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Our Store & Staff

Chambers Street Wines opened in June 2001, the product of David Lillie's and Jamie Wolff's idea that New York might support a shop that indulged their love for naturally made wines from artisanal small producers. There are very, very few brand names here. We choose wines that express their origins, the talent and commitment of the growers and winemakers, and the inherent quality of the vintage. Every wine we stock is tasted, retasted, debated.... this is a shop where everyone who works here actually loves wine, drinks wine with food, and knows at least a little bit about what we're selling. Particular strengths here are the Loire Valley, Burgundy and the Rhone, Piedmont, Austria and Germany; we are always working to improve our selection, and your suggestions—especially for the New World—are appreciated.

Slow Food NYC Snail of Approval. Chambers Street Wines has been selected as one of the first recipients of the Slow Food NYC Snail of Approval, for our contributions to the quality, authenticity and sustainability of the food we eat and the beverages we drink in the city of New York.



David Lillie Partner

David received his wine education schlepping cases for 15 years at Garnet Wines, one of NY’s leading discount shops on the Upper East Side. As a buyer and manager he was able to develop his interest in French wines, especially those of the Loire, Rhône and Languedoc-Roussillon. His two previous careers, growing apples in Vermont for 4 years and with a jazz orchestra for 15 years, left him with a fanatical dedication to good, inexpensive wine. His heroes in the wine business are Mark Ollivier, Catherine Roussel and François Pinon, to name just a few. David's wife first introduced him to Loire Valley wines back in 1977, and they have three quite grown children, Georgia, Eben and Julia. He would like to thank Eben, who was part of Chambers Street in the beginning and whose hard work and good cheer helped us through the months after 9/11.

David Lillie's Reccommendations
Luneau-Papin 2005 Muscadet Sevre et Maine "L" d'Or

Another great effort from the Luneau-Papin family, and not much stock remains of this excellent vintage. This has fantastic stony weight on the palate with lovely lemon, thyme, anise, mushroom and mineral flavors. A beautfully balanced wine that is a joy to drink now but in 10 years it will be fantastic!

white  |  11 in stock  |  $32.99
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Jamie Wolff Partner

I grew up drinking French wine, but had a real epiphany with a bottle of Robert Chevillon's 1985 Nuits Chaignots. Eight years of owning a house in the central Loire Valley (in Touraine, near Cheverny), gave me a chance to get to know both the region and the feeling of living with wine, and also gave me the confidence to propose forming a partnership with M. Loire himself, David Lillie. Before meeting David, I spent five years in the salt mines of Christie's Wine Department - a somewhat thankless job made fabulous by the incredible range of mature wine, mostly Bordeaux, that I tasted on the job. My subsequent discovery of the natural affinity between Burgundy and Piedmont has produced a serious Nebbiolo problem, though Riesling, Gruner Veltliner, and Chablis will usually make me sit up and take notice. There's so much good wine in this store that it's getting hard to choose.

Jamie Wolff's Reccommendations
Giol 2012 Prosecco Sur Lie (organic, no so2)

We are crazy for the amazing Proseccos from Casa Coste Piane and Costaldila – wines made by the very old school method of a second fermentation in the bottle. Conventional Prosecco is made by adding CO2 gas in a pressurized tank. The results can be very tasty, but we do love the good fermented-in-the-bottle versions, since the process yields a finer bubble, and a lot more complexity and flavor. Thus we are delighted with the Giol Prosecco – the price would be enough to make us happy. It’s a bit fresher and a bit lighter than the two mentioned above, but this isn’t a bad thing at all – it’s nice to have an easy going wine that is also pretty serious. JW

 

white sparkling  |  48 in stock  |  $13.99
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Costadila 2012 Bianco Veneto IGT Vino Frizzante Unfiltered

white sparkling  |  49 in stock  |  $20.99
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Oddero 1999 Barolo Vigna Rionda

red  |  14 in stock  |  $129.99
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Mary Sophia "Sophie" Barrett Manager

Sophie worked in kitchens throughout her college career in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. At her third restaurant, she took an active role in wine evaluation and became curious about wine and its crucial role at the table. After leaving the restaurant world, Sophie began selling wine at A Southern Season, one of the southeast’s leading retailers specializing in old world wine. As her passion developed, she began to dream of relocation to New York and immersion in the rich food and wine culture of the metropolis and she eventually effectuated the move. After a year as the assistant wine buyer at Astor Wines and Spirits, Sophie was offered an opportunity to become part of Chambers Street, a store that she had, for years, admired from afar. In addition to a deep love of Cru Beaujolais, Sophie has a particular fondness for wines of the Jura and the Languedoc and has spent time in both regions.

Mary Sophia "Sophie" Barrett's Reccommendations
Diebolt Vallois NV Champagne Brut Prestige Blanc de Blancs

This edition of Diebolt Cuvée Prestige is 30% 2009 and 70% 2010, vinified in barrel. The fruit comes from Cramant, Chouilly, and Mesnil. Upon first opening, the wine is creamy textured, lemony and almost lemon curd-y. When the bottle had been open for several hours it truly begins to sing. The dosage recedes to the background and the wine’s chalkiness, which shows most on the palate, really shines through. This is a fantastic effort, an age-worthy wine that also drinks just beautifully now; it's a Champagne that is both classy and powerful. -msb

white sparkling  |  6 in stock  |  $56.99
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Knauss 2012 Württemberg Trollinger 1 Liter

For a light, happy red that can be easily drunk in far more quantity than is appropriate, the Trollinger from Andi Knauss in Württemberg has quickly become my favorite in the store. Plus, it comes in a handy 1-liter size so the party just keeps on going and going. Seriously, though, this wine is made of what the Italians would call Schiava, but to us it's more like a fresh Poulsard or Beaujolais-Villages. There's acidity to spare but it's tempered by a burst of bright, juicy, brilliant fruit. Not only is it a crazy value, it's also coming to mind as we start to think about Thanksgiving around the corner. JFR

red  |  29 in stock  |  $17.99
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Ariana Rolich Sales/Spanish Buyer

Candela M. Prol Sales

After working as a chef and then a baker in Rhode Island, she joined the Pier House Hotel as Sommeliere and then became the manager of the Cafe at Louie's Backyard, both in Key West, Florida. She has represented the Lenz, Palmer and Paumanok wineries in North Fork, Long Island. In 1997, she received the Wine & Spirit Education Trust Diploma from the International Wine Center where she has also taught the class "Aromas of Wine". She is currently teaching the Wine & Spirit Education Trust: Intermediate, Advanced Certificates and Diploma classes. Candela is also the Professor of Wine Instruction for the Hospitality Department at the New York School of Technology. She is a Certified Wine Educator from Society of Wine Educators, Washington, DC. In Key West, Florida she is the Wine Educator for Louie's Backyard Restaurant, she teaches wine classes at the Restaurant Store, and writes a seasonal wine column for Solares Hil. At Chambers Street Wines she selects the Spanish and Portuguese wines and she is available to conduct corporate, public and private wine events.

Eben Lillie Sales

John B. Truax Sales

My professional wine education began in the early eighties as the sommelier at Chez Maria, a French Vietnamese restaurant in Georgetown. It was one of the very first wine bars in the country, and its proprietor, Roger Grison, taught me about regional French wine and Indochinese food. After that experience, I was hooked. Many wine bars and retail outlets later I find myself here at Chambers Street Wines. I am an enthusiastic amateur chef who strives to achieve harmony between food and wine. Every year I travel to different vineyards to taste. There is one place I consider my home away from home: Burgundy, one of the most terroir driven of all wine regions. Wine is an immense subject and a matter of personal taste. It's an endless debate with no absolute answers, a truly delicious and invigorating intellectual and gustatory challenge everyday.

John B. Truax's Reccommendations
John Rankin Sales

John offers, “When I first took a job at Chambers Street Wines over three years ago, I had no idea that I would still be here now. I first applied as a stock and delivery worker in the back room. Before long I was completely entranced with the world of natural wine. Finding wines like Stephane Guion's Bourgueil for $10.99 showed me that wine could be honest, delicious, and not only affordable to well-to-do bankers. From there I was hooked on the fresh and complex flavors of natural wines of the Loire.” It did not take long to amass a library of books, branching out to Beaujolais, the Mosel, Piedmont, Sicily, Burgundy, and the Rhone, and before long, John was hooked. John also buys all of the spirits, and assists in purchasing for other areas of the store. In January of 2010 John had the opportunity to travel to the Loire Valley and Beaujolais with the wonderful people of LDM Imports, and then in 2011 and 2012 has visited many of Italy’s most famous regions. A growing obsession with spirits has even led him to the far-flung islands of Jura and Islay to visit some of the world’s greatest distilleries.

John Rankin's Reccommendations
Varnelli Amaro "Sibilla" 1L

Named after the impressive mountain range in the Southwestern corner of the Marche, this spirit is a must-try for Amaro fans. The flavor profile definitely leans toward the drier, more herbaceous end of the spectrum and will seem quite bitter if you are used to Averna or Montenegro. The botanicals are wood smoked before maceration which adds a degree of complexity seldom found in Amari. Mountain honey is used sparingly to balance the bitter flavors. I have found Sibillia to be a delicious digestive, but also quite delightful at the shore when mixed with tonic and an orange rind. JR

herb liqueur  |  1 in stock  |  $52.99
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Sipsmith London Dry Gin 750

London doubled its urban gin distilleries several years ago with the addition of Sipsmith’s copper pot stills.  Although most gin drinkers are familiar with the phrase “London Dry”, they may be surprised to learn that when Sipsmith opened, the only other distillery within London city limits was Beefeater, and Beefeater makes more gin in a day than Sipsmith will in an entire year.  Sipsmith has a richness that immediately distinguishes it from many other gins.  This makes it the perfect ingredient in classic cocktails like a Martini or gin-and-tonic, which when made with Sipsmith have an enhanced weight and sense of balance.  The gin tastes most strongly of fresh juniper, putting it squarely in the “London Dry” camp, but playing in the background are spicy notes of coriander and very lively citrus peel.  We hear rumors that the future may bring a Pimm’s Cup-style spirit from Sipsmith… JR

gin  |  8 in stock  |  $42.99
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La Marca di San Michele 2012 IGP Marche Bianco Verdicchio Capovolto

La Marca di San Michele has 6 hectares (about 14 acres) of certified organic vines, and their work in the cellar follows the same principles, with very moderate use of sulphur in the vines and in winemaking.

The results are strikingly good, and remind us of the first Verdicchio we tasted (a very long time ago!) when we were in the Marche and were invited to a family meal at a small winemaker’s home. Good Verdicchio means subtle aromatics – a bit of lemon, walnut, hay, stony earth – which carry through on the palate. Good Verdicchio may not be a flamboyant wine, but it offers lots of pleasure, and it’s a great food wine, reminiscent of some the Loire Valley’s best whites; we all know what a great pairing those make, especially for seafood and salads, and other lighter dishes.

white  |  47 in stock  |  $16.99
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John Ritchie Sales

Originally hailing from the San Francisco Bay area, John (appropriately named among the four Johns working at CSW) wasn't bitten by the wine bug until moving far from Northern California and its world-famous, wine-producing counties. After time spent studying music in sunny Los Angeles and chilly Rochester, NY, he moved to the city to pursue a career in music but found wine retail to be much more profitable and stable (as well as an industry that isn't involved in a long-term implosion). After exploring low-end retail, high-end retail, really high-end auction houses and other various wine niches, he has found a suitable home at Chambers Street. Here his geekier inclinations and passions for both wine and music are not only tolerated but actually encouraged, and he couldn't be happier. He continues to play saxophone around town as much as he can and loves his wife very much. John is also the buyer for the German and Austrian sections at Chambers Street Wines.

John Ritchie's Reccommendations
Georges Laval NV Champagne Cumieres Premier Cru Brut Nature ('10 base)

Domaine George Laval is the epitome of a tiny, artisan estate. The estate is just 2.5 hectares in the 1er Cru village of Cumieres, close to Ambonnay and Bouzy but with full southern exposition. Vincent Laval makes a miniscule amount of extremely terroir-driven wine (we are one of the few places in NY offering Laval). The estate has been organic since 1971 and is certified with Ecocert. Fermentation takes place in barrel with indigenous yeasts; there is no fining, filtration or cold-stabilization, and minimal use of sulfur. It is 50% Chardonnay and then split between Pinot Noir and Meunier. This edition of the Cumières is based on the steely 2010 vintage. The wine smells like delicate wildflower honey and fresh cut grass. It's extremely mineral-driven and resonant on the palate, and very chalky on the finish. Brut Nature Champagne lovers dream come true... (disgorged April 2013)  MSB

white sparkling  |  3 in stock  |  $79.99
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Lahaye, Benoit NV Champagne Brut Naturessence

Equal parts Chardonnay from Tauxières and Voipreux and Pinot Noir from Ambonnay and Bouzy from 45-60 year old vines, vinified in barrels from biodynamic master Benoit Lahaye?!? Yes, please! Sign us up. This is the kind of Champagne that we love: vinous, complex, and deserving of time to open up as well as ample comtemplation. This rendition of Naturessence is based on the 2006 and 2007 vintages and shows both roundness of texture from barrel maturation and intense cut from low dosage and absence of malo-lactic fermentation. At a loss for our own words, we'll add a brief note from Champagne expert Peter Liem: "This is a wine of uncommonly subtle refinement and expression, and also one that is easily overlooked—spend some time with it and allow it to reveal its full potential." We certainly could not have said it better ourselves. MSB

white sparkling  |  3 in stock  |  $74.99
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Braulio Amaro Alpino 750ml

herb digestive  |  18 in stock  |  $31.99
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Bera 2010 Barbera D'Asti Ronco Malo

Forget what you know what you might think about Barbera: that they are all simple, grapy, fruit-driven wines without any character.  Instead, consider the savory and complete Barbera Ronco Malo from the Bera’s organic farm in Asti.  We first met the Beras through their phenomenal Moscato d’Asti - a phrase we don’t say often - but now have a new tableside companion for risottos and other Piedmont specialties demanding red wine.  Native fermentation and a lack of filtration produce a wine with robust aromatics of herb and berries and a long earthy finish.  JR

red  |  1 in stock  |  $24.99
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Muster, Sepp 2010 Steiermark Gelber Muskateller 'Vom Opok'

white  |  6 in stock  |  $32.99
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Schloss Gobelsburg 2010 Kamptal Riesling Tradition Reserve

white  |  3 in stock  |  $51.99
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Jonathan Kemp Sales

Stephanie Wallace Sales

Following lengthy stints in academic libraries and freelance web development, Stephanie’s culinary inclinations rose to the fore after chance exposure to single-estate chocolate in Cambridge, MA. She subsequently spent several years working as a chocolate buyer in Chapel Hill, NC while honing her tempering and emulsifying chops; though her tempestuous affair with chocolate eventually led to separation, her unwillingness to sever ties with terroir led to a natural transition into the wine industry. She worked at Astor Wines & Spirits for two years as Rare & Artisanal Wine Consultant. She currently helps to source old vintages for Chamber Street Wines and has become the wizard behind everything tech. She continues to experiment with macarons and confiserie in her Brooklyn kitchen.

Stephanie Wallace's Reccommendations
Pascal, Franck NV Coteau Champenois Rouge Confiance

PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS A STILL RED WINE. Perhaps my favorite wine from the current Pascal lineup, Confiance is blend of Pinot Meunier (80%) and Pinot Noir (20%) from the 2007 and 2008 vintages. Tightly coiled upon opening, a couple of hours of oxygen exposure reveal intense Nebbiolo-like florality, smoke and chalky minerality.

red  |  7 in stock  |  $61.99
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