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Carole and Dany Chastan at the Clos du Joncuas have sent us a wonderful New Year gift - a new shipment of their superb 2015 Gigondas and Vacqueyras along with a few cases each of Gigondas from 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2012! Tasted last winter at the estate, the older wines showed beautifully and give the opportunity to taste these very traditional wines at different stages of evolution and from vintages with quite different climatic conditions. And while we have more 2015 Gigondas on reserve with the estate, this is the last of the delicious 2015 Vacqueyras "La Font de Papier" - those looking for a fabulous value in the Southern Rhone would be wise to grab some, for delicious drinking over the next ten to fifteen years...
Please Note: Wines arrive on Wednesday 12/27, 6 bottle limit on the 2005s, 3 bottle limit on the 2007 and 2010, please.
Clos du Joncuas, founded in 1920 by Pierre Auguste Chastan, has always farmed with natural methods and has been officially organic since 1980. Currently run by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the estate's Gigondas vines are on slopes below the Dentelles de Montmirail on soils of clay with dolomite and gypsum over the limestone of the Dentelles and average 40 to 90 years old. Vinifications here are entirely old-school; whole-clusters fermented with wild yeasts in cement and aged in old barrels. The wines tend to be a bit tannic when young but begin to drink well after 3 to 4 years and show beautifully at 8 to 15 years with the wonderful complexity typical of real, un-spoofilated, old-fashioned Gigondas. The 2015 vintage is a great success here, and while the wines are built to last, they possess beautiful supple fruit, and are quite balanced and bright, making them superb to drink young as well. Clos du Joncuas also has excellent parcels in neighboring Vacqueyras and Seguret. The Vacqueyras also needs three to five years of aging while the Seguret drinks well young in a more forward but still quite traditional, complex style. Rounding out their production is an oustanding Gigondas Rosé, certainly one of the finest in the Southern Rhone, and a superb Seguret Blanc made from 50% Clairette, with Roussanne and Marsanne.
2015 is a great vintage for Dany and Carole Chastan at the Clos du Joncuas, and their 2015 Esprit de Grenache is simply outstanding. Since 1900 the estate has been farmed organically and the winemaking here is completely traditional with whole-cluster fermentations and aging in old foudres. Tasted at the estate in January of 2017, the wine showed dense elegant black fruit aromas with licorice and earth. The palate is pure and long with deep blackberry flavors with olive, earth, citrus and bitter chocolate - just fantastic! As with all the 2015s here, the wine is delicious in its youthful fruit and intensity, but ten to fifteen years of aging will reveal a truly great southern Rhone Grenache. Very highly recommended! DL
Clos du Joncuas, founded in 1920 by Pierre Auguste Chastan, has always farmed with natural methods and has been officially organic since 1980. Currently run by sisters Dany and Carole Chastan, the estate's Gigondas vines are on slopes below the Dentelles de Montmirail on soils of clay with dolomite and gypsum over the limestone of the Dentelles and average 40 to 90 years old. 80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. The 2012 Gigondas is a bit lighter and brighter than the norm at Clos du Joncuas with high-toned black fruit, mineral, spice and licorice aromas. The palate is elegant and fresh showing deep supple black fruits with hints of graphite, garrigue and brown spice. After three days, recorked in the fridge, the wine has deepened impressively with pure blackberry, bitter chocolate and licorice aromas, great density on the palate with black fruit liqueur, red currant, earth and anise. A beautiful wine! Serve cool and decant many hours if drinking young, or cellar for five to fifteen years.
50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat. Subtle aromas of dried pear, lime-flower and stone. Ripe pear, peach, stone, herbal and citrus flavors on the palate. This is a bit brighter and more balanced than the 2015 - really a delicious "food" wine that will pair with a wide variety of full-flavored fish and shellfish dishes, white meats, Asian cuisines and goat cheeses.
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, on Triassic clay/limestone soils, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. Although we love this beautifully old-fashioned, organic wine in every vintage, Dany and Carole Chastan have made perhaps their best wine ever in 2015! The wine shows deep aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune, garrigue, musk and citrus, quite focused and elegant. The palate is pure, supple and balanced, even at 15% alcohol, with dense blackberry, tart cherry, red currant, spice, earth and minerals, with tart red fruits, minerals and citrus in the very long finish. This is a superb Gigondas that can be enjoyed immensely now with a steak, pork or lamb chops, Morrocan tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Cellar 10 to 15 years for a mature experience. This is a superb wine and a great value - thanks to Carole and Dany for their great farming and traditional winemaking!
Gigondas can be a bit of a minefield. It can produce great value wines which express distinctive Southern Rhône terroir, conversely it is the source of many wines which are more expressive of expensive cooperage and ambition. The resolutely old-school Clos du Joncuas produces the former. They farm organically, ferment whole cluster with native yeasts in concrete, then age the wine in large used oak casks. The ripe fruit is balanced by fairly stern tannins when young, without the sheen imbued by new oak. This is Gigondas which benefits from time in the cellar, revealing a rustic elegance. The 2005 Gigondas is in beautiful place. The rich, plummy, black fruit on the nose is balanced by notes of garrigue, meat, and a hint of coffee. The palate is rich and sappy (though not heavy), with warm, concentrated black fruits, leather, spices, and savory minerality. The tannins are still present, framing the ripeness of the fruit without drying out on the finish. A generous, sunny wine with an underlying sense of earthiness, this should be superb with cassoulet, game, or braised meats. John McIlwain
This is Gigondas at its finest! 100% Grenache from old vines, fermented in cement, and aged in large oak vats before being bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal added sulphur. It gives you that classic Grenache mustiness – like blackberries and blueberries smashed onto the forest floor – but also more fresh and delicate notes of nutmeg and strawberries. Hints of grapefruit peel, vine tomato and pine offer added depth. Given its age, it is still incredibly energetic on the palate with wonderfully resolved tannins and ripe black berry fruit. Truly a complex and delicious wine with a long life ahead of it! Tim Gagnon
What a pleasure to have some mature Gigondas on the shelf! Reviewed in 2008, Drink Rhone said, "A typical Grenache nature for the bouquet. The palate starts with clean-cut black fruit that has plenty of body. It stretches out well, the fruit keeps going and the palate ends on some mildly crisp tannin. The fruit has a mature taste, and the aftertaste reflects licorice. A traditional, no-nonsense wine that persists well. There is good style in the fruit, and the wine is authentic. Drink until 2019." Tasted in January 2017, we thought it was lovely, with mature black fruit aromas, earth, plum, blood orange, licorice and spice - really drinking beautifully. Limit 3 per customer, please. DL
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. This is a dense, old-school Gigondas that needs time. Dark purple/black color, deep blackberry aromas with earth, brown spice, prune and licorice. The palate is deep and dense with blackberry, garrigue, earth and mineral flavors framed in firm tannins and acidity Long finish of earthy minerals and black fruits. (April 2015) Tasted in January 2017 at the estate, the wine showed fabulous aromas of berry liqueur, earth, mint, garrigue and licorice; the palate was beautifully structured, deep, elegant and balanced with firm acidity and a great finish. Ten years from maturity but beautiful now with a steak if you can't wait... Bravo to the Chastan family for continuing to make wines like this!
From 80% Grenache with Syrah and Mourvedre, grown on gravelly limestone terraces, always farmed organically, whole-cluster fermention and aged in concrete vats. 2015 is a great vintage for the always lovely Vacqueyras from Carole and Dany Chastan at Clos du Joncuas. The wine shows very deep aromas of blackberry and floral strawberry compote, earth, citrus, violet and spice. The palate is supple and dense, brightened by floral notes and firm acidity, with ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit, framed in juicy acidity with a very long finish of ripe berry fruits and mineral flavors. This is a beautiful and exuberant wine, quite delicious now, served slightly cool, and it will drink beautifully over the next ten years. A joyful wine and highly recommended! DL
70% Grenache, with Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre, always farmed organically, hand harvested, whole-cluster wild yeast fermentation, aged in cement vat, un-fined, unfiltered. The 2015 Seguret shows a very dark red/black color, with aromas of ripe cherry and strawberry liqueur, prune, earth, stone and provençal spices. The palate is quite dense and supple with black berry, prune and earth with red currant and floral notes backed with firm citrusy acids, very saline and long in the finish. This is a big, solid wine that has opened up nicely over the past year, becoming softer, velvety and complex - just delicious! It will accompany steaks, chops and burgers, a daube niçoise, tagines and full flavored cheeses. It's a fabulous value for drinking over the next five years. David Lillie