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The Chignard Fleurie "Les Moriers" is consistently one of our favoite Beaujolais, coming from a high-density vineyard of 60+ year-old vines adjacent to Moulin-a-Vent. The wine is always quite elegant, even a bit austere in it's youth, due to the less extractive winemaking of the Chignards. The 2014 is a bit more expressive and full-bodied on opening, showing intriguing aromas of ripe strawberry, blackberry, plum, citrus and earth with hints of white pepper and spice - really lovely. There is fairly dense blackberry fruit on the palate with earth and mineral notes and firm acidity with berry fruits and mineral notes lingering in the finish. 12.5% alcohol. This is a potentially great mature Fleurie, best perhaps 2019 to 2025. Hats off to Cédric Chignard for his two beautiful 2014s!
This is an outstanding Beaujolais from the Chignard family, better known for their lovely Fleurie "Les Moriers." Possessing the lovely fruit and balance of the 2014 vintage in Beaujolais, the Julienas "Beauvernay" shows a pretty red/black color, with elegant aromas of blackberry and red currant with violet, blood orange, earth and stone. It's ripe and sapid but with lively acidity and perfectlty proportioned at 12.5% alcohol. Morello cherry and red currant fruit with saline minerals, earth and spice coat the palate and continue in the earthy finish. Quite lovely now, this should become a beautiful mature wine with three to five years of aging, drink till 2023-2025. Highly recommended. DL
In 2015 Alain Coudert's Clos de la Roilette is showing its historical roots in Moulin-a-Vent (as it was classified until the 1920s) as the clay soils here produced a big wine with a generous amount of alcohol in this very warm vintage. The color is a deep red/black, with aromas of ripe blackberry and black raspberry liqueur with hints of violet and blood orange backed by graphite and earth. The palate shows very ripe black fruits with earth, mineral, cocoa and leather, lifted by firm acidity in the long dense finish. This will accompany grilled meats, charcuterie and full-flavored cheeses. Quite delicious now in its youthful intensity, this is a great candidate for cellaring, best probably from 2019 to 2026. Highly recommended. David Lillie
Alain Coudert makes this lovely wine from two small parcels on typical Fleurie terroir of sandy soils over decomposed granite, in contast to the heavier clay/manganese soils at the Clos de la Roilette. The 2015 is a bright garnet/red color with vivid aromas of blackberry and ripe strawberry with violet, pepper, earth and citrus. There is deep, ripe berry fruit on the palate with dark chocolate, earth and citrus with surprisingly firm acidity and brightness. This delicious Fleurie shows the richness of the 2015 vintage but remains fresh and lively - drink this beautiful Beaujolais over the next five years, served cool, with just about anything!
Jean-Paul Brun of Domaine des Terres Dorées has 2 parcels of 50 year-old vines on a steep section of Mont Brouilly with a south-east exposition at about 1,000 ft of altitude. The thin soil is almost entirely stones of granite with a high iron content. (A more interesting terroir than the thicker, damper soils of Brouilly.) This is a gorgeous wine! Lovely, ripe blackberry and raspberry/strawberry fruit aromas with a touch of violets and earth. The palate is ripe but balanced (at 12.5% alcohol) with black and red fruit liqueur and fresh citrusy acids that linger in the finish. A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years. Highly recommended! "Contains very little sulfite," says the label "store in a cool place and consume rapidly after uncorking" We haven't noticed any problem keeping this wine, but consuming rapidly after uncorking will be easy... DL
This impressive Bordeaux comes from an ancient vineyard in Montagne Saint-Emilion, dating back to Roman times, owned by the Despagne-Rapin family since the 1930s. Now certified organic and Biodynamic, the vineyard is roughly 50/50 Cabernet Franc and Merlot grown on limestone with clay and sandy soils. The estate's second label, "Les Piliers," is a dense and well-structured wine in 2010 showing deep red/black color and ripe aromas of blackberry and cassis, dark chocolate and earth, framed in oak. The palate shows deep blackberry liqueur with prune, spice, graphite and citrus. The finish is quite long with pretty black fruits, mineral flavors and firm acidity. This is a solid Bordeaux and an excellent value - try decanting a few hours in advance, serve with a steak, pork or lamb chops...
Catherine and Jean-Luc Hubert's estate on clay and limestone soils in the Côte du Blaye is certified Biodynamic. For Le Blanc Bonhomme, whole-clusters of grapes undergo spontaneous fermentation with native yeasts before being pressed into concrete vats where it will continue on, and ultimately finish, its journey to becoming a beautiful wine. Their white cuvée is an elegant blend of 50% Sauvignon Blanc and 50% Sémillon. Wonderfully aromatic with white peach blossom and slight hints of tangerine rising from the glass. A deep, chalky minerality takes over on the palate and is accompanied by white fruit and a citrus-tinged acidity. It would pair well with numerous dishes and is very generous enjoyed on its own. An excellent value for an outstanding wine. Tim Gagnon
Montreuil is a collaboration between Calvados importer and guru Charles Neal and Patrice Giard – heir to the bucolic Giard estate in the hamlet of Montreuil. Cows (primarily used for their milk) provide the majority of the farm’s revenue, but the property has made quite a name for itself for their library of aged Calvados still in barrel that will be released under the Giard label. The Montreuil label represents barrels averaging 7 years old that provide rich, apple fruit with a touch of wood vanillin and toffee sweetness. A great value for sipping, but also not too dear to use as a stand-in for American applejack in classic cocktails like a Jack Rose:2 ounces apple brandy or calvados, ¾ ounce lime or lemon juice, and ¾ ounce grenadine; served up. John Rankin
From Chardonnay grown on an excellent limestone/clay parcel in Aluze, next to Mercurey. Certified organic, hand-harvested, low yields, very long (10 month) wild-yeast fermentation in barrel, bottled by gravity, unfiltered. This is an outstanding Chardonnay of terroir thanks to the great farming and vinifications at Champs de l'Abbaye. Subtle aromas of stone, white fruits, lemon peel and herbs with a bit of new oak. The palate is intense and crystalline with strong mineral flavors, white fruits, citrus, spice and oak. (We are reminded of the Bourgogne Chitry by De Moor) The finish is dense and long with citrus, pear and stone - this is a serious glass of white Burgundy that will accompany oysters, grilled fish, roast chicken and much more. Not for lovers of Napa Chardonnay....
This is a pretty Chablis from Patrick Piuze, one of the youngest stars of Chablis. This wine comes from a single vineyard on a north-facing vineyard, near 1er Cru Forêts. This wine offers quite a nice balance of fruit and acidity despite the warmth of the 2015 vintage, with a bouquet of ripe fruit and spices. Apricot, apple and lemon are the primary fruit flavors with pretty musky notes on the nose and hints of vanilla on the palate. The minerality (clay and limestone) and acidity are quite good. This is a smooth, well-balanced Chablis with a nice finish and a good length. More refined and fresher than the Terroir Découverte, the wine can be served on its own or with a nice dinner. Caroline Coursant
Jean-Marie Chaland owns two estates in Viré (Macon), Domaine Sainte Barbe and Domaine des Chazelles, both certified organic since 2006. The Sainte Barbe "la Perriere" is made from 35 year-old grapes from a half-hectare parcel near Viré on clay/limestone soils, never treated with herbicides. The grapes are hand-harvested and vinified with wild yeasts, the wine ages for 18 months, half in barrel, have in cuve inox. The 2014 shows elegant, subtle aromas of dried pear, lime-flower, stone, melon, pineapple and honeysuckle. The palate is very mineral, with stone and citrusy acids, dense pear and herbal flavors and terrific length. This should be decanted or opened in advance, or cellar for five to ten years. A lovely white Burgundy at a reasonable price! Serve with asparagus, terrines, scallops, monkfish, halibut. D Lillie
Also made from 100% Chardonnay with zero dosage, this wine spends a full 27 months on the lees before disgorgement. The result is a broad and powerful wine with tropical fruit, green apple, pineapple stalk, orange peel, and a hint of spearmint and lime blossom on the nose. The palate is rich and lush with mango, mandarin orange, and a hint of spicy green walnut coming forward, balanced by a dense mineral core. In fact, it actually reminds me of some of my favorite Champagnes (but for half the price). Céline and Laurent don’t make much of this wine and we are thrilled to have it in magnum size! An elegant but no-fuss wine that should always have a place on your dinner table or at your New Year's Eve party, it would pair well with creamy poultry dishes, whole-roasted fish, or soft, tangy cheeses. Tim Gagnon
This is a superb, subtle and very mineral Chardonnay from a replanted parcel at the very top of the Clos, abandoned since 1896, with thin clay soils rich in iron over limestone. A great terroir, never chemically treated and worked in biodynamic farming by Alain and Julien Guillot. The 2014 "les Chassagnes" is a beautiful wine! Yields of 18 hl/ha, giving a racy, stony wine with hints of white fruits, spice and honey, the palate is silky and crystalline - all mineral with subtle citrus and white fruits, very long and elegant. Highly recommended! David Lillie
This is one of the best Champagnes I've ever had. No joke. From old vines grown on very dry chalky soil between Bouzy and Tauxières, the wine is equal parts Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, made without dosage or sulfur, all from 2009 fruit. There are very few producers in Champagne who make a bottling totally without added sulfur. It's a risky thing to do, however in this case the results are absolutely breath-taking. Super aromatic with rich, mouth-filling and very sensuous fruit, the wine shows fully as much intense, taught minerality as it does succulent and voluptuous fruit. It's a wine that will change constantly as it's open, and deserves attention as it unfolds. Peter Liem has descrived the 2008 Violaine (the first vintage of this wine) as "one that speaks to the emotions as much as it does to the intellect." I'd say that's an apt assessment. (disgorged 1/13) -msb
Sourced from less than a hectare parcel of old-vine Pinot Noir, the Come des Tallants is the jewel of Roland's range. Beginning with a crystalline clear and brilliant golden yellow in the glass and very finely beaded mousse, the nose shows aromas of Greengage, lillies, spearmint, toffee, guava, and some musky tones. The palate is finely chiseled with a nervy minerality, buoyed by a weighty concentration and a full aromatic range of wild flowers, which continues through to a finely pointed finish. A fantastic effort and Champagne from Roland Piollot! (Dosage : Zero, Disgorged : 7/2015). This beautiful Champagne is a superb value and a great way to start, or enjoy during your holiday feast!
From an organically farmed, single-vineyard parcel at the top of the slope on the western side of Mareuil-sur-Aÿ. 50% Pinot Noir fermented in tank, 50% Chardonnay fermented in used barrels. Disgorged in Spring 2016, zero dosage. Though from a premier cru village rather than its grand cru neighbor, Aÿ, the 2008 Les Blanchiens is no less an articulate expression of the calcareous clay soils that make up its terroir. The nose offers toasty brioche, dried orange peel, and bergamot aromas. The palate shows ripe dense fruit on the attack, with an incisive minerality dominating a rich and complex mid-palate. This is manifested by pungent soil notes, which give way to distinctly savory, sapid, and powerful finish. Though bottled without dosage, this is by no means austere. John McIlwain
While today we tend to think of most wines in terms of fruit or mineral descriptors, some transcend those notes with profoundly savory character. Ruppert-Leroy's 100% Pinot Noir Champagne Les Cognaux hits this sweet spot with loads of minerality, pure fruit, and a rich sapid character which makes it a natural for the table. Here's a wine that will stand up to all manner of savory dishes, while leaving the palate refreshed. A visit to the vines with Bénédicte Ruppert of Ruppert-Leroy is an illuminating experience. There’s a world of difference between the Aube and the Vallée de la Marne. Not only are the soils different, (Kimmeridgean limestone vs. chalk), but the undulating landscape itself is wilder and less manicured. Often the vineyards abut forest rather than village, which in the case of biodynamic growers is especially desirable to insure a biodiversity according to Bénédicte. Between the vines is a riot of vegetation and flowers, as Ruppert-Leroy has 30 different plants and flowers sown in the vineyard. One such vineyard is the Les Cognaux whose grey marl soils are planted to Pinot Noir and when we visited in the Spring was aglow with yellow flowers. (These flowers are made into a tissane by Bénédicte to treat the vines for mildew.)The wildness of the countryside is reflected in the wines which are energetic, exuberant, and vibrantly mineral. The 2013 Les Cognaux shows red fruit, peach skin, orange peel, and see spray aromas with notes of daishi and fond. The palate balances lush, ripe flavors of apricot, peach, and Rainier cherry with crunchy acidity, compelling umami character and a pungent sense of minerality. The finish is vibrant and luminous. As of 2013 Ruppert-Leroy vinifies and bottles without SO2. John McIlwain
The 2013 vintage is the inaugural release of Aurelien Suenen's Grand Cru Oiry Blanc de Blancs. Wines from the village of Oiry are typically sold under the Cramant designation (we haven't been able to find another Champagne with this single village designation, as yet), so this is a fine opportunity to taste Oiry's distinctive, chalky terroir. Aurelien's parcels contain some very old Chardonnay vines which make for some pungently mineral, stony wines. The vins clairs are fermented partially in barrel, spend nine months on the lees, and are bottled with 1 g/l dosage. The 2013 is brisk, briny, and fresh on the nose with aromas of citrus peel, quinine, and chalk dominating. The palate is chiseled, taut and very dry with racy acidity and an energetic driving finish. Suenen continues to grow with each vintage and this new line up of village designated Champagnes are particularly exciting. John McIlwain
From a small parcel of 50 year-old vines in AOC Hautes Côtes de Beaune, certified biodynamic, "lyre ouverte" pruning. Lovely light garnet color; subtle, delicate aromas of red fruits and flowers - quite complex and pretty with good ripeness in this excellent vintage - raspberry, tart cherry and blackberry. The palate is light but full-flavored and lovely with pure ripe red fruits, finishing with bright acidity and saline minerals. This is a subtle and delicious glass of Burgundy, at only 12% alcohol even in 2015 - enjoy now served cool or wait 5 to 8 years for a mature experience.
Maybe not a bruiser, but what a beauty! Wild strawberry, pomegranate, brown spices, super-pretty red fruits, herbal hints. Mid-weight palate, bright acid, luminous fruit, good volume and persistence on the finish-not just a little bit of that classic Burgundy peacock's tail. John McIlwain
When it comes to Marsannay, Domaine Bart's selection of crus is an embarrassment of riches. Au Champ Salomon, one of their best, is located in a prime spot on the mid-slope, producing wines which marry power with elegance and longevity. The grapes from 35-year-old plus vines are hand harvested, fermented with native yeasts, aged for 18 months in barrel of which only 30% are new. The 2014 is another lovely expression. The nose offers cool-toned aromas of red and black cherry, red plum, brambles, and hints of cedar evolving to show dark soil notes. On the full-bodied and structured (in terms of Marsannay) palate, flavors of red and black stone fruit dominate with wild cherry and plum, giving way to grilled meat and earthy notes on a long, succulent, and persistent finish. There is a deft interplay between the pure fruit, tangy acid, and tannins which should evolve to show greater complexity still with 5-7 years in the cellar and beyond. This is not only a splendid 2014, but a great value in Burgundy. John McIlwain
From 45 to 60 year-old vines, certified organic, mostly in En Pallud (below 1er Cru les Corbeaux). The 2014 Gevrey shows a light red/black color, aromas of morello cherry, red currant and raspberry with hints of earth, stone, violets, black pepper and licorice. The palate is dense but light with cherry, red-currant, earth, citrus and mineral flavors with berry fruits and saline minerals lingering in the finish. Ripe but not a fruit-bomb - a red Burgundy of terroir that is delicious now, but should become a beautiful, old-fashioned wine when mature, best perhaps 2021 - 2030. On day two the wine has deepened with very sappy black and red fruits, quite dense and earthy. Lovely wine from living soils and quite a different style than modern Burgundies. David Lillie
Translating to 'in the garden of the rectory', this is a plot planted in the 1960s on a flat terrain of heavy, alluvial soils mixed with eroded slate from the Hofberg above. As one can guess from the name, the vineyard once belonged to the rector for the parish of the town of Dhron. Fermented with natural yeasts, unfined, and aged in stainless steel, the wine is bright and green on the nose, with notes of flower petals and stems. Fresh, fruity and balanced with a prickle of acidity lifting the slightest sweetness of ripe mango with vibrant orange and lemon oils. Cari Bernard
Altenberg stands further afield from the estate, with mostly gray slate, a cooler microclimate, and south/southwest exposure. The Webers have recently acquired another tiny parcel in this vineyard, unique for its concentration of green basalt in the soil. Wine from the new parcel will debut with the 2016 vintage. The block of vines for the 2015 bottling comes from a more southwest orientation, with slightly richer topsoil. Cari Bernard
Andi Knauss is making beautiful wines in Württemberg-Remstal, near the Black Forest in southwest Germany. His dedication to quality and focus in the vineyards and cellar is clearly reflected in his wines. His Sekt Brut Zero is sourced from vines grown on limestone, made in the Méthode Champenoise with no dosage and no added sulfur. Chalky and bright acidity, with an aggressive mousse and notes of tart apricot with yellow and green apple skin, this wine is a stunner. Cari Bernard
Online only. Ships separately from other items.
Online only. Ships separately from other items.
You could certainly cellar this wine for some years to come, but I like the way it’s drinking now. The nose is warm with baking spice, rose, and savory aromas; there’s a dark core to the wine but it’s actually quite elegant, with velvety tannin, and it even becomes delicate on the long finish. Miles ahead of the competition! Jamie Wolff
Barbaresco: “Notu” was Fabio’s grandfather, and the name of the wine means “Notu followed the drops of water.” Although it may not be intended, the reference to water makes sense when you taste the wine, which has a kind of crystalline freshness and clarity that reminds one of spring water. Fabio writes: “48 months fining barrel (the wood Fabio use are not really “toasted,” but vaporized with specific volcanic hot rocks (no any creation of toxic elements after this treatment) and after unique mass for 6 months in porcelain jars (Fabio is the designer and the ceramist of his own porcelain jars; very probably the first one winemaker in the world that uses “no breathing ceramics” for winemaking). 1175 bottles made.”The 2011 is an edgy, dynamic wine, showing ripe fruit balanced by great lift and transparency. It stands out in the vintage, and it’s exciting to drink. Jamie Wolff
Back in 1972 Alberto Carli wanted to make a great Brunello, so he hired the famous Tuscan Enologist Giulio Gambelli to be his winemaker and together they created Il Colle Brunello di Montalcino. They produced about 150-200 cases a year and stored them in an underground cellar, never releasing them on the market. Apparently it wasn’t until he was dying that he told his family about this secret wine they had been making for almost 20 years. His daughter Catarena took over the winery in 2001 and picked up where her father left off. Little has changed in the last 35-40 years: they still use natural yeasts, there’s no temperature control, there are long maceration times, no filtering, and the wine is aged in Slavonian botti. Although I’m sure it will only improve with age, the wine is quite beautiful now, ripe with stewed plums, leather and anise. When you’re ready to cook a leg of lamb or a pot roast, this would definitely be a good choice. Christine Manula
Albenga, lying along the western stretch of Liguria’s coastline, is thought to be the best subzone within the Riviera Ligure di Ponente DOC for growing Pigato. Vio’s example of the native variety certainly does nothing to disprove that assertion! From vines averaging 35 years of age and fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel, Giobatta, or Aimone as his friends call him, certainly has his vineyard practices right – the small estate has been certified organic since 1999. Stone fruits and a distinctive almond note dominate the fresh aromatics, along with a hallmark saltiness on the palate that pairs deliciously with bolder seafood preparations and, most traditionally in the region, pasta with pesto. Karina Mackow
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 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...
50% Pinot Noir and 50% Grolleau grown by Alain and Christine Bore, the sixth generation on their organic estate in Anjou. This unusual blend of Pinot Noir and Grolleau is really lovely - it's a bit riper and fuller than the 2014 version with lush aromas of blackberry and plum. The palate is round and supple with cool blackberry, cherry and raspberry fruit - quite ripe but lifted by fresh acidity. Serve a bit chilled with chicken, pork, vegetable dishes and mild cheeses. DL
This is a ripe and delicious Brut Nature from Domaine les Grandes Vignes, a blend of Gamay and Groslot in Biodynamic farming, naturally vinified with zero sulfur added. Dark pink garnet color; lovely aromas of red currant, candied strawberry and violets. Soft bubbles with ripe red currant and berry fruits - quite rich but dry and balanced, really delicious! Serve as an aperitif or with a meal - perect at a picnic with chicken or veggies. Bravo to the Vaillant family for great farming and natural vinifications.
Up until this vintage, the only rosés available from Les Capriades were off-dry, but now there is finally a bone-dry cuvee! Made entirely from Gamay, it strikes a perfect balance of fruit and minerality which results in a zesty, refreshing wine awash in red berries, flowers, tangerine zest, and tart cranberries. This is the perfect sparkler to ring in the new year with. Tim Gagnon
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
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
Gras Moutons is a great parcel on gneiss with clay and amphibolite stones, giving a rounder, more aromatic wine than Pepiere's granite terroirs. Tasted in February, the Gras Moutons sample from vat showed beautifully, very bright and lively with herbal, white fruit and citrus flavors and very firm acidity with good length. We're happy to report that 2015 is an excellent vintage for Gras Moutons, showing lovely aromas of lemon, almond, lime-flower, pear and dried herbs. The palate is less expressive now, showing stone and saline minerals with white fruits and herbal flavors, quite ripe but balanced with firm acidity. This is a lovely and very versatile wine - serve with anything from oysters to chicken. Delicious now, it will improve over the next five to eight years. DL
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!
While we were already in love with the whites from Sébastien Cornille at Domaine de Roche Bleu, we weren’t sure what to expect from the reds. In short, we were blown away. They were lithe and energetic with underlying earthy, mineral notes and exuberant fruit. My personal favorite was La Guingette. Made from a blend of 80% Pineau d’Aunis and 20% Gamay sourced from 30+-year-old vines, it undergoes semi-carbonic maceration for 20 days in tank before the Pineau d’Aunis is pressed off to be aged in neutral barrique and the Gamay in tank. Compared to La Belle d’Aunis, it offers more density with velvety black cherry and strawberry fruit on top of white pepper, grapefruit pith, crushed violet petal, and a hint of sage. Tim Gagnon
From a small parcel of clay and silex on limestone, 2/3 Cot and 1/3 Gamay. 35 year-old vines, organic since 1996, aged in old barrels, large and small. Thierry Puzelat was a pioneer of natural wine-making and he continues with this beautiful "Guerrerie" from the lovely 2014 vintage in the Loire Valley. The wine is extravagantly delicious with wild aromas of raspberry, cherry, violets, mint, pepper and earth. Cool red and black fruits on the palate with plum, citrus, pepper and earthy acidity. Just lovely - serve cool and enjoy! (most likely zero sulfur added)
This superb Pineau d'Aunis is from 40 year-old vines on soils of clay and silex over limestone of Blois. The wine is aged for 6 months in old barrels and was bottled and vinified with zero added sulfur. The aromas are floral with ripe raspberry, blackberry and blood orange, with pepper, brown spice, and animal notes. The palate is lush and bright with plum skin and blackberry fruit, very earthy firm acidity and berry fruits in the finish. Very delicious now, served cool, but probably best after a few years of cellaring - a superb Pineau D'Aunis for lovers of natural wines. David Lillie
Located on the steep, rocky slopes in the shadow of Mont Blanc, high above the village of Freterive, lies Domaine des Ardoisières 17-hectare estate. With a winemaking history dating back to the Romans, the estate had fallen into disrepair becoming overgrown with forests and remained that way until the late-1990s when the vineyard sites were cleared and ancient terraces rebuilt. The estate is now being overseen by Brice Omont - a Champagne native who took over the estate in 2005 - with biodynamic principles having been employed from the start and native yeasts carrying out all fermentations resulting in truly stunning wines. This cuvee is a blend of Chardonnay, Jacquère, and Mondeuse Blanche which sees elévage in 2/3 stainless steel tank and 1/3 neutral barrique which gives it nuance and balance while maintaining a lifted freshness. Tropical and salty with pear skin and almond notes and giving way to stern minerals and more orchard fruit on the palate, it is an exciting wine for lovers of Savoie whites. Tim Gagnon
Every year I taste Brice Omont’s wines I find that I like them even more than the last. This year is no exception! His 2015 Argile Rouge is made of 80% Gamay and 20% Persan (grown biodynamically) and is fermented with native yeasts. The wine then spends nine months in three- to five-year-old barrels before bottling. It is a touch smoky on the nose with red raspberry compote, pomegranate seeds, and a hint of rhubarb. On the palate it is lean and mineral driven with a lip-smacking acidity. This wine is incredibly pure and would pair well with all kinds of fatty foods. I’m thinking grilled pork belly at a barbecue! Tim Gagnon
Made from Gringet grown at 450m in elevation, this is serious stuff. It spends three years on the lees which results in a rich and textured wine, with delicate aromatics. It is quite powerful, and would give any Champagne a run for the money in terms of complexity. Tim Gagnon
Dominique’s Altesse shows a much more delicate side of this grape than most are familiar with, and I think this is a testament to his careful winemaking process. The vines in this parcel are quite young, and the original vines were sourced from the Dupasquier family in Jongieux, further south in the Savoie. Tim Gagnon
Called Le Feu (The Fire) for the bright red, iron-rich clay that litters the incredibly steep vineyards, this is Dominique’s top wine. It is his only single-parcel Gringet cuvée and the vines are situated at 450m in altitude. Tim Gagnon
This cuvée is made with Gringet sourced from two parcels, one being rich in yellow marl and the other with more broken-down limestone. It spends about six months aging in concrete eggs (separated by each different terroir) before being blended together in stainless steel tanks. Tim Gagnon
Les Perles du Mont Blanc is an exciting and esoteric bottle of wine that shows the capabilities of Gringet. Fermentation for the base wine is done with indigenous yeast; the second with Champagne yeast. There is no dosage added, making for an exquisitely dry and very complex wine that is sometimes reminiscent of Christmas spice and nuts, sometimes of apples and honey. On the palate it is rich, honey-tinged with dried white flowers, golden plums, and green apple matched with a bracing acidity. Serious enough for the geeks, but perfect for everyone. Tim Gagnon
Jean-Baptiste Menigoz, a former school teacher, started his domaine with 2.4ha of vines in Abergement-le-Petit, west of Arbois, in 2012. Focusing on the classic varietals of the Jura, he makes honest, natural wines in the traditional ways of the region. His Chardonnay is always my personal favorite. Fermented and aged in neutral 600L demi-muid, it showcases the honey-tinged, tropical fruit and citrus that is a hallmark of this wine year after year. On the palate it is a touch nutty with salty, tangy pineapple, and an electric acidity anchored by a piercing mineral core. Perhaps a touch more ripe than past vintages, it maintains focus and precision. Tim Gagnon
I always love this wine, and the 2015 is no exception. Made from a blend of Fer Servadou, Negret de Banhars, and Cabernet Franc sourced from vines that average 30 years old. These grapes go through a 15-day-long carbonic maceration – the longest of all the 2015s. Wild and aromatic, it shows aromas of smashed red raspberry, vine tomato, basil, clementine, tobacco leaf, and iron. The palate has the trademark silkiness of all of Nicolas’ reds, with great tension and fruit. Strawberry liqueur comes to mind with herbs, a good touch of funk, and a smoky, meaty side. Pair with gamey meats (blood sausage!) and heartier fare for a real treat. Tim Gagnon
I always love this wine, and the 2015 is no exception. Made from a blend of Fer Servadou, Negret de Banhars, and Cabernet Franc sourced from vines that average 30 years old. These grapes go through a 15-day-long carbonic maceration – the longest of all the 2015s. Wild and aromatic, it shows aromas of smashed red raspberry, vine tomato, basil, clementine, tobacco leaf, and iron. The palate has the trademark silkiness of all of Nicolas’ reds, with great tension and fruit. Strawberry liqueur comes to mind with herbs, a good touch of funk, and a smoky, meaty side. Pair with gamey meats (blood sausage!) and heartier fare for a real treat. Tim Gagnon
From a small parcel of Carignan Blanc, this wine is only available in mags. Fear not, it's delicious, super complex and well worth opening with friends! It's rare to try Carignan Blanc on it's own, so this wine is an homage as much to the grape as it is to Sylvain's organic and biodynamic farming and careful winemaking. Great texture, with notes of herbs and a long mineral finish. As the wine opens up, it evolves to reveal subtle buttery notes, all the while maintaining balance and acidity. I would be curious to see how it tastes on day 2, but have yet been able to hold onto the bottle once it's open! Eben Lillie
"From one of those rare parcels of Cinsault du Roussillon on a correct terroir. This variety, which made the reputation of certain wines of the South before phylloxera, has been neglected or badly planted since. Ubac is a parcel on a 70% slope of gneiss facing due north with 40 year-old vines worked by hand and by horse. It's the Pinot Noir of the South for me! Fine material, very delicate, with length and a strong signature of the terroir. Whole berry maceration of ten days, then foot-tread and put in vat, with stems for the fine tannins they provide. 20 month aging in Austrian demi-muid, bottled by gravity." (Yields of 15 Hl/Ha, approx 20 mg SO2, 14% alc) 2012 looks to be a great vintage for L'Ubac. Tasted before bottling, the wine showed superb elegance and structure with fabulous length - opened on arrival in NY, the wine shows slight reduction then hints of cool blackberry and red-currant fruit with bitter chocolate and earth, but really quite closed. The palate is quite intense with deep black fruits, very firm acidity and fine tannins with dusty stone in the finish. No gobs here, but a sense of power and elegance to come. This is certainly one of the most interesting and profound reds from the South of France. Not for current drinking, probably best 2020 to 2030. DL
When thinking of the Bergerac region of France, high-quality, thirst-quenching wines generally aren't the first things that come to mind. Enter Nicole Dournel of Domaine des Costes, who took over this estate as a tenant farmer in 1992. Her wines are crafted with care using organically farmed grapes and native yeasts to carry out fermentation. This cuvée is made of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon planted in sandy, stony soils over gravel. The result is a more feminine wine with a bouquet of cherry liqueur, dusty red plum, cassis, pomegranate seeds, and a touch of meaty funk. On the palate it is dusty, earthy, and brambly with bright dark berry fruit and fantastic structure. This would be perfect with roasted pork loin and root vegetables! Tim Gagnon
If there's a wine that best epitomizes the overall spirit and style of the offerings from Carolin and Niko, the Enfant Sauvage is it. A blend (60% Carignan 30% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre) from different parcels, fermented and aged in concrete. Whole cluster fermentation, without pigeage (punching down), and one week of maceration before press. A colleague summed it up well when she said, "It's complex, without being fussy." It truly is a complex wine, but it's balanced, and easy to drink, with just the right amount of tannin and acidity to pair well with a variety of foods. It's also smooth enough to have with simple snacks or without food altogether! Eben Lillie
Another delicious wine from the affable and talented Eric Laguerre, from organic Syrah, Carignan and Grenache vines grown on granite soils high in the mountains of the Roussillon. Lovely pink/garnet color, aromas of raspberry, red currant, blood orange and spice. Beautiful bright red fruits on the palate with citrusy acids in a very firm, mineral frame and good length, really delicious! This is a real rosé of terroir that will gain complexity over the next few months and drink well through 2017. Perfect with a salade niçoise, grilled fish, chicken and pork and great to sip by itself. Highly recommended!
This is Maillet's blend of Pinot Noir, Gamay and Mondeuse (turns out, before the AOC was created for Savoie, reds in the region were often blended like this). The vines are around 50 years old on average, and yields are anywhere from 15 to 35 hl/ha (hecto-liters per hectare). Deep and dark on the nose with sultry blackberry and black licorice notes alongside more delicate aromas of strawberry seeds, pomegranate, and savory herbs. The palate is quite fresh and is a bit more straightforward than in years past, with dark berries, smoked meats, white pepper, and a juicy acidity. The finish leans towards the earthy, savory side, making me think that this would be perfect with gamier foods such as venison or lamb. Serve cool and decant. Tim Gagnon
2008 marks the first vintage of Vin Jaune ever produced by Domaine des Marnes Blanches. In short, it is beautiful. The nose is lively, almost ethereal, with aromas of toasted cashew, burnt orange rind, eastern spice, pine, and mango skin. Texturally speaking, it is one of the most interesting Vin Jaunes that I have tasted; it offers exquisite fruit with a touch of smoke on the palate and is lithe, intense, incredibly long, and elegant. Lovers of Vin Jaune, look no further: this is the wine for you. Tim Gagnon
Made from an interesting local strain called Savagnin Muscaté, this is a wine unlike any other Savagnin I’ve had. The vines that provide the fruit for this cuvée are between 57 and 60 years old. Heady and floral on the nose with hints of ripe apricot, and a touch of spice, this almost could be mistaken for an Alsatian wine if it weren’t for Savagnin’s distinctive tropical fruit aromas. Compared to the 2014, it is incredibly broad and pretty on the palate with touch of white pepper and brown spice. Long, floral, and supple, this is a beguiling wine that deserves your attention. Tim Gagnon
Made from 100% Chardonnay grown in the same vineyard as Les Molates and fermented entirely in stainless steel before spending twelve to sixteen months on lees, this is a serious first foray into the sparkling wines from Domaine des Marnes Blanches. All of the base wine is from the 2014 vintage and this is the first year that this has been released without dosage. The nose is bright with honeysuckle, mango, and lime flower. On the palate it has a fine mousse with an almost toothsome texture; it is bone dry with hints of marmalade, exotic fruit, and a fresh, zesty acidity. This is simply the perfect apéritif. Tim Gagnon
A delicious wine from Jean-Francois Coutelou’s organic estate (certified in 1987) in the village of Puimisson in the Languedoc! Made from Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, the 2015 is a touch more rich than the past couple of vintages, yet is still fruit-driven with ample finesse and structure. It opens with a garrigue-tinged nose with licorice, black currant, and brambly blackberry with a lifted acidity on the palate. A perfect wine to pair with lamb burgers and rosemary roasted potatoes! Tim Gagnon
From old-vine Carignan, Grenache and Syrah grown in Thierry Navarre's beautiful mountainside vineyards in Saint-Chinian. The 2014 is particularly lovely, showing deep ripe aromas of blackberry, plum, coffee and spice. Full, soft palate of spicy red and black fruits, earth and dark chocolate, with good density and supple, palate-coating texture lifted by nice acidity. Perfect for grilled foods or steaks, stews and strong cheeses all year. A sensational value!
Grenache / Syrah from Corbières, no sulfur added. Fans of "barnyardy" reds rejoice! Stephane Madiec offers you this vibrant expression of the untamed countryside. A bit funky perhaps on the nose, it's pure fruited on the palate, with expressive herbal notes, great tannins, and a very long mineral finish. We've been carrying this wine for many months and it is tasting it's best lately, with really harmonious fruit and earth. Eben Lillie
Our Biodynamic friends, the Hubert family at Chateau Peybonhomme-les-Tours, have finally made a dry rosé and it's quite delicious. Subtle aromas of strqwberry, peach and citrus on the nose that continue on the round but dry and refreshing palate. This gains weight with time (better on the second day) and has surprising length for a rosé. This is a versatile wine to serve as an aperitif or with grilled tuna, melon and prosciutto, grilled chicken or pork and mild cheeses.
From a 1/2 hectare parcel on Kimmeridgian limestone in Marnoz, northeast of Arbois. 11% alcohol. Very pale garnet color, really a rosé. Austere nose with subtle aromas of red-currant, strawberry, earth and beach rose. The palate is tart and light with red-currant, earth and stone, very crystalline and long. This is a wine of contemplation and definitely not a fruit-bomb! DL
This is a beautiful Savagnin from the organic vineyards of Jean-Charles Maire, on Kimmeridgian limestone near the Mont Poupet, at Marnoz, northeast of Arbois. (Elevage is sous-voile.) Opaque pale gold color. Oxidative aromas of dried pear, lemon zest, dried hebs, beeswax, stone and earth. The palate is full and dense with sharp acidity showing dried fruits, citrus, marzipan and stone flavors, with a long intensely mineral and citrus finish. Serve with fish in sauce, chicken with morels, mountain cheeses. Delicious now but five to ten years of aging seems possible, wonderful after three days open.DL
From old vines in "le Calise" on a hillside in Marnoz on a typical Jura "marnes" soil. The wine shows bright garnet/black color with earthy/meaty blackberry and tart cherry aromas with hints of citrus and spice. Bright blackberry fruit on the palate with nice density and firm earthy acidity, with minerals and blackberry/cherry fruit and a bit of tannin in the finish. Lovely now with grilled Charolais, charcuterie, young goat cheeses. Best after three to five years. DL
This is a delicious wine from Stéphane Tissot’s Biodynamic estate in Arbois! It is a blend of Poulsard, Trousseau, and Pinot Noir that ferments and ages in 100-year-old, 2,000L foudre. It doesn’t see any SO2 at any time during the fermentation, and at 11% alcohol it is incredibly pure and fresh! Lots of red berry fruits mingle on the nose, and there is ample minerality on the palate accompanied by more berry fruits and a surprising amount of structure. Serve slightly chilled, and pair with summery foods of all kinds! Tim Gagnon
Finally! It’s been some time since we’ve had Tissot’s Poulsard on the shelves, and I couldn’t be more excited to have it back. 2015 was an excellent vintage for Stephane (and many other growers in France), and he says this may be his favorite Poulsard he’s made to date. Sourced from three parcels of 45- to 90-year-old vines planted in clay soils, vinified with only native yeasts, and no SO2 is added at any time! It has all of the high-toned, crunchy mineral purity (without the reduction!) that I love about this grape and the palate carries smoky berries, blood orange, iron, and juicy red plum flavors. It is a bit more structured and tannic than some other wines made with Poulsard (no doubt a characteristic of the old vines) making it a solid choice for charcuterie or heartier meats where you would want some cut. This is downright excellent. Tim Gagnon
Evelyn and Pascal Clairet craft this cuvée from 20-30-year-old Ploussard vines planted in clay and marl soils. The grapes are then hand-sorted and lightly pressed before undergoing full carbonic maceration in stainless steel tanks. Once this period is over, the juice is racked into neutral oak barrels where it will rest for three to four months before being bottled unfined, unfiltered, and without sulphur. The resulting wine is incredibly light and fresh with enticing aromas of strawberry jam and crushed red flowers. The palate offers more a bit more ripeness than the 2014, with bright red fruits that are also found on the nose, along with minerals and lip-smacking acidity. It is a pure joy to drink slightly chilled before a meal and is great alongside grilled chicken, vegetable dishes, or charcuterie! Tim Gagnon
When Gabriele Marano decided to retire in 2000, his son-in-law Pietro Topi took interest in continuing the family’s legacy at Collebello. With some of the region's oldest and healthiest vines that had always been organically farmed, Pietro and his childhood friend Martino Taraschi built a modest winery in 2006 and began producing wine under the name Tenuta Terraviva, meaning “living earth”. They hired Claudia Galterio to give them a hand, one of Piemonte’s top new winemakers respected for her non-manipulative style. After a few vintages, they were finally making the wines they have envisioned, using only indigenous yeasts and very little sulphur. Intense ruby red in color and aromatic, with black berries, smooth tannins and earth. Perfect for pork and lamb dishes, as well as hot and spicy peppers. And of course, any kind of pasta with red sauce. Christine Manula
Historically, amari were made as a way to make full use of the harvest by macerating leftover herbs, botanicals, and fruits in distilled spirits. This of course means everything was grown locally, resulting in a myriad of different styles depending on where you were and what crops were planted. And while there are other American amari on the market today, it’s hard to think of one that truly capitalizes on its bountiful, regional raw ingredients. Most are based on traditional Italian – or even Scandinavian – recipes, which are delicious, but rely on herbs and botanicals that may or may not be native to where they are made. Enter High Wire’s Southern Amaro. Using a base of neutral corn spirit, they macerate Yaupon Holly (America’s only native caffeinated plant) and gentian root, along with wild mint, local Dancy tangerine, and Charleston Black Tea (the only colorant used), among other botanicals. It is then sweetened with neutral cane syrup which they make themselves from local sugarcane. It is wild and intriguing on the nose with brown sugar, sweet spice, and zesty citrus balanced by deeper aromas of black tea leaves, pine resin, smoke, and hints of brine and celery. The palate is quite lifted and herb-forward with a balanced sweetness, and it is here that the tangerine and mint really shine along with a touch of black cherry. Reach for this after a fantastic meal! Tim Gagnon
Mauro Vergano started making Chinato as a hobby. A few years ago he turned pro, and now we can buy his elixirs here in the States. The Americano features Grignolino grapes supplied by one of our favorite Piedmont producers, Cascina 'Tavijn. Mauro serves this apéritif with sparkling water, ice and a slice of orange peel. We suggest that you do the same. JR
Simply put, Colheita is a vintage-dated, Tawny Port. Infantado’s Colheita is unique as all the grapes come from 100% “class A” vineyards. In addition, the minimum aging in very old 500 liter casks, is for seven years before bottling. This Colheita is made through gradual oxidation and concentration, resulting in a golden brown color and complex nutty flavors. The wine will keep for months after opening. Tasted in October of 2016, the wine was remarkably complex, soft and elegant with lovely aromas and flavors of prune, tea, burned citrus, brown spice, nut and dried flowers - just delicous. This would be a perfect ending to a Thanksgiving feast, served with the pies, nuts and cheeses. Highly recommended!
Domaine Barou has been organic since the 1970s and also produces cherries, apricots and peaches. The Saint-Joseph vines are in Limony, on thin granite soils. Shallow plowing ("griffage") is done in the summer, with rye and clover growing between the rows in winter. The grapes are 80% de-stemmed, fermentations are with wild yeasts, aging is primarily in old barrels. The 2014 Saint-Joseph "Un Autre Monde" is astonishingly pretty with lush, deep aromas of blackberry liqueur, dark chocolate, blueberry and raspberry, warm earth and musk - you get the idea! The palate shows black fruits, firm acidity and mineral flavors with hints of cocoa, licorice and mint, supple and cool with a lovely finish of black fruits and minerals. Perhaps the best Saint-Joseph yet from Emmanuel and Marie-Agnes Barou - drink over the next three to five years, simply delicious!
"Chapelle St. Theodoric is a project between winemaker Baptiste Grangeon and importer Peter Weygandt. There are two parcels; one in the lieu-dit La Guigasse, which is a pure sand soil and where the vines (all Grenache) range in age of from 50 to 100 year; and the other parcel at the top of Pignan, literally adjoining the vines of Chateau Rayas, also in pure sand and also pure, old vines Grenache. The vinification is traditional, that is to say, whole-cluster, such as employed by Jacques Reynaud at Chateau Rayas, Laurent Charvin, Henri Bonneau. In the 2014 vintage, it was decided to put all of the La Guigasse and some of the Grand Pin into Les Sablons, because of the more forward style of 2014." - Weygandt-Metzler. The 2014 "Les Sablons" is indeed a very lovely Chateauneuf, showing beautiful ripe red currant and black cherry aromas with hints of brown spice, rose, earth and musk. The palate is light and fine but very dense with sappy red fruits, citrus, earth and mineral flavors with hints of licorice and prune. The finish is long and lingering, with firm acidity showing good aging potential. Elegant and delicious now - serve slightly cool - perhaps best 2020 to 2030. Three cheers to Peter Weygandt and Baptiste Grangeon for producing this lovely old-school Châteaneuf-du-Pape!
(50% Clairette, 25% Roussanne, 25% Viognier, always organically farmed, wild yeast fermentation, aged in enamel vat) Floral dried pear, apricot, hay, thyme aromas. Ripe pear, stone, caramel, lemon on the palate. A big, ripe wine with a supple palate but with good acidity that will pair with fish stews, shellfish, pork and chicken dishes as well as full-flavored goat cheeses. Particularly good in 2015, the Clos du Joncuas (Domaine la Garancière) Seguret Blanc is an outstanding value and highly recommended. DL
80% Grenache with Mourvedre, Cinsault and Syrah, on Triassic clay/limestone soils always farmed organically. Whole cluster fermentation in vat with 12 months aging in large old barrels. Although we love this beautifully old-fashioned, organic wine in every vintage, Dany and Carole Chastan have made perhaps their best wine ever in 2015! The wine shows deep aromas of blackberry, dark chocolate, prune, garrigue, musk and citrus, quite focused and elegant. The palate is pure, supple and balanced, even at 15% alcohol, with dense blackberry, tart cherry, red currant, spice, earth and minerals, with tart red fruits, minerals and citrus in the very long finish. This is a superb Gigondas that can be enjoyed immensely now with a steak, pork or lamb chops, Morrocan tagines and full-flavored cheeses. Cellar 10 to 15 years for a mature experience. This is a superb wine and a great value - thanks to Carole and Dany for their great farming and traditional winemaking!
Though perhaps not the most well-known of the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Saint Maurice has a long history of wine making with evidence of winemaking dating back to the Romans. The vines are a planted in clay limestone soils at 350 meters, the coolness of the altitude lending freshness to the 95% Syrah, 5% Grenache blend. The nose offers aromas of cassis, blackberry, with hints of game, anise, and garrigue. The palate is a medley of black fruit, mineral expression, and cool-toned herbal notes with good persistence and lift. Try this with lamb or grilled sausage. John McIlwain
From a one-half hectare parcel of 60 year-old vines in "Les Rivoires" on the lower slope in Tournon, sandy granite soils. Aged 12 months, 30% foudre, 70% 2 to 5 year-old barrels. This "serious" Saint-Joseph shows lush, bright aromas of blackberry liqueur, with blueberry, violet, citrus, spice and roast meats. The palate is a bit tight and quite elegant with red currant, blackberry and blueberry fruit with firm acidity and mineral flavors. This is an elegant, earthy and well-structured Saint-Joseph that will age beautifully - best probably 2021 to 2030, decant if drinking now.
From hillside vineyards in Erome, Gervans and Crozes, mostly granite with some limestone/clay, average age 45 years, aged 30% in foudre, 70% in one to 7 year-old burgundy barrels. This is no "ordinary" Crozes-Hermitage, but a real wine of terroir from great vineyard sites, all on hillsides. The 2014 is aromatically beautiful with complex aromas of red currant, blueberry, violet, musk and citrus. The palate is softer than in the very structured 2013 vintage, showing red and black fruit liqueur lifted by citrusy acids and finishing with nice mineral flavors, floral notes and supple fruit. This is a very pretty Crozes to drink over the next 5 years, and a great value!
From 60 to 90 year-old vines in the hillside vineyards of "les Vedias" and "Tout" in Erome, decomposed granite with clay and gravel - great terroir producing this serious but overlooked wine from the Rousset family. The Rousset Crozes Blanc is outstanding in 2015 and is one of the finest white wine values in the store! It's an intense and delicious Marsanne showing elegant aromas of lemon, stone, dried pear, almond, apricot and hay - really lovely. The palate is dense, mineral and balanced by firm acidity with citrus, pear, grilled almond, anise and herbal flavors, with a long stone and citrus finish. Delicious in its youth, this will benefit from a few years in the cellar and should be quite interesting in 2025. Serve with white meats, full-flavored fish dishes or provençal fish soup and a wide variety of cheeses. David Lillie
Made primarily from 80 to 90 year-old vines of Serine, generally regarded as an old version of Syrah (which evolved from Mondeuse Blanc and Dureza) with smaller berries which survived through massale selection, principally in Cote Rotie. Serine gives a more aromatic and elegant wine that the larger berried modern Syrah. "From our first day of harvest, 2013 is one of our favorite vintages. The younger vines, which proved austère in the months after bottling, are now showing the remarkable definition that each terroir has gifted to both wines: generosity and smokiness from Saint-Julien’s granits, depth and definition from Brézème. The 30 months of aging in 2500 litre foudres have rendered both cuvées surprisingly approachable for such a classic vintage. The aging potential is exceptional for both wines, and the Brézème is probably the best expression we’ve obtained from this terroir…and at less than 12% alcohol! 2632 bottles, 120 magnums and 10 jéroboams" Eric Texier
A blend of 50% Clairette and 50% Roussanne, fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts and has malolactic fermentation blocked, the 2013 Vieux Donjon displays the nervier side of Châteauneuf du Pape Blanc. The robe is a pale yellow, and with gold highlights. This nose is a bit subdued upon opening but blossoms to reveal lovely aromas of ripe white stone fruits, acacia honey, and candied lemon peel, with hints of stone and smoke. The mid-weight palate offers flavors of white peach, nectarine, toasted almond, and bergamot. There is nice acidity lending a sense of freshness, offsetting the supple texture. This is really pretty, though it benefits from decanting a for couple of hours to allow the aromatics to harmonize. Best served just below cellar temperature. John McIlwain
Resolutely old-fashioned in the best possible sense, Vieux Donjon makes Châteauneuf that harkens back to an era before super-cuvées, fancy cooperage, and points. The 2014 is comprised of 75% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault, Counoise, Clairette from old vines averaging over 70 years old. The wine has a ruby to violet robe, the nose is a melange of red and black fruits, eastern spices, garrigue, and tobacco aromas, blessedly free of notes of toasted oak or torrefaction. The mid-weight (for CDP) palate offers a complex blend of flavors ranging from wild strawberry, black cherry, five spice, and roasted game, girded by a spicy mineral foundation. This is generous and fresh, but has the structure for aging. Enjoy this with game, pot au feu, or for the adventurous crispy duck chow fun. John McIlwain
A tiny fraction of Vieux Donjon's organically farmed estate in Châtueaneuf-du-Pape is planted to stately white varieties Roussanne and Clairette, which combine for a supple, full-bodied, exotic, and languorous southern French white. Still quite young, fabulously spicy and round (especially compared to the more chiseled 2013), with aromas of yellow apple, wild flowers, kiwi, and fennel that lilt onto the shimmering palate of stone fruit, ripe pears, husk cherries, ginger root, white peppercorn, and crunchy mineral soil. The white wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are famously fascinating with age, but offer great pleasure in their youth, as unique pairings for silky seafood dishes, poultry, veal, and cheeses. Ariana Rolich
For those who can't decide between the two! Get 10% off on one bottle each of Aultmore 2008 and Glen Moray 2009 while supplies last.
Lively and bright-fruited old-vine Cinsault from the Itata Valley in the South of Chile. “A Los Vinateros Bravos” translates as “to the brave vignerons,” paying homage to the growers in the mountainous Nipos subzone who tend the traditional bush vines without irrigation or machinery. Hand-picked and fermented with native yeasts in concrete tanks to heighten the pure, lush berry and red cherry fruit characteristics of the grape, this is a delicious and zesty red that drinks great on its own with a slight chill and a little air to open up, yet has enough complexity to give any Beaujolais Villages a run for its money alongside a salty plate of charcuterie. Karina Mackow
Elegant and focused compared to the unfettered flair of Tio Uco, Aciano is made from Alvar de Dios' grandfather's own-rooted vineyard of Tinta de Toro planted nearly 100 years ago on pure sandy soils at 700 meters altitude in El Pego, on the southern limit of the Toro DO. Deep brambly aromas with black currant, raspberry liqueur, almond cake, sweet pink florals, blueberry, balsam, blood orange, and cinnamon flow onto the palate of intense black currant, almond oil, savory tropical fruits like papaya and pomegranate, cherry bark, plum vinegar, bitter herbs, and long, lilting minerality. For its balance and beauty, I cannot recommend this wine highly enough. Ariana Rolich
A burst of flamboyant flavors, Tío Uco is an exciting young wine from an exciting young winemaker! A native of southern Toro, Alvar de Dios honed his skills working with Fernando García at Bodegas Marañones (a longtime Chambers Street favorite in the Sierra de Gredos) before returning to Toro to farm his family vineyards and acquire others. Tío Uco comes from 25 to 40 year-old, organically farmed vines of Tinta de Toro on a variety of terroirs (clay, limestone, sand, and gravel), destemmed and raised in neutral oak barrels. Aromas are wild and heady, full of fermenting berries, black cherry compote, incense and clove, with a jazzy, light spritz upon opening, dissolving into the fun and full-flavored palate of cassis, cranberry, cola, umeboshi salt plums, balsamic, wild rose, and bitter herbs on the finish. Substantial and spicy, but light on its feet, this is a lovely Toro for everyday drinking pleasure. Ariana Rolich
Saiar is a certified organic vineyard of Albariño grown on granitic soils. Fermented with wild yeasts in tank, with aromas of citrus zest, jasmine tea, and orange blossoms and a dry, focused, mineral-driven palate of lemon-lime, peach skins, white flowers, papaya, and a hint of anise. A classic with oysters and a stellar apéritif! Ariana Rolich
Kiko Calvo made wine all over the world before returning to Toro to farm his family's own-rooted Tinta de Toro vines and use his diverse winemaking experience to draw out their potential, with no adherence to local styles or conventions. Bigardo's website notes that Tinta de Toro grapes ("not Tempranillo!") for this wine are harvested over the course of 45 days, with many individual fermentations highlighting the character of specific vineyard parcels, which range from 20 to 100 years old. This incredible effort to enhance and layer the personalities of the grapes is evident in the finished wine as well, which feels supple and sculpted, a braid of rich textures and flavors. Aromas of currants, cherries, and sweet smoke swirl onto the palate, which at first is red-fruited, pretty, and pleasantly acidic with sweet tannins, opening with oxygen to reveal layers of creamy purple and black fruit - mulberry, black currant, and earthy plums - rosebud, licorice, candied violets, cocoa, and and cooling hint of pine. Shape-shifting and marvelous! Ariana Rolich
Ramon Saavedra makes delicious zero-added-sulphur wines in the tiny hamlet of Cortes y Graena in the Granada province of Andalusia. The vibe there, as Ramon puts it, is "more like northern Africa than southern Spain." Hot and arid, but with lofty altitudes that bring cool nights for the vines and brilliant acidity for the wine, this region seems to impose no limit on the winemaker's imagination. Ramon farms four hectares of diverse varieties: Tempranillo, Garnacha, Syrha, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and more. His wines are lifted, long-lived (a 2003 Merlot knocked our socks off on a recent visit!), and simply delicious. This Pinot Noir is ripe and bright, but at 12.5% a balanced and unique experience of the noble grape. Heady aromas of sappy red plum, black cherry, with tarragon, thyme, and incense waft onto the ripe yet buoyant palate of wild cherries, tart red currant and exotic brown spice, with tingly tannins and a mouth-watering acidic core. Ariana Rolich
Winemaker Daniel Ramos said that when he and his wife drink a bottle of Pizarra, they frequently open it 3-4 days in advance. Only made in exceptional years, Pizarra is 100% Garnacha from a 60-100+ year old vines on south-facing slate/schist vineyards at 900-975m (3000 feet) elevation. It is brawnier and darker than the Del Tiemblo cuvee, with wild ripe berries, sandalwood, and musky citrus oils alongside subtle oxidative notes, spicy wild "garrigue" of lavender, and thyme (which coincidentally grow around the vineyard), and a clear core of slatey minerals. An exceptional wintry Garnacha for roasted meats and root vegetables. Please decant! Ariana Rolich
Envínate is a collaboration between four friends who met at enology school in Alicante and have gone on to make memorable and terroir-expressive wines from special parcels of vines all over Spain: Ribeira Sacra, Canary Islands, and this one from the Almansa DO (just inland and south of Valencia). 100% Garnacha Tintorera (a deeply pigmented and vibrantly acidic grape) from 30 year-old, organically farmed vines at 800 meters altitude on chalky, clay-calcareous soils. Wild yeast fermented with 50% whole clusters, raised for 8 months in large cement vats, the 2015 vintage is riper and richer than 2014, still energized by bright acidity with aromas of spicy rose florals, crushed purple berries, cinnamon, and licorice, with flavors of sun-kissed, sappy blackberries, bramble, chewy black fruit skins, with oregano, clove, and salty licorice sticks. Ariana Rolich
Baboso is the most bodacious of the Canary red varieties. Fruit-forward by nature, it takes a special winemaker to temper Baboso's tendancy toward boozy exuberance and sappy berry excess. Borja Perez Gonzales stays true to the grape's voluptuous core while maintaining balance and emphasizing acidity and intense mineral expression. Heady, floral aromas and a gushing, fruit-forward palate of crushed purple berries take the lead, with fresh plums, sweet purple and black berries, spicy cloves, pepper, wild flowers, kirsch, and smoky, volcanic earth. An effortlessly full and clear expression of this fabulous and eye-opening grape! While most reds from the Canary Island pair fabulously with the local supply of fresh fish, Baboso cries out for meals of pork or red meat. Ariana Rolich
This is serious Rioja: no new oak, extended pre-release bottle aging, and exquisite vineyard sites (for the Tondonia, vines dig deep through fine-grained alluvial soils overlooking the Ebro River that were first planted almost 140 years ago). Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta founded Lopez de Heredia in 1877, and the wines continue to serve as a benchmark for the region (the family business is now led mainly by his grandson Pedro, and great-granddaughter Maria Jose). The bodega comprises four distinct vineyard areas and extends to a total of 170 hectares, with Tondonia being the largest and most famous of the holdings. Jancis Robinson considers 2004 "a very good year, with wines that should last well," and the Tondonia Reserva is certainly that: powerful, lean, and layered with gorgeous, generous fruit and all the cigar box, cedar, and leather notes a lover of classic Rioja could wish for.
Alfredo Maestro keeps us on our toes with his inventive, ever-evolving family of wines from his homeland of Ribera del Duero, as well as the Sierra de Gredos and Vinos de Madrid. Almate is 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) from many tiny vineyards in and outside of the Ribera del Duero (Maestro works outside of appellation, so all of his wines are labeled ambiguously as "Castilla y Leon"), farmed organically and raised in stainless steel with no additions or modifications. Supple Tempranillo aromas of black cherry, rose hips, sweet baking chocolate, black pepper, and warm earth meld with supremely juicy fruit and a silty, pleasingly unfiltered texture on the tongue: round yet direct, with rich plum and sour cherries, soft earth, oregano, cafe-au-lait, and a long, direct, mineral-tinged finish, courtesy of the regions' alluvial, clay, and limestone soils. We are perennially amazed by the personality and depth of this complex young wine relative to its price. Ariana Rolich
Partida Creus' Xarello always stands out among their lineup of natural wines, farmed organically and vinified with no added SO2 in the Massis de Bonastre in the Baix Penedes. Ungrafted old vines from a single parcel give this Xarello a particular energy and clarity. Pure and peppery, with broad, juicy fruit flavors of apricots, white grapefruit, crunchy pineapple, and sweet, refreshing swirls of orange, anchored by tingly acidity, low alcohol, gentle tannin (from a few hours of skin contact), with flecks of resinous herbs, fragrant lemon balm, and gritty mineral soil. A delicious and unique take on this important grape. Ariana Rolich
Another fabulous 2015 Albarino from Rias Baixas, Pedralonga has a pulse all its own. From 7.5 ha of organic and biodynamically farmed vines, it is energetic, salty, savory, and long. Pedralonga - "big rock" in Gallego - refers to the chunks of granite that protrude from the vineyard soils and create the textured, mineral core of the palate. Aromas of oyster shell, meadow flowers and creamy stone fruit dance onto the energizing palate of fresh citrus, briny sea spray, green apple, and pink peppercorn. Pair with shellfish, charcuterie, sushi, or vegetable pastas. Ariana Rolich
Priorat natives Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. balance freshness with great complexity in all of their wines for Venus La Universal, which are made from Montsant fruit. Upon first sip of the inaugural vintage of "La Solucio" rose, we were hooked! Now the 2014 vintage has arrived, a blend of red and white grapes -- Garnacha, Carignan, and Syrah, plus Macabeu, Garnacha Blanca, and Garnacha Gris -- pressed all together, co-fermented, and aged for approximately 10 months in very old barrels before bottling. Pale, twinkling, rosy copper in the glass, with peach, orange peel, musk melon, blood orange,and peppercorn aromas; texturally stimulating, with tender tannins and lots of length, supporting sultry apricot, just-ripening wild berries, bitter citrus rinds, creamy florals, and lingering, salty, mineral and earth tone. I wish there were enough of this wine to drink all year long, but the truth is that it is the absolute perfect rose to start drinking now with light late-summer meals of gazpacho and grilled seafood, transitioning easily into heartier autumn fare like root vegetables and roasted poultry. La Solucio indeed! It will only get better with some age, so don't be afraid to stock up. Ariana Rolich
Bedrock's 2014s are impressive in their freshness and balance across the board, but Evangelho is extra subtle and structured, with pink and purple floral aromas that carry onto the palate of crushed purple berries with tart, tannic skins, an abundance of blood orange and citrus oils that I associate with Evangelho, and fresh, gritty minerality. Evangelho is 40-foot-deep beach sand planted in the 1890s to Zinfandel, Carignane, Mourvedre, and more. The fine folks at Bedrock call it a "viticultural survivor- wedged betweem a PG and E plant, a Burger King, and a motel that rents rooms by the hour." Pretty and refreshingly acidic, this is a Zinfandel blend to unite diverse drinkers. Ariana Rolich
Bow & Arrow's preeminently drinkable Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend, magnum edition! Jonas Mendoza
Winemaker Chris Brockway makes Brea Cabernet from Margarita Vineyard in Paso Robles, the same site behind the delicious and popular Broadside Cabernet. The 2013 is riper and more fruit-forward than the previous year's vintage, leaning more toward California than Bordeaux. Juicy black cherry, black currant, and ripe black plum flavors delicately interweave into dried thyme, sage, and compacted earth undertones. Jonas Mendoza
Hank Beckmeyer and his French wife had been working in Germany in the music business, and had caught the wine bug while travelling throughout Europe. Influenced by the ideas of Japanese farmer-philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka and Austrian philosopher-spiritualist Rudolf Steiner, they moved to the United States and purchased a property in California’s Sierra Foothills in 2001. La Clarine Farm’s winemaking approach is minimalist: neither chemicals, fertilizers, nor tillage are employed in the field; neither industrial yeasts, sulfur dioxide, nor new oak used in the cellar. Cedarville Vineyard lies upon a south-facing exposure on decomposed granite soils, similar to those in the heartland of the Northern Rhone. With a light yet sinewy texture, this Syrah impresses with dried and stewed black cherry, crushed herbs, leather, and cinnamon stick flavors. -Jonas Mendoza
2004 Granite Crown is a unique blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Syrah from Renaissance, the pioneering estate in the Sierra Foothills where Gideon Beinstock of Clos Saron got his start in California. Aromas of rich and refreshing red and black currant, blueberries, and mocha, with smooth and juicy mouth-filling flavors of sweet plum, tart cranberry, green peppercorns, wild berry, fine-grained tannins and loads of minerals. Lush and satisfying right now, but Renaissance builds their wines to age so don't be afraid to cellar a few of these as well! Ariana Rolich
It's difficult to find a quality Oregon Pinot Noir under $25, let alone one that pairs remarkably with food. St. Innocent blends the fruit from their estate vineyard (Zenith) with that from several other sites within the northern Willamette Valley (Vitae Springs, Freedom Hill, Temperance Hill, and Momtazi). On the palate, very ripe and dark fruit flavors (morello cherry, black raspberry) are framed by a sweet and robust body. Pair with roasted pork and steak tenderloin. Jonas Mendoza
The Mamakating Hollow cider is exotic and deep on the nose with aromas of sandalwood, almond butter, ripe apricot, hay, and decadent orange marmalade. Full-bodied and slightly effervescent on the palate, golden orchard fruit and earthy tones emerge with pronounced tannic structure followed by a hint of blood orange and iron - it almost mirrors autumn. With time open, ripe apple, pear, and apricot fruit come forward along with apple blossom. This is incredibly food-friendly and would pair well with any type of rustic vegetable dish, or even pork or roasted chicken. Tim Gagnon
From a single clone, this barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc has notes of pear and peach candy, with ripe and rich orchard fruit flavors and dried herb undertones. For those expecting lean-and-mean, cookie-cutter Sauvignon Blanc, they're bound to be disappointed by this wine's aromatic complexity and rich, leesy texture. We'll soon run out of them in 750ml, but brought some back in magnums. Jonas Mendoza
In addition to perfectly elegant, age-worthy reds, Steve Edmunds produces one of California's lightest, purest white wines from Vermentino and Grenache Blanc. Heart of Gold exudes fresh white florals, mineral water, and tingly orchard fruit aromas; flavors are bright and defined, graceful and deeply mineral, with gentle rays of citrus pith and crisp pear, golden apple, and yellow peach. Acidity is abundant and well-integated. Ariana Rolich
For as iconoclastic of a winemaker as Chad Stock, one wouldn't expect him to delve into the nuances of Sauvignon Blanc, but this is his second exploration with grapes sourced from the Stella Maris vineyard in southern Oregon's Applegate Valley AVA. The Sauvignon Blanc is fermented whole-cluster, macerated with Viognier, and then matured in 600L acacia-wood puncheons. There's the typical zippiness you normally get from Savvy B, but it's followed by a kaleidoscope of peach, gardenia, and candied pineapple notes, followed by lemon curd and and tropical fruit flavors. To Chad Stock's credit, the wine is assertive, rich, ripe, and unlike almost any other Sauvignon Blanc you've had before. Jonas Mendoza