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Julie Balagny makes fun natural organic Beaujolais wines. Established in Romanèche-Thorins (near Fleurie) after moving from Paris, Julie has a total of 5 hectares in Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent. Using whole bunches, the grapes are naturally fermented followed by cold carbonic maceration and slow pressing by hand. Julie ages her wines in old barrels with no filtering and no addition of sulfur. Moulin-à-Vent “Docteur Buchaille” comes from over 100-year old vines located in Moulin-à-Vent on a steep parcel of decomposed granite and quartz with north-east exposition. The 2016 Moulin-à-Vent “Docteur Buchaille” has a beautiful structure and floral notes reminiscent of Fleurie. The wine is fresh and vibrant with great acidity and soft tannins. With some oriental spices undertones, the wine displays notes of red and dark berries, tart cranberries, and roses. This is a fun and fresh natural wine to enjoy with light fare, oriental cuisine or roasted chicken. Caroline Coursant
Alain Coudert, who took over from his father in the late 80s, produces some of the finest wines in Fleurie. Originally classified as Moulin-a-Vent, the Clos de la Roilette vines produce a somewhat more structured wine with more black fruit aromas than a "normal" Fleurie. The 2015s here, as in much of Beaujolais were high in alcohol and extremely ripe, a bit awkward in their youth and needing a few years to calm down. The 2016 Clos de la Roilette has returned to form showing a bright red/garnet color and aromas of crushed raspberry, violette and brown spice with hints of blackberry, citrus and earth. The palate retains the floral character with creamy raspberry fruit and hints of spice, leather and greens, with nice sappy length. Delicious now and quite easy to drink, although it will benefit from decanting. Serve with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork dishes and mild cheeses. As always the Coudert Clos de la Roilette will benefit from 3 to 5 years or more in the bottle as well.
The Vieilles Vignes bottlings from Georges Descombes are always among our favorite Beaujolais, and we're very happy to finally have the lovely 2014s in the store! A difficult growing season that was saved by good weather at the end of summer, 2014 produced beautifully balanced and very expressive wines in Beaujolais. The Chiroubles Vieilles Vignes shows floral, spiced strawberry and blackberry fruit, with hints of graphite, earth and citrus. Bright plum, strawberry and black fruits on the palate with rose and citrus, textured and mineral with nice length of berry fruits, bright acidity and earth in the finish. This is a lovely, beautifully balanced Chiroubles, at 12.5% alcohol, that is delicious now, best perhaps 2020 - 2025. DL
The Descombes Regnié Vieilles Vignes is superb in 2014, showing lovely aromas of red currant and strawberry, violet, orange peel, brown spice and soil. There is velvety strawberry and blackberry compote on the palate with rose, pomegranate, earth and citrus. The finish is long with lemony acidity, mineral flavors and pretty red fruits. This is a complex and beautifully balanced Regnié that is delicious now, with aeration, and it should be superb from 2020 to 2026+. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Georges Descombes, one of the finest producers in Beaujolais, captured the lush fruit of the 2015 vintage with moderate alcohol (13%), lovely aromas and silky, supple fruit on the palate. Blackberry, red currant and violet aromas with hints of meat and chocolate; the palate is quite ripe and pretty with nice balancing acidity and freshness - we miss the more delicate, complex fruit of the 2014, but this is a delicious Morgon in a riper style that will drink beautifully over the next five years. Serve with charcuterie, grilled pork and roast chicken, slightly chilled. DL
From old vines on the north-east section of the Cote du Py, semi-carbonic vinification with a longer maceration and more extraction than normal in the Beaujolais. First, suspend your traditional idea about Beaujolais and imagine a Northern Rhone wine made from Gamay in a warm vintage... Anyway, in a vintage when many Beaujolais were awkward and unbalanced, the Desvignes Morgons turned out beautifully in a quite full-bodied style. The 2015 Cote de Py shows lovely aromas of ripe blackberry with hints of violet, dark chocolate and earth. The palate is velvety and ripe with blackberry and black currant fruit with a nice chewy, earthy texture. There is nice balancing acidity and copious fruit to handle the 14% of alcohol. The wine is delicious now and should cellar well - think of the 1947s!
With a total of 13 hectares in Morgon, the Desvignes family has been doing wine since the 18th century. Organically farmed, the grapes are harvested by hand and traditionally vinified with partial destemming, semi-carbonic fermentation, slow maceration, and aging in concrete vats with minimal addition of sulfur at bottling. The Morgon Javernières cuvée comes from 30-year old Gamay vines on a beautiful parcel located on the lower side of Côte de Py, which I visited a month ago. The soil is a mix of decomposed granite with sand and iron-rich red clay. The 2015 Morgon Javernières cuvée is elegant and luscious with notes of dark cherry, blackberries, violet and rose layered with earthy, white peppery and spices undertones. With pretty acidity and supple tannins, the wine has a beautiful and long finish. This is a fantastic wine to enjoy now or in several years. Pair it with roasted light fare, Asian cuisine or vegetarian meals. Caroline Coursant
From a small hillside parcel of 50-plus year-old vines in Brouilly, certified organic. Carbonic maceration with no addition of SO2, followed by foot-pressing, gravity fed into large barrels or foudres for aging. Light Garnet/black color. The 2016, at 12.5% alcohol, is back to the style of the lovey 2014, showing pretty aromas of raspberry and red currant with bright citrus notes and smells of earth and stone. The palate is light but intense with bright raspberry and tart cherry flavors over firm acidity with citrus and earth. The finish is refreshing with lingering citrus and mineral flavors. Serve with charcuterie, fish in sauce, chicken and pork dishes or hold for 5 to 8 years as this should be a very pretty mature wine. David Lillie
Isabelle and Bruno Perraud make lovely natural wines on their small estate, certified organic in 2002, with vines in Moulin-a-Vent at "Au Vieux Bourg" in Chenas on granite soils that are high in manganese. They also make wines from purchased organic grapes from other appellatons. The 2015 Moulin-a-Vent is at 12% alcohol, very low for the vintage, and shows pretty aromas of blackberry and tart cherry, earth and citrus, lifted by bright acidity. The palate shows very earthy and bright flavors of black fruits with a firm mineral component. The volatile acidity seems a bit high, which sometimes happens with a zero sulfur wine, but gives the wine a brightness that will pair well with charcuterie and grilled foods. "Bottled without sulfur, without additives, without filtration or fining, Living wine."
We are big fans of the 2014 vintage in Beaujolais and we were very happy to get another shipment of the lovely 2014 Regnié from Joëlle and Roland Pignard. (January 1st, 2018) The wine is opening up nicely with pretty aromas of ripe strawberry and black cherry mingling with earth, rose, truffle and brown spice. The palate has softened a bit with bright strawberry, cherry and red currant over the saline minerals and earth with citrus and herbal notes. The wine is subtle and perfectly balanced at 12% alcohol - a real Regnié of terroir that will continue to improve over the next few years. Delicous wine! (Notes from August 2016 below)The Pignards' Regnié is from 50 year-old vines on alluvial clay soils, always giving a well-structured wine. The 2014 shows subtle aromas of ripe red currant and strawberry, very floral and pure. The palate is less fruity, showing stone and mineral flavors with lighter raspberry/strawberry fruit, quite elegant, and finishing with stony acidity. This will need a few years to show at its best but is delicious now in its purity and restraint. Decant if drinking now, best probably 2019 - 2023.
We're very proud to have the lovely Morgons of Roland Pignard at Chambers Street. The vines for this cuvée are 60 years old, planted at high altitude on steep hillsides in sandy clay soils over granite in the lieu-dit "les Charmes," just northwest of their home in the hamlet of Saint-Joseph above Villié-Morgon. Biodynamic farming, with no SO2 added until a minimal dose before bottling. The fermentation is with wild yeasts with a relatively short period of carbonic-maceration. The 2015 Morgon shows a vivid deep red color with complex aromas of ripe black cherry and black raspberry, wild flowers, earth and black pepper. The palate is ripe and supple with black raspberry and cherry fruit, brightened by firm acidity with hints of orange peel and brown spice. The finish is long and ripe with lingering black fruits, citrus and mineral flavors. At 13% alcohol, this beautiful Morgon shows the ripeness of the 2015 vintage but in a balanced and nuanced style with a complexity and mineral character found in few of the 2015s. Delicious now, best 2020 to 2025, but who will wait? David Lillie
The Pignard's Morgon Cuvée Tradition is ripe, dense and delicious in 2015! Good friends with Christian Ducroux, the Pignards practise similar methods of biodynamic farming and natural vinifications. Produced from hillside vineyards of sandy clay over limestone in "Les Charmes," the wine ferments naturally, with only 10mg of SO2 added before bottling and spends a year in vat followed by a year in old barriques. The wine shows aromas of blackberry liqueur with earth, spice, citrus and herbal notes. The palate is silky and supple with ripe black fruits, bitter chocolate, earth, spice and citrus - having some aspects of northern Rhone wines in this very warm, dry vintage. The finsh is long with fruit liqueur, spice and citrusy acids. This shows the density and darker fruit flavors of the 2015 vintage but in a more balanced frame at 13% alcohol. Delicious now in it's youthful intensity, probably best from 2020 to 2025. David Lillie
The Pignard's Beaujolais-Villages is from a high-elevation parcel with 40 year-old vines in sandy clay over decomposed granite. There is a very short carbonic-maceration to preserve the fresh fruit and only a tiny addition of sulfur before the bottling. The 2016 ias a subtle, elegant and well-structured Beaujolais, showing pretty aromas of raspberry, plum and tart cherry, with hints of violet, citrus and herbs. The palate shows firm acidity and saline mineral flavors, framing the blackberry and raspberry fruit, with hints of mint, spice and citrus. This is a real Beaujolais of terroir that is elegant and delicious now and will improve over the next few years. David Lillie
Jean-Paul Brun's Côte de Brouilly, from Domaine des Terres Dorées, is always a lovely wine, showing unique and very pretty aromas in a medium-bodied style. In the very ripe vintage of 2015, the wine shows elegant red currant, tart cherry and blackberry aromas with hints of earth, meat, citrus and pepper. Blackberry and black cherry fruit continue on the very earthy and mineral palate. Jean-Paul's Burgundy vinification seems to have suited the vintage, as the wine is well balanced, though certainly darker and more structured than usual. Serve cool with a steak or grilled pork and lamb, or cellar for three to five years as the wine will definitely benefit from aging. DL