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The 1996 Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre is a completely different style of wine than modern Margaux, especially in this rather cool vintage. On opening the aromas are quite subtle, slightly musty, with bright, sweet red-currant fruit with violet, earth and mineral flavors, a bit austere, but lovely. The palate is deep, firm and earthy with red currant, black cherry and mineral flavors, with brown spice, cedar and licorice. We would suggest decanting six to eight hours in advance, or cellar for ten to fifteen more years. David Lillie
The 2009 BAMA shows bright deep red/black color with lovely high-toned red fruit liqueur - strawberry, black currant and cassis, with violet and earth. The palate is dense and ripe with bright acidity - not at all heavy, but with intense black and red fruits backed by flavors of mineral and earth. On day two the bright deep fruits have become more focused and linger on the palate in the long and very mineral finish. This is quite enjoyable as a young wine, especially after a day open, unencumbered by over-extraction and new oak - but beware, this style is for those who like some earth in their Bordeaux! Best to cellar for a very long time...
The 2010 Bel Air-Marquis d'Aligre is from very old vines and also from approximately 50 year-old vines planted by M. Boyer at 10,000 plants per hectare. There is a long fermentation without extraction, the juice remains in cuve until spring, then spends 6 months in old barrels followed by two to three years in cement vat. These are wines made in the lighter "claret" style of the 19th century, although the 2010 shows an incredible density of flavor, given the less-extracted style. Upon opening the wine shows subtle aromas of earth, red currant and cherry fruit with licorice and brown spice. The palate is deep and quite expressive with black cherry, strawberry, earth, licorice and mineral flavors, quite Burgundian in texture. The finish is very long with lingering tart cherry, sous-bois and mineral flavors. After two days open (re-corked) the aromas have broadened with prune, ripe cherry, tobacco, spice and rose and the palate is intense with red and black fruit liqueur, spice box and earth and ending with lingering red fruits and firm acidity. Delicious now with a long decant, this will be an extraordinary mature wine, best perhaps 2035 - 2050. David Lillie
One of the few Bordeaux estates to be certified Organic (since 2002), Château de Bellevue has 12 hectares of Merlot and Cabernet Franc on limestone and clay near Saint-Emilion. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermentations are with wild yeasts and the wine is bottled without fining or filtration. The 2008 has a dark ruby robe with a touch of bricking on the meniscus. A bit circumspect aromatically upon opening, but a quick decant (this has a touch of sediment) offers aromas of black currant, crushed herbs, and cigar box. The palate is dry, punchy, and racy with brambly hedge fruit flavors and a long, savory, mineral finish. John McIlwain
This fantastic organically-farmed Saint Emilion is a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc, fermented in concrete tanks for 25 days and then aged for 22 months in first- and second-use barrels. With a beautiful minerality of clay and limestone, the wine shows the finesse and elegance of a great vintage. The bouquet is complex with dark berry, prune, plum, dry tobacco, cedar, violet and herbal notes and the palate is luscious with supple tannins, good acidity and a lingering finish. A delicious wine at a great value to drink with brisket, roasted lamb and hamburgers. You can also cellar the wine for several years (+7 years) if you would prefer to consume it later. Caroline Coursant
Château Massereau, an estate located in Barsac, has been farming organically since its acquisition by the Chaigneau family in 2000. Made from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Petit Verdot planted on alluvial soils, the wine ferments in concrete vats and is raised in new barriques for 18 months with minimal addition of sulfur when devatting. The new oak is "white roasted", leaving no flavors of new oak on the wine. Fresher than its 2010 vintage, the wine displays a bouquet of juicy red plums, dark and red berry, and tart cassis notes with menthol, rose petals and cedar undertones. With a beautiful structure of great acidity, precise minerality and good tannins, the wine is complex and vibrant. A great wine to drink now, this wine will pair fantastically with hamburgers, brisket, beef bourguignon, lamb shanks and hard and blue cheeses. Caroline Coursant
Le Colombier de la Métairie is Maison Blanche's second label. Certified organic and biodynamic, this wine is a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc from about 45-year-old vines located in Montagne, Saint-Émilion, Pomerol and Libourne. The soils are clay-based, with a subsoil of limestone and gravel. Fermented with native yeast, the wine is aged for 15 months in cement vats and old barrels with minimal sulfur added before bottling.
Château Cru Godard’s vines grow on southerly exposed hillsides adjacent to the Saint-Emilion appellation and geographically closer to Bergerac than to the city of Bordeaux. The wine is fermented by indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks and is then matured 50% in tank and 50% in used barriques that have seen two passages. The 2015 has a dark ruby robe. The nose offers aromas of sweet black fruits, tobacco, and cocoa. The mid-weight palate has soft flavors of black cherry, cassis, blackberry, and coffee framed by savory earth notes and fine-grained tannins. This has good sap and good freshness and cries out for hanger steak with red wine shallot sauce or lamb chops grilled pink on the inside. John McIlwain
This is a great Bordeaux to bring to your Holiday parties! Château Fonroque is a superb certified biodynamic and organic estate near Saint-Émilion. Owned by the Moueix family since 1931, the estate is a proponent of traditional wine-making techniques with hand harvesting, spontaneous yeasts, and limited use of new oak. An elegant Bordeaux with precise minerality, the wine is a blend of Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Franc (20%) of 35-year-old vines planted on limestone soils with some portions of clay on the hillside of the vineyard. The wine is fermented with native yeast in concrete vats and then aged in oak (with 30% new), keeping the freshness of the vintage. The resulting wine is a Bordeaux with energy and tension, bright calcareous minerality, great acidity and grippy tannin. On the nose, the bouquet is complex and lively with crunchy cranberry and black cherry, tart dark berries, dried tobacco leaves, Moroccan spices, earth, purple flower and savory notes. Drinking beautifully now, pair this wine with classic fare, such a steak, roasted rack of lamb, duck breast and full-flavored cheese, or age it for several years (7 years or more). Caroline Coursant
It's always a pleasure to drink a good Bordeaux such as Château La Grolet’s Tête de Cuvée, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec; it has complex fruit with deep savory layers not clouded by new oak and is certified biodynamic. The nose is dense with intense notes of fruit liqueur - strawberries and dark cherries with hints of red currants followed by turned earth and resinous herbs. The palate is firm and elegant with smooth tannins and fair acidity, showing more of a floral tone of violets and slight notes of leather. After some time open the wine begins to reveal itself; dark red fruit with figs, strong herbal character, and more pronounced florals with delicate tannins. An exciting Bordeaux that could pair well with leaner steak, pork chops on the grill, or savory chicken dishes.
This is a delicious wine from a small biodynamic estate in Fronsac, next to Pomerol and St. Emilion. A blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc, the wine displays a bouquet of ripe dark plums, crunchy cassis, tobacco, purple floral, and herbs de provence notes. With bright acidity and grippy tannins, the wine has a good complexity and persistent finish. Drink this wine now with braised duck, lamb shoulder, beef stew, or nutty blue cheese. You may also cellar the wine for several years (+5 years). Caroline Coursant
What a beautiful fresh Bordeaux! Certified organic since 2012, this estate has been making outstanding wines since the beginning, showing the expertise of the Clauzel family and superb terroir. This 2014 wine (a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc) is elegant and vibrant with a gorgeous bouquet of black and red berries, plum, exotic spices, leather and cedar box notes. On the palate, the wine is bright with acidity and minerality, and shows supple tannins with a long fresh finish. This is a vibrant Bordeaux which can accompany casual to fancy meals. Pair this wine with hamburgers, seared lamb, or with more elaborate dishes, such as roast beef or braised duck. A delicious wine to drink now or cellar for a few years. Caroline Coursant
This year's Quintessence from the famille Hubert's estate in the Cotes de Bordeaux is composed of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon from beautiful biodynamically farmed vines on clay limestone soils. The nose is dense and ripe on opening, showing ripe cassis, blackberry and raspberry, with hints of warming spice. With time open, the wine shows increasingly complex aromatic qualities, with more tobacco and earth coming through by hour 4 or 5. On the palate, the fruit is again ripe and dense, with cassis liqueur, ripe blackberry, and black cherry balanced by bristly tannins and limestone minerality on the long finish. After some time open, the palate leans more towards cacao and earth, but the ripe fruit remains dominant. A pleasure now with butter basted rib eye steak or roast beef, it will certainly improve over the next 10 to 15 years for drinking with lighter fare. Ben Fletcher
Biodynamic farming, native yeasts, wild fermentations, good value –all phrases not typically associated with Bordeaux. Yet, each year the Hubert family provides us with just that in their staple cuvee from the Côte de Blaye. The Cru Bourgeois is a blend of mostly Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and a bit of Malbec. Generously aromatic owing to the rich clay soils in which it is grown, there's ripe red fruit, black currant, and spice, with supple tannins and an undercurrent of chalky minerality. This is a great addition to the dinner table alongside grilled meat or sipped on its own. Amanda Bowman
What's atypical about this delicious wine? It's a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc rather than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, giving the wine a more supple palate and quite different fruit character. The 2017 has lovely, deep blackberry and cassis aromas with red currant, cassis and cherry on the supple, lush palate, with hints of earth and smoke. More "forward" than most Bordeaux, this versatile wine will pair beautifully with almost any beef, pork or lamb dish and is a fabulous value!