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La Altena Distillery has a bit of a cult following in Mexico because of their high-quality Tequilas. They have been operating since the early 1800's and it remains a family operation to this day. Their 100% Blue Agave is double-distilled and bottled without any additions, even water. The Añejo is aged for 18 months in used American Whiskey barrels which give it this slightly amber color and notes of caramel and cinnamon.
Tapatio Reposado is how aged tequila should be. The notes of spice and pepper coming from oak aging integrate wonderfully with the natural sweetness and tropical fruit quality of the Blue Weber agave. As you take more time with this tequila, it reveals hints of caramel, cacao, toasted coconut and floral perfume. A grassy undertone leads to a crisp and mineral finish. Great as a sipper, this finds a perfect home in cocktails,from Margaritas and Palomas to a Tequila Old-Fashioned. Oskar Kostecki
Casa San Matias is one of the oldest distilleries in Mexico, and this release is a harkening back to a very traditional practice of crushing the agave with their 100 year-old Tahona, basalt stone. The Weber Blue agave juice is then fermented in pine vats and then distilled twice in copper pots. The reposado is aged for three months before bottling.
This is a truly special single batch agave spirit chosen by PM Spirits for its unique character. Crafted by Nicolas Garci´a Gutie´rrez from 100% Cuishe agave in San Luis Amatla´n, Miahuatla´n, Oaxaca. After harvest, the agave was buried and cooked underground pits, but a long stretch of heavy rain forced them to delay unearthing the oven. When it had finally dried out, they discovered that a type of mildew (moho) had grown over the agave, but they fermented it as is in Cyrpus tanks, then double-distilled, once with refrescadera and once without. The nose is unlike any other agave spirit I've tried with notes of seasrapy, lobster shell, roasted pablano, fresh jalapeno, and just a slight smokiness. On the palate there is a nice weight and density, bold but not to hot at 48.5% ABV with a stony, textural finish. Fascinating! Michelle DeWyngaert
Produced from the wild agave Selmiana in the high altitude Central Mexican Plateau in the state of San Luis Potosi, this is a beautiful foil to traditional Oaxacan mezcal. The agave is not roasted, but cooked (similar to Tequila) resulting in a spirit that is not smokey, but instead bursts on the palate with a crazy array of flavors. Herbal and mineral tones weave their way through a bright citrus and floral character. There's a slight sourness, a funk that I associate with cheese rind, and noticeable acidity, which is quite shocking for a distillate. The wilder side of mezcal. What I also notice with my bottle of Selmiana is that it changes quite remarkably once open. When I first popped the cork, it felt slightly muted and withdrawn, but within 20 minutes all the exuberance I remembered from previous bottles was there again. It is fascinating watching the bottle change and evolve over a period of weeks. Oskar Kostecki
One of the only mezcales that is farmed biodynamically, Fidencio Clasico comes from the heartland of agave distillation in Oaxaca, Santiago Matatlan. Maestro Mezcalero Enrique Jimenez allows his espadin agave to mature for at least 10 years (most is cut down at 7) before harvesting and fermenting using only natural ambient yeast. An assertive smokiness on the attack gives way to fruit, specifically melon, grapefruit, and under-ripe banana. The finish resolves with a minerality reminiscent of hot stones and salinity. A perfect cocktail option. Oskar Kostecki
The makers of Fortaleza Tequila have been in the business for over 140 years. The founder (great-great-grandfather to the current owner) was the first person to export the spirit to the US, the first to implement the use of steam, instead of the traditional smoking pit, to cook the agave, and his son went on to file the application making Tequila an established Designation of Origin. Although the original company was sold, the family managed to hold onto the small distillery built at the highest point in the town of Tequila. Though the family has always been innovators, their current approach is to use the original recipe of their great-great-grandfather; with agave cooked in a small brick oven, stone-crushed, fermented in wooden tanks, and double distilled in copper pots.
Gran Agave is produced at the Destilaria Santa Lucia in the Jalisco Highlands. Despite being made at an incredible price, the Newton family continues to use the formula that they created back in 1940. All naturally grown Blue Agave, aged 4 to 6 years before harvest, steam-cooked without the use of a diffuser as they do with popular bulk Tequilas. The agave juice is fermented in open-top steel tanks, double-distilled in copper pot stills, and then bottled without additives. This is our go-to for a clean, fresh, easy-to-mix with Tequila!
Espadín from Ejutla! Félix Ramírez (Mendez) is a second-generation mezcalero based in the town of Yogana, about an hour and a half drive south of Oaxaca de Juárez. We're very excited to offer his first bottling to make it to NYC. The Espadín piñas are roasted in earthen pit for three days before a five day rest. Milling is by tahona and the fibers ferment with well water in Cypress tina followed by a single distillation through a copper alembic still with refrescadera typical to the Ejutla region, having a cool water-submerged montera above the pot with two rectifying plates inside. The cold water and the plates work to further distill the vapors, so a single pass is usually all that's needed to get close to the desired spirit, then proofed to 46.69% ABV with puntas and colas (Aug 2018). Cari Bernard
The plots for Tosba's Espadin are scattered throughout the valley, ranging in altitude from 1100m close to the village of Lachiroig to about 600m around the palenque. The growing conditions and maturation times vary greatly. Lower down the mountain, due to the more tropical conditions,the Espadin can mature in as little as 6-7 years, while the plots at higher elevations take up to 11 years. At the moment Edgar is co-fermenting and co-distilling plants taken from all the different parcels, but on my visit we talked about the future possibility of separating the Espadin according to terroir. Though currently we are in love with this new release. Higher proof than the earlier batches, it still retains its hallmark vivacity and acidity. The nose is all crushed rock and tropical fruit (banana!), with a faint whiff of aged Parmesan. The palate shows notes of guava and watermelon bubblegum, with a floral element reminiscent of hibiscus. There is a hint of thyme and cardamom, along with a smoky, charcoal note. Viva Mezcal Tosba, this is sensational Espadin! Oskar Kostecki
This mezcal is bade from 100% caponed Tobala grown by Don Tomás García Cruz and his son, on steep, white rocky soils. It is rare to find cultivated Tobala, but this experiement by the Cruz family of planting from seed led to maturation of the plants in half the time it typically takes in the wild. The agave is cooked for four days in ovens with mesquite and oak then fermented in open wood vats before double-distilling in copper pot stills. Only 180L were made of this very special bottling. The nose is bright and high-toned with notes of lime zest, white button mushroom, and cardamom. On the palate this spirit is delicate and fresh with notes of artichoke, sweet smoke from the mesquite, and fresh cardamom pods. Michelle DeWyngaert
Bacanora is finally getting some attention here in the United States! This is a mezcal from the Sonora region of Mexico and has been around for over 300 years. Rancho Tepua uses the Agave Pacifica variety (once, the only type permitted now the designation has expanded), harvested by hand, cooked for three days in a brick pit and then fermented with native yeasts. Currently in the hands of Maestro Bacanorero Roberto Contreras, the Rancho Tepua distillery has been in the family for over five generations. Notes of sweet cherry blossom, chicory, and fresh herbs on the nose, and on the palate a balance of sweet and savory spice, roasted banana leaf, and a crushed stone minerality that lingers after each sip. Enjoy this neat or with a small ice cube to cut the heat. Michelle DeWyngaert