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The “AK 400” Gamay comes from a beautiful .3 hectare parcel of un-trellised vines near the village of Monthou-sur-Cher. The vines, planted by Bruno’s grandfather, are between 40 and 50 years old, and grow on a combination of clay/limestone and silex. Rather interestingly, they are not the typical Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc vines found in Beaujolais and much of the Loire, but an ancient offshoot called gamay teinturier, which is typically much darker and richer. Indeed, this an intense and brooding example of Loire Valley gamay, with rich, dark berry fruit framed by relatively firm tannins (for gamay) and a lovely bright acidity. This showed really well with a Japanese curry dish, the slight honey in the sauce revealing an earthy molasses note in the wine, and I wouldn’t hesitate pairing it with your summer barbeque. Oskar Kostecki
We always enjoy the festive wines from Bruno Allion. This one is made from Côt, Cabernet Franc, Gamay, and Pineau d'Aunis. In the glass this cuvée shows a dusty red rose with a fringe of bubbly lace. The palate is off-dry, with just a light touch of sweet florals pinned to an elegant structure. Notes of wild strawberry, and subtle hints of tart blackberry make for a great pairing with creamy, and salty cheeses and charcuterie. Amanda Bowman
Anjou last year, Vin de France this year (the mystery of the Appellation board!), this is Chenin Blanc from Anjou, whether or not it's on the label. Dense, and crystalline, witn mint flower and and cooked apples on the nose, a touch of honeysuckle and vanilla on the palate. Stones, herbs, and a touch of refreshing salinity in the super long finish. This is truly a young wine, and a big expression of Chenin. A fascinating bottle to have over several days. One really gets the sense that this young Thomas Batardiere is getting very comfortable and connected with his vineyards.Drink now with a proper decant or put it away for a while! Eben Lillie
* This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
The 2014 Croix Boissée Rouge is a magnificent wine. We have tasted the wine from barrel on three different occasions and it's definitely one of the best wines the Baudrys have ever made ("our best since 2010,"says Matthieu), and one of the very best reds of the Loire Valley in 2014. The wine received a more than two year elevage in young barrels, none were new, and was bottled with only 10mg of SO2. Last tasted in January of 2017, the wine showed superb, pure aromas of black fruits and violets. The palate was dense and chalky, with meaty black fruits with remarkable purity and length and perfect structure for aging. This will obviously open up to become a complex and beautiful mature wine, probably best from 2025 to 2040. We look forward to opening a bottle on arrival for a more detailed description. 3 bottle limit, please. (While one may not think of the Baudrys as "natural" wine producers, their farming is totally organic, their vinifications are without extraction, and without SO2 added until bottling - only 10 mg per liter. David Lillie
We're very excited about the arrival of the superb 2014 Chinon "Cuvee Domaine" from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry. All Cabernet Franc of course, a blend of 75% from a parcel in St. Louans, where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, with 25% from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentation, aging in 5 to 10 year-old wooden vats and casks. Tasted from barrel in February of 2016 the wine was quite beautiful , if a bit closed, showing lovely pure red fruit aromas with a supple, ripe palate, very deep and long and framed in perfect earthy acidity. Upon arrival in NY (October 2016), the wine is singing, with aromas of wild strawberry and red currant with white pepper, earth and cocoa. The palate is fresh and balanced with pretty red fruits, earth and citrus notes, really long and lovely. This will be a superb and unique Chinon, both to drink young and for cellaring of fifteen to twenty years. Serve cool with roast chicken, pork dishes, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses. Highly recommended. DL (Those who want a bit of the mature experience should: open the bottle, taste - yum - re-cork and put in fridge; wait three days, enjoy!) Featured in the NY Times "20 Wines Under $20" 01/12/17
Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permitted a tiny separate production from franc de pied vines, now mostly deceased) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barriques, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. In 2014, the Baudrys produced superb wines with perfect balance and lovely, pure fruit. Their precise vinifications, matched to each different terroir, with no new oak, minimal sulfur, and elevage of the right length and in the right barrel, foudre or vat, gave elegant and delicous results. The 2014 Clos Guillot is a black/purple color with red rim, showing intense aromas of red currant, boysenberry, blackberry, fines herbs, citrus and stone with hints of dark chocolate and musk. The palate shows bright, lush, sappy red and black fruits with bright acidity lifting the flavors and coating the palate with citrusy red fruits, saline minerals and wet stone. Beautiful wine! Case quantities are possible, but don't delay. DL
The Belliviere Coteaux du Loir Vieilles Vignes Eparses is a great Chenin Blanc, often equal in quality to the Jasnieres Calligramme. From 50 to 80 year-old vines on limestone with flinty clay soils, with yields of 25 hl/ha. Beautiful floral, herbal white fruit aromas. The palate is ripe and complex but with terrific acidity and mineral flavors and great length, Really a great Chenin that can be enjoyed now and it will age beautifully. Not inexpensive but very much worth the price... This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
The Belliviere Calligramme is one of the greatest Chenin Blancs of France and it's superb in 2011, showing less residual sugar than in some vintages but still quite full and ample in style. From old vines on south-facing slopes of clay and flint over limestone descending to the Loir. 20 months in 600 liter used barriques. Remarkably complex herbal, floral, stony white fruit aromas. Sensational balance, length and mineral acidity on the palate.This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
"Thibaud Boudignon is originally from Bordeaux - he honed his winemaking craft while working at Philipe Charlopin in Gevrey-Chambertin during the early 2000s. He was shortly thereafter hired by Savennières producer Chateau Soucherie to be their winemaker in the late 2000s. His first and most important contribution to the estate was the introduction of strict organic practices in the vineyards which, along with his immense winemaking skills, elevated this already historic domaine to new heights. It was in 2009 that he began to make wine under his own name from a scant 3.5 ha in the heart of Anjou and Savennieres. Knowing that the quality of his fruit was of most importance, he committed himself absolutely to the health of his vines, choosing to farm organically and spends the majority of his time in the vineyards. His devotion paid off quickly, for in just a few vintages, his name began to circulate among Loire growers, eventually to top restaurants in Paris, and finally overseas. The speed at which he has garnered so much praise speaks to the remarkable quality of his wines. The Savennieres is of course 100% Chenin Blanc, from the lieu-dit of ‘Les Fougerais’ in the heart of Savennieres – near Coulée de Serrant and La Roche aux Moines. High density plantings of 45 year old vines grown on grey schist and rhyolite (volcanic soil). Indigenous yeast fermentation, no malo." - Importer Michael Skurnik (This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.)
This delicious Bourgueil is from young vines on clay and gravel soils over limestone, harvested by hand into small baskets and vinified to extract the primary aromas. Trinch is particularly yummy in 2015, a sunny vintage bringing wines with lush, supple fruit, and a bit less acidity than the norm. The color is dense red/black with deep aromas of blackberry, violet and bitter chocolate with a hint of roast meat. Intense black fruits on the palate with earthy, saline minerals, musk and citrus, very supple and ripe with a nice bright finish. This is a great thirst-quenching Bourgueil to serve cool with charcuterie, roast chicken, pork and full-flavored cheeses.
The 2010 Le Clos from Vincent Careme is a superb off-dry Vouvray (20 grams/liter of RS) that is a bit softer than the wonderful 2008, showing brilliant aromas of lime-flower, white and yellow fruits, spice, lemon and stone with a hint of marzipan, really lovely! The palate is very mineral with stone, lemon, honeysuckle and herbal flavors with firm acidity and a long creamy finish. This is a great young Vouvray to serve with fish or chicken in sauce, foie gras and mild cheeses, or cellar for twenty years for a mature experience...
This is usually our favorite wine from François and Manuela Chidaine, long-time champions of organic and biodynamic farming in the Loire Valley. Named after the soil type "Les Bournais," a unique clay topsoil over limestone (tuffeau blanche) also found across the river in Vouvray. The 2014 is a beautiful example of this wine with lovely aromas of lemon confit, kiwi, pear, lime-flower, honey and earth, with even a bit of red fruit as well. Chalky ripe pear and citrus on the palate with terrific length of stone, white fruits and lemon peel. This is a great Montlouis that will perfectly accompany fish or chicken in sauce, Asian foods and mild cheeses. It's delicious now, and should be very interesting after ten to fifteen years in the cellar...
The Chidaines's Montlouis "les Tuffeaux" is superb in 2015 with firm acidity giving brightness to the honeyed white fuits and citrus flavors. This is a delicious and beautifully balanced demi-sec at 16 grams of residual sugar per liter - it will accompany fish in sauce, pork and veal dishes and Asian cuisines. (This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.)
From 3 hectares of clay and silex soils over limestone, vines of 30 to 90 years old. Biodynamic farming with varieties of beneficial plants between the vines, long wild-yeast fermentation in 600 liter barrels. Approximately 3 grams per liter RS. This very dry cuvée from the Chidaines showed beautifully, (Feb 2017) with elegant subtle aromas of stone, citrus peel and dried white fruits. The palate is scintillating and tight showing more mineral flavors than fruit, with terrific length. Serve now with oysters and grilled fish, or wait a few years to serve eith fish and chicken in sauce. A great Value! David Lillie This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.Our friend Francois Pinon feels that the best expression of Chenin Blanc is often somewhere between sec and demi-sec, sometimes called "Tradition," and this lovely wine, at 14 grams of residual sugar and 12.5% alcohol, fits the bill perfectly. The Clos Habert is a 3 hectare parcel on clay with silex stones ("Les Peruches") over the white limestone Tuffeau. Full and elegant with white fruits, citrus and stone, this beautfully structured and crystalline Chenin Blanc will accompany fish and chicken in sauce, Asian foods and goat cheeses and will age wonderfully for fifteen to 20 years.
We list the "Les Argiles" as Vouvray, but technically it's Vin de France as the Chidaines dare to vinify it in Montlouis rather than in Vouvray. From 40 year-old vines on deep clay soils over the limestone "tuffeau." The wine is lovely, quite dry with less than 2 grams RS, really elegant, with aromas of citrus, dried herbs, pear and stone. The palate shows pear and quince, with saline stone flavors and excellent length. (This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.)
The Domaine du Closel "Caillardières" is a demi-sec Savennières that we have enjoyed immensely in the past - we're glad to see it back in the US and we can't wait to try it! "The grapes are harvested later ; the berries are golden, producing wines with aromas of baked apple, exotic fruits, raisins and toasted almonds. That terroir gives the wine a very silky texture, characteristic of these sandstone schist parcels. This wine is vinified and aged in barrels (French oak, 12 months) and reveals through natural micro-oxygenation this slightly bitter aftertaste that will give an interesting body to the wine. Rather smooth on the palate this wine has character. It pairs very well with artichokes or asparagus, other vegetables difficult to pair with wine. It is also popular with sweet and savory dishes such as veal stew with orange, monkfish with honey and cider vinegar, roasted pork with pineapple." - from the Domaine du Closel website.
The 2015 Clos du Papillon has just arrived in NY - it promises to be a great vintage for this wonderful Savennières, certainly one of the top wines of the appellation. We will post a tasting note ASAP, meanwhile here is information from the domain's website: "The Clos du papillon is a small valley at mid slope, beautifully exposed southwest to the light of the Loire. There are schist, rhyolite but also quartz. The topsoil layer is very shallow (60 cm) which provides excellent drainage for rainwater. The vine growing conditions are difficult, forcing it to develop its roots deep in the rock cracks to draw nutrients. The climate in that parcel allows for a level of highly advanced maturity. With grapes that concentrate aromas under the action of Botrytis. The Clos du papillon is harvested in two selections : The first selection during the « Fresh Fruit aroma » period and the second one later with some botrytis during the « cooked fruit, quince and smoked aromas » period. Both selections are put in barrels and assembled 16 months later. The wine then remains a few months in vats. This assemblage of the two styles of grapes results in a full bodied wine, with a citrus finish on very first attack, followed by sensations of ripe and exotic fruit with a very distinguished touch of bitterness or toasted almonds on the finish. The long aging on the lees gives it a nice smoothness. The « brandy » nose is characterized by aromas of evolution. The body and the very long finish make the Clos du Papillon a gastronomic wine to accompany lobster, scallops, smoked fish, Turbots, Saint Peter. It is also interesting with delicate white meats such as veal or capon, along with truffles or mushrooms. Classic mountain cheeses like old Salers, or 5 to 6 years old Comté are equally delicious with this great Savennières."
This offering from Deboutbertin is 100% Grolleau from a parcel on Schiste and sandstone, from vines that were planted in 1950. The vineyard is tiny, at 25 ares (a bit more than a half-acre), and yields are quite low, at about 20hl/ha. The 2015 is a bit more elegant than the previous vintage, with really fine tannin and a long finish. There's a hint of "barnyard" on the nose, with plenty of the vibrant fruit on the palate, and though it's relatively dark in the glass, at 10.5% alcohol, it's super easy to drink! Serve with a slight chill. Eben Lillie
Guy Bossard is one of the heroes of French viticulture, having rejected modern chemical farming upon assuming the family estate, becoming certified organic in 1972, then progressing to Biodynamic farming in 1996. And this in a region where there was little recognition or financial reward for his intense work and the higher quality of his wines. Happily, Guy has been an inspiration for many growers in the region and is still producing superb wines, while in semi-retirement, with his new associate Fred Niger Van Herck. 2012 and 2013 were problematic in one way or another for growers in Muscadet, but the wines from 2012, a very low-yielding year, are by far the best with great density, lovely fruit and superb mineral expression. The Domaine de l'Ecu 2012 "Granite" is particularly outstanding. As usual with this cuvée it's a bit musty and closed when first opened — decanting is advised — followed by aromas of dusty stone, lemon flower and pear. The palate is dense and vibrant with flint, saline minerals, bitter almond and sharp herbal/citrus flavors with firm acidity in the long stony finish. A bit more open and accessible than some vintages of Granite but with ample structure and acidity for aging — perhaps best 2019 to 2029. Bravo to Guy and Fred!
Guy Bossard is one of the heroes of French viticulture, having rejected modern chemical farming upon assuming the family estate, becoming certified organic in 1972, then progressing to Biodynamic farming in 1996. And this in a region where there was little recognition or financial reward for his intense work and the higher quality of his wines. Happily, Guy has been an inspiration for many growers in the region and is still producing superb wines, while in semi-retirement, with his new associate Fred Niger Van Herck. The Domaine de l'Ecu 2015 "Granite" is particularly outstanding. As usual with this cuvée it's a bit musty and closed when first opened — decanting is advised — followed by aromas of lemon peel, dried pear, wet stone and lime-flower with hints of almond and petrol. The palate is dense and very long in this ripe vintage with intense stony flavors, pear, citrus and anis. A bit more open and accessible than some vintages of Granite but with ample structure and acidity for aging — perhaps best 2020 to 2029. Serve this summer with oysters, cod and sole, then with richer dishes after the wine matures. Bravo to Guy and Fred!
A delicious demi-sec Chenin Blanc from Alain and Christine Bore! Honey-tinged and luscious on the nose with baked peaches, mango, pineapple, lime zest, heather, red delicious apple skin, and tangerine. Mellow and round on the palate, but balanced with exotic tropical fruits, lemon meringue, salty pineapple, honey, and Marcona almond. Tropical fruit and grapefruit endure on the finish, along with a sweetness that is never cloying. Pair with all kinds of dessert, but a summery fruit tart would be best! Tim Gagnon
The Domaine du Fresche is a certified organic estate in Anjou producing delightful, fresh, vivacious wines from Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Grolleau. This lovely rosé of Grolleau and Pinot Noir comes from hand-harvested fruit and is vinified with wild yeasts giving pretty aromas of ripe red currant, blood orange and strawberry. The palate shows silky, pure fruit - red currant with hints of watermelon and citrus and finishes with round red fruits and juicy acidity. A lovely wine and a great value. Thanks to Alain and Christine Bore at Domaine du Fresche!
If you have a sweet tooth, this Chenin is for you! Bonnezeaux is one of a few sweet wine appellations in the Loire Valley, where grapes are required to be over-ripe, and are sometimes affected by noble rot. "Le Malabé" has about 130 grams of residual sugar, but I honestly thought it was about 80g when I first tasted this wine, thanks to the high acidity and the ample minerality that the schiste soils provide. Just bringing the wine to the nose, one is greeted with honey, quince and with some subtle sweet spice aromas that tickle the senses. On the palate, it's dense, ripe and absolutely delicious. Francois from Grandes Vignes mentioned to me that 2013 was OK for reds in the Loire, very good for their dry Chenin Blanc, and exceptional for the sweet wines. Case in point! Drink now if you're craving sometime sweet, or age for decades. Eben Lillie
Chenin Blanc fermented and aged in amphora with no sulfur added. It's not a common occurrence, but we're very happy to have the opportunity to share this unique wine. The nose is floral, and stony, with hints of stone fruit, but the really fascinating aspect of the wine is the texture. Just letting the wine sit on the palate, I experienced earthiness (possible, but rare for a white wine), crystalline acidity, density in the mid-palate, and a long, mineral finish. Highly recommended for Chenin aficionados and those who are interested in the growing category of amphora wines. Eben Lillie
This is classic Pineau D'Aunis, but with considerable structure compared to many of the ethereal, light expressions of the variety. Notes of black currant, and brambly red rasberry, with stony minerality and a tannic backbone. A bit reminiscent of the Pineau D'Aunis from Eric Nicolas at Domaine Belliviere, it'll be interesting to see how this wine develops in the bottle over the next 3-5 years. I probably won't be holding onto any, but those with more self-control will likely be rewarded. Eben Lillie
A superb and seamless blend of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Gamay. A melange of red and black fruits, forward and supple but with good balancing acidity. This is a great value — serve cool with roast chicken, charcuterie, goat cheese... Young Coralie and Damien Delecheneau are working as naturally as possible and making lovely wines in Montlouis and Touiraine.This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
From 40 to 80 year-old vines on clay over limestone soils around Benais in Bourgueil. Certified organic since 1965! By now the great work of Stephane Guion needs no introduction to CSW customers, but the quality of his 2014 Cuvée Prestige deserves special attention. The wine is perfectly balanced, with the high acidity and mineral content always present in Stephane's wines framed by precisely ripe and supple fruit with depth and elegance. The aromas show raspberry and blackberry liqueur with hints of dark chocolate, earth and licorice, ripe but bright. Supple, ripe berry fruits on the palate with fine tannins and citrusy acids, deep and intense but forward and delicious now. This wine will drink beautifully over the next 20 years or longer and is highly recommended.
From 80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 18 month elevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.Usually the most forward and appropriate for early drinking, this wine is beautifully balanced with lovely mineral infused apple/quice fruit and a long finish. Drink it young if you must, but put some away if you can...DL.
2015 Le Haut Lieu Moelleux: 12.5% alc, 45 gr/l RS. A very graceful wine. Ripe mango, pineapple stalk, candied grapefruit peel, lychee, and a hint of wool rise from the glass. The palate perfectly balances opulent fruit and sweetness with bright acidity and a scintillating texture. Although approachable now, it'd be great in 5-7 years. Tim Gagnon
*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.Le Haut-Lieu—The original Huët vineyard is nearly 9 hectares. It has the richest soils of the domaine’s three crus—a deep limestone-clay—and the wines are generally the estate’s most approachable. In some vintages, small quantities from nearby estate parcels may be added to Le Haut-Lieu." 2015 Le Haut Lieu: 13% alcohol, 6 grams/liter RS, 5.6 gr/l acidity.
*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day."Undisputably a grand cru vineyard, Le Mont enjoys a choice site on the Première Côte. With less clay and more stone than Le Haut-Lieu, including a high content of green mica, Le Mont yields young wines of intense minerality and often the most linear and precise wine in the Huet lineup. With age, the wines develop great length and finesse." 2015 Le Mont Sec: 13% alc, 7 gr/l RS, 5.5 gr/l acidity.
Lise & Bertrand's 'Version Longue' is sourced from the same two terroirs in Montlouis as the Chenin Blanc for their regular 1er Rendez-Vous but with an extra year of elevage in large used barrels. Vines are a mix of 40 and 70 years old; soils are a combination of sand, silex, and clay over limestone. The 2014 is very bright and mineral, with persistent fruits of dried calimyrna figs, husky green pear skin, wildflower honey, and ripe Meyer lemon throughout. The palate is just off-dry with a high and persistent acidity that keeps the wine feeling fresh and supple into a lengthy finish. A great pairing for bloomy rind cheeses such as Camembert or Brie, richer, not overly spicy Pakistani or North Indian cuisine, and any dish with wild mushrooms. Harmonious and elegant now, this will develop deliciously in the cellar for another 10 years. Drink with only a moderate chill. Karina Mackow
This is a lovely blend of Chenin and Chardonnay from Lise and Bertrand Jousset, showing lime flower, melon, pear and lemon zest aromas. The palate is round and balanced with white fruits, melon, citrus and herbal flavors backed by firm lemony acidity. A delightful and versatile wine that will compliment a wide variety of fish and chicken dishes, Asian foods and mild cheeses. DL
Christophe Foucher at La Lunotte makes brilliant natural wines on his tiny estate in Coufy, near our friends at Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine. He practices uncompromising organic work in the vineyard and vinifies without sulfur and bottles by hand.This is a superb Menu Pineau, combining density of fruit with the unusual high-acid character of the grape. From very low-yielding vineyards above the Cher river, near St Aignan. It's a richer style with more skin contact than those of Puzelat/Tue-Boeuf. Christophe transfers his wines from tank into small barrels as soon as the fermentation is under way, where they stay until bottling by hand without filtration. More of an "orange wine" in 2015, the wine shows complex aromas of citrus peel, pear, peach and almond with dried fruits and brown spice. The palate is ripe and full, with firm acidity, showing candied citrus, hay, ripe pear, apricot and stone with white fruits and minerals in the finish. This is an unusual and delicious natural wine - serve with fish or chicken in sauce, full-flavored sushi, and flavorful cheeses. David Lillie
This beautiful Chinon is from 65 to 70 year-old vines in sandy clay soils over limestone in Sonnay, near Cravant. The wine ages for 18 months in old barrels, less than 200 cases are made. The 2014 Ame D'Antan shows a deep black/garnet color with elegant aromas of ripe blackberry and strawberry with hints of violet, prune, citrus and crushed stone. The palate is dense but bright, with a silky texture, showing pure blackberry fruit with earth and licorice with firm mineral acidity. Good length with lingering berry and mineral flavors. Delicious now, it will age beautifully, probably best 2020 to 2030+. Highly recommended. DL
The delicious Chinon Vieilles Vignes of Patrick Lambert is from 55 year-old vines on sandy clay soils over limestone. Hand harvested and femented with wild yeasts, as are all of Lambert's wines, the Vieilles Vignes gets 12 months of aging in old barrels. The wine shows a deep red/black color and ripe blackberry and strawberry aromas with pepper, earth and citrus. The palate shows earthy blackberry and strawberry compote with prune and bitter chocolate with firm citrusy acids. This is a complex, old-fashioned Chinon that will acoompany roast chicken and anything off the grill, served a bit cool. Age for five to ten years for a mature experience. And at $14.99 it's a fabulous value!
This fun Vin Mousseaux (the general term for sparkling wine) has gained a following among Liv's neighbors in Rochefort-sur-Loire, for good reason: It's a delicious sparkling Chenin Blanc that is very easy on the wallet. Methode Ancestrale, from mostly younger vines and including grapes from a tiny parcel of old vines (planted in 1950) for extra character. It's dry, with an interesting texture and flavor profile reminiscent of raw honey. For the quality to price, it's pure gold! Eben Lillie
Classic dry Chenin from schist soils up above Rochefort-sur-Loire overlooking the Loire river with the coulees of Savennieres visible in the distance. Liv combines grapes from her oldest vines (planted in 1940) and and her younger 10 year old vines, with great result. There's very pleasant and inviting fruit up-front, and with some time open, the wine reveals an impressive mineral backbone. For only the second vintage of this cuvée, Liv is doing a great job, and we're looking forward to drinking plenty of the Raguenet in the years to come! Eben Lillie
One case of this lovely old Muscadet is available -not a great vintage to be sure, but a fascinating wine just the same and a testament to Jo Landron's great farming and natural vinifications. Open one to two hours in advance. Aromas of citrus peel, ripe yellow fruits, marzipan, almond and pepper. The palate is dense and full with ripe peach, stone, candied lemon, burned caramel and pear. Very high acidity combined with ripe mature fruit. A wine to sip with langoustines in sauce, monkfish with fennel, a full-flavored raw milk cheese...DL This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Tasted at the domaine in the fall of 2008, this wine showed fabulously, with lovely aromas of lemon confit, white fruits, mushrooms and earth. The palate was very mineral with stone and gun-metal, mushroom, earth and citrus. Really a lovely wine which should be in full maturity now. Thank-you, Jo Landron! This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Le Fief du Breil — a great hillside vineyard of clay and quartz stones over orthogneiss, tended in organic and biodynamic farming. 2004 is a great vintage for this wine, which we have enjoyed dozens of time over the years. The vintage in the Pays Nantais was better than in the eastern Loire as good weather held through the harvest, giving wines of excellent ripeness, but with a higher than usual level of acidity — the perfect combination for Muscadet! Re-Tasted in February 2016: Wow, a beautiful wine, packed with dried fruits, citrus, floral and mineral flavors, great balance and length, still young. 12% alc, unchaptalized, drink till 2030? We thank Jo for releasing a bit more of this super wine from his tiny stock of back vintages... This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
From a superb hillside vineyard on orthogneiss with clay and quartz stones. Jo Landron's Fief du Breil is always one of the greatest Muscadet and although the 2005 is a bit less intense than the brilliant 2004, it's still a beautiful wine that's lovely to drink now - and it will improve over the next 5 to 10 years. Pale bronze color, vivid aromas of lime-flower, ripe pear, lemon confit, stone almond and earth. The palate shows stone, mushroom, citrus and white fruits backed by fresh acidity. Long chrystalline finish with citrus and saline minerals. This will accompany any seafood preparation including full-flavored fish such as monkfish and halibut... This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
From a superb hillside vineyard on orthogneiss with clay and quartz stones. A great vintage for Jo's Fief du Breil! Yes, the aromatics are a bit more pronounced than in more austere vintages, and there is more presence of citrus and white fruits on the palate, but the wine retains a superb mineral character and the finish is brisk and very long. Simply a great Muscadet — drinking this alongside the Pepiere Clos des Briords would be a great lesson in the terroirs of the Pays Nantais! Tasted in February 2016, the wine is still youthful although the aromas are opening a bit, with intense minerality on the palate and fabulous length. Delicious now, this will be fabulous in 2025! Brisk enough for oysters and clams, perfect with cod, sole and flounder, complex enough for monkfish and swordfish - hurry down to Blue Moon Fish at the Greenmarket this Saturday!
The vineyards for the Cuvée Domaine are situated on a high plateau with varied soils of sandy clay with amphibolite stones or quartz with subsoils mostly of gneiss, certified organic, with Biodynamic methods. This Spring bottling received 6 months of sur-lie aging and shows the ripeness and balance of 2015, somewhat in the style of 2004. Quite dense with aromas of citrus and white fruits with stone and floral notes. The palate shows pear and stone with citrus and white pepper with firm acidity, quite refreshing. This will accompany shellfish, sushi and mild fish dishes and is full and round enough to enjoy on it's own, or with chicken and other light meals. It's a sensational value!
Domaine Louvetrie "Les Houx" (formerly known as "Hermine D'Or") is from a great parcel of thin sandy clay soils, rich with silica, quartz and iron, over a bedrock of gneiss and clay. Kept on the lees for 12 months. Normally one of the most scintillating and mineral of Muscadet, the 2015 is riper and rounder but equally delicious in a fuller-bodied more forward style. The wine shows lovely aromas of ripe pear, stone and anise that open nicely with aeration. The palate is round and supple but framed in firm acidity with ripe white fruits, citrus, stone and licorice and there's a nice mineral kick in the finish. Delicious now, this will develop nicely over the next few years, and will accompany oysters and grilled seafood, from flounder to monkfish, roast chicken and mild cheeses. David Lillie
"Ich i go" means strawberry in Japanese - for whom this Pet Nat was initially bottled. This is a rosé made from direct press Pineau d'Aunis and Gamay grown in clay and lime stone. The palate is soft with mild acidity and pleasant sweetness. Flavors of late-picked strawberries and crushed raspberries on the attack and a lingering bitter almond finish. A comforting go-to for watching the sun sink or for an apéro! Amanda Bowman
The Luneau-Papin "L D"Or" is from old vines in a hillside parcel on a south-facing slope with granite subsoil. This is always one of the most elegant and age-worthy Muscadets, which drinks beautifully as a somewhat austere young wine, and opens up gracefully over its 20 to 30 year lifespan. The 2000 shows subtle, quite complex aromas of pear, stone, melon, almond, crême brulée and honeysuckle . The palate shows a firm, youthful structure with citrusy acidity balancing ripe pear, stone and mineral flavors with almond and anise. While not possessing the depth and intensity of the best vintages, this is a lovely 16+ year-old wine that will continue to develop over the next ten years. (Serve cool, not too cold!)
A beautiful L d'Or that shows the remarkable combination of ripeness, balance and great acidity in the 2010 vintage. This wine was surprisingly open and aromatic when tasted in January 2012 but possessed of perfect acidity and loads of saline mineral flavors, reminding us of 2002.
From a small "clos" in La Chappelle Heulin with 55 to 60 year-old vines on a terroir of gneiss with quartz stones. We're happy to have the "Pierres Blanches" back again - it's a small production from Luneau-Papin that rarely makes its way to the US. The 2014 shows beautiful pear and apple aromas with citrus and herbal notes. The palate is silky and refreshing with lovely white fruits, stone and lemon flavors blending together - a bit rounder and softer than the granite based "L d'Or." This is quite delicious now or over the next five years, served with any mild-flavored fish or chicken dish, quiches, goat cheeses and much more.
The Parentière Fraîcheur Iodée de L'Atlantique, which roughly translates as "Atlantic sea-spray" is made from Gros Plant (aka Folle Blanche) grown on gabbro soils near Vallet in the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine region. Domaine de la Parentière is a tiny estate which has been practicing organic agriculture for more than 30 years—the grapes are hand-harvested and fermented with wild yeasts and the wines are never chaptalized, remaining light, mineral and refreshing. The 2014 is a bit softer than usual and shows intriguing aromas of ripe melon, bitter lemon, almond, fresh herbs and stone. The palate is lively and light at 10.2% alcohol with pear, citrus, melon and stone flavors with a fresh lemony finish. This will be very refreshing on a hot day, especially with oysters, prosciutto and melon, terrines, salads and fried fish, etc, etc. Did we say this is an amazing value?
The Clos Roche Blanche Cot is back, now made by new proprietor Julien Pineau. The wine shows bright blackberry aromas with cocoa, violet, roast meat, earth and celery, quite pretty, complex and interesting. Dense black fruits on the palate are lifted by bright acidity. The finish is lovely with blackberry and red currant fruits framed in vivid mineral flavors, complex and long. This is a delicious natural wine that happily continues the work of our friends at Clos Roche Blanche, bravo to Julien Pineau!
The grapes for this new cuvee from Francois Pinon used to be included in the Silex Noir, but this wonderful vineyard, on a hill-top directly above the Pinon's cave, much deserves to be bottled on it's own. At 18 grams/liter of residual sugar, 12.4% alcohol and strong acidity, the Deronnieres approaches Demi-Sec in style but with superb minerality and balance. The wine shows subtle aromas of lime-flower, dried pear, lemons and stones. The palate is very saline and mineral with bitter lemon, white fruits, and herbal notes with impressive density and length. A great demi-sec with fantastic minerality that will age beautifully!
Another outstanding Vouvray from our friends François and Julien Pinon in Vallée de Cousse, the 2015 "Trois Argiles" shows subtle, complex aromas of lemon, pear, earth, lime-flower, wet stone and almond. There is a hint of sweetness on the palate, perfectly balanced with firm acidity, with mineral flavors, white fruits, lemon peel and herbal notes. The finish is very long with citrusy acids and saline minerals. this is a beautiful young Vouvray that is delicious now with fish or chicken in sauce, Asian cuisnes, vegetable patés, asparagus and mild cheeses. This will gain complexity and become dryer with age, drink at least until 2050... David Lillie
*This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.Tasted in January 2017: Bitter lemon, stone, caramel, honey, anise. Palate dense with mineral, earth, pear, very mineral finish with firm acids. Not with the legnth of the 2002, but still very, very good.
From a plot of very old Chenin Blanc vines, François' Brut NV is kept on the lees for 18 months before bottling. It has pretty apple, pear, floral and toasty flavors with good acidity balancing the fruit. The current cuvée is from 2014 and it's one of their best ever - a bit riper than usual with round but well defined fruit—a great alternative to Champagne, it's delicious as an apéritif before the meal or afterwards with apple pie. This is a great choice during the holidays - a real crowd-pleaser at a great price, before, after or during the meal!
The Plouzeau Chinon Rosé is made from 100% Cabernet Franc vines in conversion to organic certification. A direct press rosé with six hours of maceration on the skins, the wine shows lovely aromas of raspberry and strawberry with hints of orange peel, rose and spice. The palate is dry and refreshing with good density showing berry fruits, peach, citrus and minerals. The finish is clean and refreshing with nice length. Serve quite cool with any casual meal this summer, even grilled foods, or as a refreshing aperitif.
Since Olga Raffault’s passing, the estate has been run by her granddaughter Sylvie and her husband Eric de la Vigerie. Vineyard work and winemaking practices are very traditional: vineyard maintenance is done by hand, native yeast fermentations, and long, slow élevage in large, neutral oak (sometimes chestnut, a local wood in the region) barrels. Les Picasses is their top vineyard with 50-year-old Cabernet Franc vines planted in hard alluvial clay soils with a chalk limestone base on semi-steep slopes facing south. This is the perfect terroir to showcase classic Chinon aromas of black cherry, currant, cool blueberry fruit, white pepper, and a touch of tangerine. The palate is fresh and vibrant with juicy plum and black cherry fruit dotted with spice. Tannins are quite soft, yet present, and the finish is long and mineral with dark berry fruit. This is an outstanding example of what Cabernet Franc can be! 2010 is a great vintage for this wine, with the depth and structure for long-term aging. Tim Gagnon
Les Picasses is one of the greatest vineyards in Chinon - a south-facing slope of clay over porous limestone that retains water and nutrients, nourishing the vines. While the wine is amply fruited and enjoyable young, it has firm acidity and structure for long-term aging, up to 30 years and more depending on the vintage. 2012 was a quite successful vintage for Loire reds, which generally showed vibrant fruit, fresh acidity and moderate alcohol. Not a "big" vintage but one of very pretty, well-balanced wines. The 2012 Raffault "Les Picasses" is a surprisingly full-bodied wine, showing ripe strawberry, blackberry, and cooked prune with a fabulous earthy core of stone and mineral flavors. The palate is dense with blackberry, prune, citrus, earth, licorice and cocoa with a long fresh finish. Ripe and forward enough to drink now with anything from roast chicken to steak, the 2012 should age beautifully, perhaps best 2020 to 2030 and beyond...? David Lillie
Gamay from the warm and friendly Rémi Sédès, who has been part of a tiny natural wine renaissance in the Coteaux d'Ancenis, just east of Muscadet in the Loire Valley. Rémi spends countless hours in the vineyards, plows with a horse, and makes wines without any added sulfur. The 2015 is pretty, and very accessible. It doesn't strike me as an obvious "natural wine," it's just really delicious and pure-fruited. I met Noé (Rémi's son) this year while tasting with Rémi in France. Noé emerged from under the table and led me to his wine, which he recommended I try. Though he's only about 5 years old, he's off to a very promising start helping his father with the family business! Eben Lillie
From 25 year-old Chenin Blanc vines in a mid-slope parcel of thin clay and silex soils on limestone, yields of 25 hl/ha, certified organic with biodynamic methods as well, fermented and aged in 4 to 6 year-old barriques. The wine shows subtle aromas of lemon verbena, ripe pear, earth and stone, with hints of anise and melon. The palate is very earthy and mineral with ripe white fruits, citrus, caramel and anise, quite dense and long. This will open up nicely with time. Serve now, decant if possible, with halibut, swordfish, monkfish, chicken in sauce, Asian foods and goat cheeses, or hold for ten+ years. This is a lovely Jasnières and a great value!
Every Thanksgiving list needs a Pineau d'Aunis and this year's candidate is the superb "La Belle d'Aunis" from our new friend Sebastien Cornille. As Karina says, it's an "aromatically complex light red" that will be lovely on turkey day, served cool. And consider the pretty "La Guinguette" from Roche Bleue that adds a bit of Gamay and there are excellent options from Clos du Tue Boeuf and Olivier Bonhomme as well.Fans of taut, aromatically complex light reds (think Piedmontese Ruché or a well-crafted carbonic Gamay) take note! Sébastien Cornille has hit it out of the park with this 100% Pineau d'Aunis: freshly cracked pepper and generous rose blossoms on the nose lead into crisp red strawberries, cherries, and sweet plum skins. The snap of tannin on the finish is addictive, bracing the palate for more while the earthiness is pleasingly textural, countering soft, sheer aromatics with a cool mineral crunch. This bottling of what is often used as a blending grape takes full advantage of the clay, silex, and limestone soils and meticulous farming at Roche Bleue to craft a terroir and varietal expressive wine that is a must for lovers of floral, lighter-bodied reds. Delicious served with a slight chill. Karina Mackow
This is a beautiful Chenin Blanc from Sébastien Cornille at Domaine de la Roche Bleue, from 30 year-old vines on slopes and terraces of clay and silex over limestone, certified organic farming with biodynamic methods. The 2015 L'Orée de la Berterie shows lovely ripe aromas - peach, pear, and kiwi with almond, floral and mineral notes. Dried pear, citrus peel, stone and herbal notes on the palate with terrific density and a quite firm citrus and mineral finish. This is a scintillating young Chenin that will open up over the next five to ten years. Serve with ceviche of fluke, fish in sauce, roast chicken and mild cheeses. This is a lovey wine and a great value! DL
100% Chenin Blanc, from 10 - 25 year-old vines on a slope of clay/silex soils on limestone, certified organic. Slow pressing of whole clusters; long fermentations, most in 4 to 6 year-old barriques, the younger vines in cuve inox; elevage in 6 year-old barrels. The Roche Bleue 2015 Jasnières shows pale bronze color with beautiful aromas of pear, lime-flower and peach with hints of stone, anise and citrus peel. The palate reveals almond, pear, stone and chalky minerals that continue in the very long, tart, very mineral finish. This is a crystalline, complex Jasnières that will benefit from decanting and should age well for ten to fifteen years. Serve now with shellfish, grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses. Lovely wine! DL
The new vintage of "La Guinguette" has arrived and it's pure deliciousness. 80% Pineau D'Aunis 20% Gamay. Bright, with red cranberry notes, high acid, and a touch of grip. It's not wildly herbal, but it's obviously an expression of Pineau D'Aunis. Great concentration and a clean, fresh, mineral finish.
This beautiful Saumur-Champigny is from a walled vineyard of old vines in Varrains, certified organic and worked with biodynamic methods as well. The wine shows a deep black/red color and ripe aromas of red currant and blackberry with earth, roast meat and citrus framed in a bit of oak, quite lovely. The palate shows lush, textured blackberry and black cherry fruit with earth and bitter chocolate backed by firm acidity that continues in the long finish. Delicious now served with a coq au vin, grilled steak or park stew, this will age gracefully over the next ten to fifteen years.
The 2016 offering of the Vin Rosé from our friends the Puzelat brothers is totally dry, with red raspberry and tart strawberry, and a touch of blood orange. There is a subtle structure on the mid-palate - which makes this a very food friendly wine - and a super mineral finish. A great vintage for the Tue-Boeuf Rosé! Eben Lillie
Sauvignon Blanc has been grown in Quincy at least since the 15th century and produces a particularly distinctive wine on the gravel and silex soils of the Domaine de Villalin's vineyard "Les Grands Vignes." The estate is clearly the finest in Quincy, farming with mostly organic methods, plowing (sometimes with horses), harvesting by hand and fermenting with wild yeasts. The 2016 is a bright and refreshing Sauvignon, showing subtle fruit aromas of peach and pear with almond, lime-flower and citrus. The palate shows lovely pear, apricot and almond flavors with lemony minerals in the long finish. This is a refreshing, stylish wine to serve quite cool this spring and summer with seafood and poultry dishes, asparagus, crudites and mild cheeses.
Somehow balancing freshness and bright red fruit with serious structure, this is a knockout from Lemasson. 100% Malbec or "Côt," as they call it in the Loire, this is spicy, earthy, and super finessed. There seems to be ample acidity and tannin here for aging. I know the jury's not out on aging no-SO2 wines, but I will note that I drank a bottle of the 2003 Cheville de Fer with Olivier at his home and it was absolutely breathtaking. A beautiful, mature wine, with fascinating aromas, a silky texture, and a never-ending finish. I remember opening my eyes wide after tasting the '03 and looking over to see Olivier simply nodding his head. He raised his finger and reminded me: "No sulfur!" Eben Lillie
From old vines of Gamay, this is a significant wine in 2015. The nose is vibrant and generous, and the palate is full, with black cherry, leather, earth, and hints of baking spice. It's concentrated and deep, but maintains great balance in the finish. Bravo!Eben Lillie