribute crunchy, cool acidity, and the second at higher ripeness with more phenolic development), fermented separately, then blended and raised in stainless steel. Racy lemon zest, key lime, and fresh green herbs on the nose, with fresh, firm flavors on the medium-bodied palate of stone fruit, green apple, and crisp pear, gentle peach blossom florals, and a hint of white pepper. Ariana Rolich
The 2006 "Old Man's Reserve" Syrah (90% Syrah, 6% Roussanne, and 4% Petit Verdot) started alongside Clos Saron's Stone Soup Syrah of the same vintage, but was aged for four years in 1,200L oak oval foudre, and then aged in bottle for almost an additional 6 years prior to its release. Reminiscent of an older Barbaresco, the "Old Man's Reserve" has flavors of stewed morello cherry, carob, and dark chocolate on the initial attack, then glides seamlessly into secondary flavors of saddle leather, air-dried bresaola, and tar. One of my favorite Clos Saron bottlings, it's a wine that is drinking well now, but can age for an additional 10-20 years. Jonas Mendoza
The 2010 Polisy Blanc de Blanc shows a delicate mousse but persistent, typical of wild yeast fermentations, with subtle white fruit aromas. The palate is chalky and long with beautiful lemon, pear, mineral and herbal notes, with a vibrant firm stony finish. Lovely now and should cellar beautifully. This lot was disgorged in February of 2017 - it's a beautiful, elegant young Champagne and is highly recommended. DL
The new Beaufort Polisy Reserve Brut Nature NV is from the 2014 vintage and was disgorged in November of 2017. (Organic farming since 1971, wild yeast fermentations, minimal SO2.) This lovely Champagne shows a pale gold/bronze color with aromas of brioche, pear, lime flower, apricot and vanilla with a bit of brown spice and anise. Full, soft mousse on the palate with creamy pear, citrus, stone and herbal flavors, with hints of raspberry and red currant emerging. A bit soft and ripe for a Brut Nature, at 12% alcohol, but well balanced with refreshing acidity in the finish. Serve with a ceviche of squid or scallop, fish in sauce, goat cheeses or perhaps with berry or citrus desserts. David Lillie
For its striking blood orange/copper color and for its vinous character, Beaufort's 2010 Rosé is one of the most compelling Champagnes on our shelves. 100% Pinot Noir from Beaufort's Polisy vineyards, there are geographic and stylistic similarities to great Rosé des Riceys. Aromas of cherry compote, cinnamon, spearmint, and butterscotch give way to gingerbread and herbal notes. The palate is broad and balanced with a juicy core of cherries, tangerines, and red plums before a lengthy mocha and mulberry finish. One of Beaufort's best rosés to date! Tasting notes Jan 2017 "Absolutely super, in the end the wine of the night. Transparent, super light but dense and complex, long and unfolding in waves..." (Current stock disgorged June, 2017)
"Really superb, subtle, long. Quiet nose. Winy. Seems like old school white Burgundy. Very serious..." Anonymous notes from Beaufort dinner, Jan 2017 (Disgorged April, 2017)
80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay, harvested early at 9% alcohol from NE-facing parcels. Elegant white fruit aromas. The palate is very expressive with white fruits, minerals and herbal notes, rich but balanced. (Tasted with 5 grams dosage, our disgorgement is Brut Nature.)
This 2009 is 100% Ambonnay Grand Cru fruit and this really comes across, in the form of stately minerality and structure. It shines a vibrant golden yellow in the glass and sports a finely-beaded mousse. Aromas of spearmint, peppermint, lillies, hazelnuts, and spiced apple custard float up from the glass. The palate is both round, weighty, and alive with minerality with notes of yellow plums and Cortland apples that continue through to an elegant finish.
Towards the end of the tasting my notes became minimal, but this wine rated an enthusiastic "Superb!" Forget your prejudice against demi-sec Champagnes, this wine is fantastically complex and delicious. The French wine publication “Le Rouge et le Blanc,” in their review of André Beaufort, offers an explanation of how dosage seems to help the wines develop: “The aromas, timid in their youth, finish by exploding with age and the sugar becomes like a support to the aromas.” Only a few bottles available – we urge you to try it! (Notes from Jan 2017: "Super, rich, no flaws, Nearly sweet, wonderful, rich, complex nose. Totally fresh, or at least not old or even aging...") (new inventory disgorged June 2017)
A sensational mature Champagne from André Beaufort - the estate converted to organic agriculture in the early 70's and makes brilliant, full-bodied Champagnes that are among the most "vinous" being made today. Medium golden yellow in color and sporting a discrete mousse. The nose is quite floral with tones of cherry blossoms, apple blossoms, and irises before touches of quince and fresh baguette. The palate is concentrated with a spherical yet laser-like focus that offers notes of lemon sorbet, tart lemon custard, and apple pie, underlined by a fine minerality that persists through to a rounded, savory finish. Really a very pretty and lovely wine. This medium-bodied Champagne is made of approximately 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay and was disgorged in March 2017 after 14 years of sur-lie aging, illustrating the Beauforts' commitment to releasing mature wines.
There is a powerful vibration inherent to Amanda Rosado, which is felt by just about everyone who tastes it. The moment I laid eyes upon the organically-farmed, 60-year-old vines of Garnacha Tintorera on an isolated parcel of chunky limestone soils, perched high above the Valle de Botijas at 850m altitude in Segovia, I understood why! Garnacha Tintorera is a deeply pigmented and wildly acidic grape, therefore ideal for rosado. Aromas of spicy, rose florals and strawberry-rhubarb are followed by a bolt of bright acidity on the palate, with tart red and black raspberries, wild strawberry, crunchy salt, and rocky minerality. A thoroughly exciting aperitif, also delicious with grilled fish or squid, tacos, and spicy food. Ariana Rolich
The 2015 vintage of Alfredo Maestro's Almate might be the most delicious yet! 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), organically farmed, primarily from high altitude vineyards in Valtiendas, near Maestro's home town of Peñafiel (the heart of the Ribera del Duero). Fermented with whole clusters in stainless steel, bottled with no SO2 additions whatsoever; aromas of wild berries, plum, bramble, and herbs open up into sweet and spicy black licorice, and blackberry sap. Juicy, jubilant wild cherry and red berry flesh fill the mouth, with bursting acidity, ripe and rustic tannins, dark earth and tobacco notes, and a very long finish. Outrageously good and unusually complex at this price point, Almate is a perfect pairing with lamb. Ariana Rolich
Winemaker Daniel Ramos said that when he and his wife drink a bottle of Pizarra, they frequently open it 3-4 days in advance. Only made in exceptional years, Pizarra is 100% Garnacha from 60 to 100+ year old vines on south-facing slate/schist vineyards at 900-975m elevation in the town of Cebreros. It is brawnier and darker than Ramos' Chorrancos cuvée, with sappy wild berries, sandalwood, and musky citrus oils alongside subtle oxidative notes, spicy wild "garrigue" of lavender, and thyme (which coincidentally grow around the vineyard), and a clear core of slatey minerals. An exceptional Garnacha (at an unusually low price) for roasted meats and root vegetables. Please decant and give this wine plenty of time to open. Ariana Rolich
El Altar is a singular Garnacha, from old vines planted on granitic sandy soils with large chunks of quartz, north-facing at 800 meters near the town of El Barraco in the Sierra de Gredos. Daniel Ramos is one of a handful of Gredos producers with a formidable understanding of and respect for the profound and varied terroirs of the region. In a region full of brilliant Garnachas, El Altar is particularly purely red-fruited, from one of the coolest parts of the region, with strawberry, cherry, red currant, and raspberry preserves, interwoven with rock rose, bergamot, resinous thyme, wild flower honey, and rainwater. Ariana Rolich
Xurxo Alba’s entry level cuvée is made from grapes sourced from multiple sites with mainly sandy soil. The fruit from each parcel is vinified separately (some in stainless steel, some in barrels) gaining structure and complexity of flavor from six months spent on the fine lees. This is Albariño the way we love it: crisp, mineral, saline, with great texture and a long finish. Ideal on its own or paired with salty snacks, or better yet, any and all crustaceans and shellfish. Eben Lillie
Xurxo Alba does it all! A miniscule amount of red wine is produced in Rías Baixas (it is hardcore Albariño and crustacean country!) and even less of it comes to our shores. Fans of red wines that taste like acid, rocks, and dirt will be delighted by O Esteiro Tinto, Xurxo's blend of (roughly equal parts) feral and earthy Caiño, austere and mineral Espadeiro, with the brambly bright berries of Mencia. This is an exhilarating wine of a terroir that we rarely experience through red wine. Ariana Rolich
Manel Avinyó of Clos Lentiscus makes the most fascinating and delicious no-added-SO2 Champagne method sparkling wines in Penedès. This one is 100% Samsó (the Catalan name for Carignan) from vines planted in 1939 in the Garraf National Park (just south of Barcelona), which Manel and his brother Joan farm organically and biodynamically. This bottling is from the 2012 vintage, fermented with native yeasts, with 25 months in bottle and disgorgement with no dosage. Carignan's raw, wild soul is finessed into a pale salmon sparkler with lots of surprises and complexity. Aromas of spice and musk and minerals with blood orange, wild strawberry, and sea breeze; the palate is dry and dense, with fresh saline and herbal notes that infuse tart yet rich flavors of apricot, cherry skins, bitter almond, blood orange, minerally earth, and purple florals, with a long finish of almond oil, maraschino, and fragrant Mediterranean herbs. Ariana Rolich
Müller-Thurgau from both estate vineyards and fruit from Stefan Steinmetz, fermented on 25% of the skins for 5-6 months. Tropical aromatics and orange oil on the nose, the palate is tart and savory with notes of golden raisin, yellow apple, sandalwood, and juicy pineapple. Cari Bernard