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Mostly Chardonnay with about 10% Riesling thrown in for good measure (and acidity of course). This wine is vibrating with energy and freshness! Salty and mineral with just the hint of orchard fruit, this is a great wine to start your evening, a touch spritzig upon opening. Cari Bernard
A new wine from the Brothers Brand in the northern Pfalz: mostly Portugieser with Cabernet Franc making up the balance. Carbonically macerated in stainless steel, bottled after malo and left to rest in bottle for six months before making its journey over to us. No fining, no filtration, no added sulfur. The wine is a beguiling color, a mix of dark magenta, maroon, and Tyrian purple. This is a great end of summer (chillable) red; make sure you invert the bottle before opening for lees distribution, adding a creamy texture to the tart red fruits on the palate (think: cranberries, red currants, pomegranate). Cari Bernard
What an absolute treat to get to check in on this beauty from 2009! Harvest for the Auslese contained around 40% botrytised grapes from the southeast-facing Rothenpfad parcel on the Marienburg. The nose is redolent with muddled fresh mint and the wine is creamy and lively, with soft, rich peaches, honeyed pear, elegant depth and layers. Enjoy now to blow minds with your cheese course or fruit-based desserts, or hold for at least ten more years! Cari Bernard
Andreas Durst currently farms just shy of a hectare of vines, and works out of his garage in the town of Bockenheim, fairly close to the Rheinhessen border. His 'Alte Reben' bottling is from 50-year-old Sylvaner vines planted on limestone, fermented and aged in a mix of stone and steel tanks, and bottled with a low amount of sulfur. Tasted just a week ago (July 2019), the wine was showing its chalky terroir, clean and bright mineral salinity, white fruit (apples, pears), and shimmering stoniness. Cari Bernard
The Falkenstein Red is sourced from 25-year-old Pinot Noir vines planted near the estate on the Herrenberg. Grapes undergo spontaneous fermentation and the wine ages for 18 months (in Fuder of course) with enough natural acidity to stave off malolactic conversion; this makes for a fresh and bright red! Showing a subtle nose of red currants, cherries, and graphite, the wine is medium light in body with more balanced acidity than the 2016. Ripe red cherries and plum skin, raspberry coulis, blood orange and strawberries sustain on a lengthy finish. Enjoy with rustic mushroom dishes, roasted salmon, charcuterie platters, winter squash soups. Cari Bernard
Fuder Großschock Kupp
The two different Euchariusberg Spätlese bottlings (AP 6 and AP 14) are sourced from two separate parcels, found further up the Großschock slope from the plots used for the Kabinett wines. CB Fuder Klaus Lang
Yellow peach and blossoms on the nose, fruity and fun, perfect balance; the feinherbs from Falkenstein are often some of my favorite wines in the collection. This vintage is bursting with ripe nectarines, tangerines, green mango lemonade, and yes, residual sugar, but the acidity it poised to make this just the most refreshing and invigorating wine you never knew you needed. I love these wines because they are usually 10% alcohol, are incredibly affordable, and are the darling of any dinner situation they attend. Pair with Mexican food, Szechuan food, Thai, Indian, fried chicken and mac 'n' cheese, Schnitzel, most anything really, and come and tell me it's not the favorite wine of the night. Cari Bernard Fuder Palm
When first opened, the energy in the Haart Piesporter (declassified Goldtröpfchen) was practically vibrating on the palate, and only subsided to reveal a dense and beautiful silky core of fruit: just-ripe apricots and nectarine skin mixed with salted green apple slices; lemon ice and florals peeking out on the nose with time in the glass. An interesting play between weight and acidity giving structure and poise, looking forward to revisiting this in at least 7-10 years. Cari Bernard
Gernot's parcel of the Ellergrub is 2.2 hectares of ungrafted vines, over 80 years old. Farming is organic, fermentation is spontaneous, and the wine ages in a neutral oak barrels. In a shocking twist, the 2016 Ellergrub is slightly off-dry! The wine boasts a floral elegance and herbal freshness on the nose, yet is still quite dense and rich, with notes of yellow apricot, roses, and white peach skin giving way to a touch of citrus zest and strawberries on the finish. Cari Bernard
C.A.I. stands for Carl August Immich, owner of the estate in the 19th century, who used gunpowder charges to blast out part of the mountainside in order to plant vines. Grapes from vineyards in the Mosel and Saar valleys, vinified in stainless steel. Although we enjoy this every year, 2017 has been a great vintage of the C.A.I. following the leaner cut of 2016. Notes from right after bottling, last year: blue cheese and stone, vibrant and fruity with notes of Fuji apple, peach, and nectarine, such great texture, good weight but stays lively on the palate. Cari Bernard
Lauer's parcel of the Neuenberg is located on the flank of the Ayler Kupp, closer to the base of the slope. Rocks and green apple skin, lemon balm, apricot, and white florals peek through on the nose and the palate, along with green mango, peaches, and orange juice concentrate (I'm talking frozen orange juice concentrate), with a beautiful tension--a graceful push-and-pull between the racy acidity and silky fruits, with a driving mineral thread throughout. Enjoyable now, this would be a real treat to check in on in 5-10 years. Cari Bernard
Don't let the name fool you , this is Saarfeils, a Grand Cru site across the river from Ayler Kupp, with a warmer climate and higher levels of gravel in the soil. CB
The grapes for this GG come only from mid-slope Ayler Kupp, at the turn of the hill. This legendary location makes for age-worthy wines with verve and complexity. CB
This steep site basically dead-ends into a cliff above the river and I found myself walking about one-third of the way down into the vines before deciding I still had things I wanted to do with my life, and tumbling off a cliff wasn't one of them. Proximity to the river gives adequate warmth and cooling breezes to provide the key diurnal temperatures that influence acidity and expressiveness of aromatics. The soil here is mostly blue slate, which also helps to absorb the heat from the sun. Cari Bernard
Fass 15, Stirn (forehead), comes from near the top of the Ayler Kupp where the hill curves around; the meager soils, cooler climate and wind at this altitude make for a site that is often harvested last. A nose flooded with gardenias and magnolia blossoms, sorrel, stone and wild strawberries, the Stirn is singing with zesty green plum and mango, key lime zest, grapefruit, and nectarine, great balance and tension built on a mineral core. Cari Bernard
Much like the Spätlese, grapes for the Kabinett are pre-selections from multiple vineyards on Ayler Kupp. Tasting notes forthcoming...Cari Bernard
Much like the Kabinett, grapes for the Spätlese are pre-selections from multiple vineyards on Ayler Kupp. Tasting notes forthcoming...Cari Bernard
Kern is a parcel on the west-facing side of the Ayler Kupp, extending from the top to the bottom of the slope, with slate at multiple levels of erosion, warmed by the afternoon sun. When we tried the wine a few months ago, it was showing a bit more reticence than expected (but we assume that's an unfortunate side-effect from tasting suitcase-carried bottles right after arrival). Subtle notes of green herb stems, delicate florals, and juicy orange, balanced with just a hint of sweetness. We look forward to re-visiting this bottle! Cari Bernard
Lauer's parcel of the Neuenberg is located on the flank of the Ayler Kupp, closer to the base of the slope. Tasting notes forthcoming...Cari Bernard
New to the US, sourced from a parcel adjacent to Stirn on the Ayler Kupp. Fass 3 is that electric, ever-so-slightly off-dry Saar Riesling we love: bright notes of juicy tangerine and nectarine are focused and practically shimmer on the palate. A lively pairing for ceviche, fried chicken, salty snacks, dry hot pot. Cari Bernard
Another newcomer this vintage, Fass 4 is sourced from the Scheidterberg and Rauberg vineyards, located west/northwest of the town of Ayl with south/southeast exposition and much softer gradient to the slope. Fass 4 is more citrusy than the Fass 3: key lime juice, tangerines, starfruit and nectarines are punchy, light and fresh with kaleidoscopic acidity balancing the 36 g/L of residual sugar and sustaining a lengthy finish. Brilliant Riesling in all senses of the word. Cari Bernard
Biodynamic Riesling grown on loess and loam soils in the Southern Pfalz, fermented and aged in stainless steel.
Jan Matthias Klein is the 7th generation winemaker at Staffelter Hof, in Kröv, Middle Mosel, a long-standing estate with a total of 9 hectares. The 'Little Bastard' is an example of his more recent forays into natural wine. The steep, slate vineyards are farmed organically, which is not business as usual in the Mosel. Little Bastard White Blend is Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Müller-Thurgau and Muscat, all spontaneously fermented in stainless and then aged in old fuder separately. Blended and bottled unfiltered with no added sulfur, this is a delightful skin-contact white for everyday enjoyment. Just enough texture to balance the heady tropical fruit and floral notes, with flavors of peach and tart apricot coming through from the Riesling. Cari Bernard
Thorsten Melsheimer has been farming organically in the Mosel since 1995 (certified ECOVIN) and became Demeter (biodynamic) certified in 2013. The 2016 'Handwerk' is actually a blend of three different barrels: a QBA trocken, Kabinett, and Spätlese, and the sum of these parts is a delightful slightly off-dry Riesling. Just a touch reductive upon opening, the herbaceous and cooler qualities of the vintage come through on the nose and the palate along with green apple, peach, nectarine, and tart apricot. This would be fantastic paired with spicy cuisine, fried foods, or brunch (it is only 10% ABV, after all). Cari Bernard
Organically farmed, hand harvested, and spontaneously fermented in a mix of stainless steel and concrete tanks, then aged for 9 months in neutral oak; Dornfelder, Sankt Laurent, and Portugieser come together to make for a refreshingly juicy, dry chillable red, with notes of black raspberries, red plums and a undercurrent of soy sauce and meaty, mushroom umami. Delicious with grilled meats, pizza, fried chicken, burgers! Cari Bernard
Upon visiting Ulli Stein's cellar, I was impressed with the sheer number of projects he has chosen to undertake: he produces a full range of Riesling from sparkling to still, dry to sweet. He also experiments with varieties rarely seen in the region (I'm pretty sure we walked by a row or two of Sangiovese), grows several different clonal selections, and has a cellar filled with different-sized tanks and barrels: variety is key. During the visit, Ulli would walk from barrel to barrel piping samples, and would give the backstory for his inspiration for certain projects (often times born from late night conversations with friends). 'Ohne' means 'without', a title Ulli reserves for his wines made without adding sulfur, dosage, or filtering agents. The Sekt is 100% Riesling, savory, stony, austere and herbal, with oxidative notes of yellow apple and pear to round out the finish. Cari Bernard
One 600L barrel of the Sylvaner "GK" (grown on sandstone and limestone soils), fermented and then aged on the mash (skins and stems) for 18 months, bottled with low addition of SO2. Graceful, subtle texture, fresh green pear, white apple, lemon zest, with a mineral lift and finesse. A delight to drink! Cari Bernard
Schimbock is a west-facing, slightly cooler, tiny parcel of gray and blue slate terraces with ungrafted, old vines with smaller, looser bunches (less-prone to botrytis). The grapes are pressed in a basket press over the span of 18 hours, and the wine ages in old fuder (1000L), whereas Daniel's other wines age in stainless tank. Three and a half days of skin contact gives beautiful structure and balance to the notes of soft white cherry, nectarine, and underripe pineapple--delicious! Cari Bernard
A new offering this vintage, from vines in the historically renowned Trarbacher Schlossberg vineyard. Tasting notes forthcoming!
Rhini has similar terroir to the Talrain vineyard (limestone and iron-rich clay), located mid-slope on a large hill. Grapes are hand-harvested, undergo spontaneous fermentation in wood followed by two years of aging in barrique (30% new oak). Many of the barrels in use are from a cooperage in Franken. Salty raspberry seeds, herbs and incredibly grounding earthiness with just enough texture from the oak, vibrant red berries, juicy cherries, balanced by elegant acidity. Enjoy now or put down for ten years. Cari Bernard