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This is a lovely Beaujolais from the Chignard family, better known for their Fleurie "Les Moriers." As with much of Julienas the bedrock of "Beauvernay" is diorite, rather than granite, locally called "roches bleues." It's an interesting terroir of volcanic origin with more clay and rich in magnesium, giving complex well-structured wines. Possessing the ripe fruit and lush palate of the 2018 vintage in Beaujolais, the Julienas "Beauvernay" shows a pretty red/black color, with elegant, a bit restrained aromas of black raspberry and black cherry with violet, blood orange, earth and stone, which should open up nicely over the next few years. It's ripe and sapid but with lively acidity and well proportioned. Tart cherry, plum and red currant fruit with saline minerals, earth and spice coat the palate and continue in the earthy finish. Quite lovely now, especially with a long decant, this should soften and gain complexity with three to five years of aging, drink till 2025-2028. David Lillie
Sandwiched between the appellations of Morgon and Fleurie, Chiroubles is slightly less famous than its two neighbors, and can occasionally be referred to as producing wines of less complexity, with a more immediate and obvious charm. Yet there is no lack of excitement in the vielles vignes (old vines) offerings from Georges Descombes, and the 2018 Chiroubles is no exception, and showing quite beautifully right now, though a decant definitely helps. The nose shows wonderful deep fruit notes of dark cherry, cherry liqueur, blackberry, dark forest fruit, raspberry, raspberry leaves, blackcurrant tea, and a hint of baking spice and nutmeg. The palate is fresh and energetic, with vibrant acidity and is both expressive and showing great intensity of flavor. The fruit of the nose translates well, though slightly more red fruit tinged, and introduces a hint of orange zest and apple peel. There is also a bit of earthiness and minerality, which balances well with the fruit and spice notes. A delicious bottle now, this will only get better in the next 10 years. Oskar Kostecki
Somewhat similar to 2009 - the last Beaujolais vintage that received huge point scores in the American wine press - the warm and dry 2018 vintage produced wines that are ripe and lush, but lower in alcohol and with brighter, fresher aromas and flavors than the 2009s. The 2019 Fleurie Vieilles Vignes shows a bright red/black color and aromas that are a beautiful blend of violet, black raspberry and blackberry with a bit of brown spice and citrus. The grainy textured palate really shows the granite terroir, with very earthy black fruit liqueur, licorice and stone flavors in the long finish. A very young wine, decant if drinking now, this serious Fleurie should really sing after a few years in the cellar, drink until 2030+ David Lillie
Pretty young to be checking in on the old vines cuvée, but these are unusual times to say the least. Dark ruby, verging in purple robe. Dusty crushed blackberries, violets, and a brambly note on the nose. Nothing roasted or overripe here, despite the black fruit. The palate is mid-weight and has fine sap and vigor, with succulent ripeness and plenty of dry extract to buffer the firm—not stern—tannins. There’s good tension between the bright, ripe, concentrated fruit and the substantial mineral core. The finish is long and layered with good lift and fine persistence. There’s good structure here and while this has plenty of charm now, this ought to dazzle with 5-7 years in the cellar and beyond. And while the prices have crept up, this is a steal given its breed and rivals plenty of very good villages wines from my beloved Côte d’Or in character and complexity. John McIlwain
The 2018 Regnié from Geroges Descombes is a finely balanced wine, even in a warmer vintage, Ripe and generous fruit is offset with lively acidity and a vivid intensity on the palate that keeps this wine lifted and fresh. On the nose there are high-toned aromas of red and black currant, strawberry, raspberry, black cherry, rose, violets, and licorice. The palate has soft and finely integrated tannins and shows notes of strawberry and raspberry liqueur, blackberry, pomegranate, orange peel, baking spice and a granitic minerality, especially on the complex and satisfying finish. This is a very versatile wine, and I wouldn't hesitate to pair with a wide range of foods, from roast chicken, to burgers or even a pork chop. It was equally at home accompanying the watching of a movie on the couch with just a little, hastily composed cheese plate for backup. A joyful wine for all occasions. Oskar Kostecki
The 2018 Regnié Vieilles Vignes was one of the stars in last winter's tasting showing gorgeous red and black raspberry aromas with earth, citrus and spice, really lovely. The palate is elegant and long with black cherry, prune and red fruit liqueur with earth and smoke, with underlying mineral, graphite flavors. The wine is beautifully balanced and fresh at 13 - 13.5% alcohol, powerful yet refined and delicate, and will improve with a few years cellaring - but in such a nice place right now. This is an outstanding Beaujolais, simply delicious - serve cool with pork and lamb dishes, coq au vin, charcuterie, over the next ten years. EL
Julien Guillot's 2018 "Ultimatum Climat" is from a parcel in the soutern Beaujolais called "Les Pierres Bleues" - it's a gorgeous Beaujolais combining elegance and structure with beautiful fruit, for current drinking and medium-term cellaring. The vines are more than 100 years old, located in the commune of Bully on an ancient volcanic rift. The subsoil is limestone with sandy clay and dark blue metamorphic rocks, giving a strong salinity to the wine. The vineyard is in organic/biodynamic farming and the wine is produced in the Vignes du Maynes carbonic method with zero sulfur added. Deep red/black color: slight reduction then bright strawberry and raspberry fruit, violet, graphite, earth, licorice and citrus. The palate shows lush blackberry and raspberry fruit, creamy and sapid but backed with firm acidity, with violet, earth and citrus notes that continue in the long supple finish. Really delicious and nicely balanced for a 2018 at 12.5 % alcohol - drink now or cellar for 5 to 8 years for a mature experience.
This is a new cuvee for Julien Guillot, using certified organic fruit from two parcels in Chenas: "Les Petites Pierres" - 60 year-old vines on granite stones and clay over granite bedrock, and "Gandelins" - 80 year-old vines in a south-facing vineyard on decomposed granite, bordering Moulin-a-Vent. Tasted last winter during our usual sprint through the many bottles and barrels at Vignes du Maynes, the wine showed complex red fruit aromas with black raspberry and strawberry fruit with earth and mint, quite elegant and silky textured, with terrific length. No added SO2. 36 btls for the US.
Sandrine Henriot's parcel in Regnié has more clay in the soil than in Morgon and always gives a well-structured wine. The 2018 shows a deep black/purple color and high-toned aromas of blackberry and black raspberry with violet and citrus peel, quite elegant. The palate is supple and deep but not heavy with lovely black raspberry, cherry and raspberry confit, quite sapid and long with firm acidity and finishing with lingering red fruit and mineral flavors. Delicious now this will open up over the next few years, drink until 2028. David Lillie
Jean-Paul Brun's Chardonnay comes 35 year-old vines grown on sandy clay and limestone soils in the southern Beaujolais and is raised in stainless steel, with occasional use of old barrels (no new oak!). Bright aromas of peach, apricot, lemon zest, and thyme lead to flavors of pure white fruits, juicy lime, crisp orange blossom, subtle herbal undertones, and a long chalky finish. Paired with salad, seafood,chicken, goat milk cheeses, or nothing at all, this is a beautiful choice and great value in white Burgundy!
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. The 2018 shows lovely aromas of cherry and red currant liqueur with a touch of rose petal, cocoa and spice. The palate is ripe but balanced by refreshing acidity, showing pretty red fruits with earth and mineral flavors, with a silky, slightly grainy texture, finishing with nice length of sappy fruit and firm acidity. A beautiful Beaujolais for current drinking and over the next few years. "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
100% Gamay. The Terres Dorées L'Ancien vines are Jean Paul's oldest vines at 40-60 years old. They grow on the sandy clay-limestone hills in his home village of Charnay in the southern Beaujolais and yield small, thick-skinned berries. The farming is organic and harvest manual. The earliest harvest of these vines goes into his Nouveau. Unlike any other Nouveau out there, there is no carbonic maceration (true for all of his Gamays). The bunches are destemmed, the fruit crushed and fermented with native yeasts in tank, notably with no chaptalization; it is aged briefly, though longer than most Nouveaux, and bottled in time to land in the states by the third Thursday in November. The 2020 version shows lovely aromas of ripe cherry and blackberry with citrus and floral notes; the palate is dense, sappy and ripe with deep red and black fruits and hints of earth, citrus and cocoa. This is a seriously delicious Nouveau and bodes well for the 2020 vintage wines to come...