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Since they first appeared on our shores a few years ago, the wines of Amelie Berthaut have gathered considerable acclaim. She makes a set of wonderful Fixins, as well as excellent Vosne and a bit of Clos Vougeot and Echezeaux. I have always enjoyed them whenever I have had the chance to taste them. However, until two weeks ago, I had no idea she makes a tiny amount of white wine, from a parcel just at the edge of neighboring Brochon with very white chalky soils. It was a fabulous surprise. This is white Burgundy of poise and class. The aromatics lean towards delicate white flowers and there is a touch of creaminess from the time in barrel (25% new), but minerality is the centerpiece here. It has great stony density, which helps keep the wine feeling cool even in a solar vintage like 2018. This is terrific and while not inexpensive, it is well worth a look. Sam Ehrlich
Samuel Billaud has been making waves since he began making wines under his own name in 2009. He makes pure, classically-styled Chablis that clearly express the remarkable limestone soils of the appellation. 2018 was an exceptionally warm vintage in Chablis and there are plenty of wines that emphasize ripeness over terroir. Billaud does not have this problem. This 2018 is brimming with lemon peel, a fresh green herbal edge and saline limestone character. There is excellent acidity. All things being equal, an unbelievable value. Sam Ehrlich
Samuel Billaud's Premier Cru Vaillons comes from vines that are on average seventy years old and it's another outstanding wine from this domaine in 2018. Vaillons is one of the best and best-known Chablis sites. Its hillside rises high above the village with outstanding southeastern exposure. The resulting wine is generally powerful, with great mineral intensity. No exception in 2018 - this wine has great chalky bones and layers of citrus oil, white flowers and a touch of fresh greenery. The ripeness of the vintage means that there is enough fruit to make this hugely pleasurable now or hold for five years and watch it blossom. Sam Ehrlich
The Hasard’s Bourgogne Blanc is made from hand-harvested and certified organic Chardonnay grown on a limestone/clay parcel in Aluze, next to Mercurey. The native-yeast fermentation lasts 10 months in barrel and only minimal SO2 is added at bottling. The 2019 is more fruit-forward on the nose, with aromas of dried mango, pear followed by ripe yellow fruits and river rocks. The palate is mineral, saline, and layered with notes of dried apricot, fennel, white flowers, and stone on a very generous finish. An excellent value white Burgundy that would pair well with oysters, cheeses, or roast chicken with herbs.
Chandon de Briailles' bottling of Ile de Vergelesses comes in both red and white and each one is a benchmark expression of the appellation. Pernand is lodged in a combe (a valley) between the hills of Corton and Savigny and stays a couple degrees cooler thanks to a wind that comes down from the north through the gap. The wines are as a result always fresh feeling even in warmer vintages and this 2018 is no exception. The nose and palate are both redolent with lemon peel, fresh ginger and something that feels a bit liked poached pear. But what is really remarkable is the intense minerality - salty and stony and beautifully crisp. This is a wine with real spine but not at the expense of pleasure. One of the best whites of the vintage that I have tasted and unmissable for fans of serious white Burgundy. Sam Ehrlich
What a difference 2 kilometers makes! Bruno Dangin's Crémant de Bourgogne is made from 100% Pinot Noir from organically farmed vines in Molesme, located just beneath the southern border of Champagne's Aube.The limestone rich soils are the same as those of their pricier neighbor to the north. Boasting a fine bead and soft mousse and aromas of red fruits and autolyse, one would be hard pressed to spot the difference. The palate offers great depth, pure pinot fruit, and a suave, layered, persistent finish. This is a great value in bubbles and will grace the holiday table nicely. John McIlwain
Here's a rarity, a new organic grower in Chablis. Brothers Romain and Damien Bouchard whose father Pascal is a famed negotiant. In 2015 their father sold the winery and passed on his vines to the sons who've built a new winery and begun the process of organic certification. The wines are fermented with natural yeasts and aged in stainless steel and bottled with minimal sulfur. The 2016 Beauroy 1er cru from the left bank of the Serein river is bright, high-toned and redolent of white flowers and sea spray on the nose. The palate is fresh, vibrant and nervy with punchy flavors of lemon zest, apple peel, and chalk on a galloping finish. This has great tension between the pungent mineral notes and ripe orchard fruit with a compelling, cool savory herbal notes. The Bouchard brothers are vignerons to watch. John McIlwain
Historically, Petit Chablis was often sneered at as something that rarely resembled Chablis. However, the leaps and bounds that have been made in the vineyards and the cellar mean that the overall quality of this humble appellation has grown exponentially in recent years. This is certainly the case at Domaine de L'Enclos. The estate is young but the Bouchard brothers have years of experience producing serious Chablis from organically farmed vineyards. The warm 2018 vintage produced especially excellent Petit Chablis. The nose and palate are redolent with lemon, pear, white peach and the minerality that makes Chablis unmistakable even within Burgundy. There is more weight than one might find in cooler vintages and leaves you with a general sense of satisfaction. This is very nice and a tremendous value. Sam Ehrlich
The Paquet family is based in the Maconnais. They have nearly thirty hectares across a dozen appellations, all farmed organically and on the way to certification. This is their entry-level Chardonnay and it is delightful, full of lime and green herbs, with clear mineral tones and good freshness. There is no oak influence at all and no funny business. This is just tasty Chardonnay grown in limestone soils, perfect as we emerge from the ice and snow into Spring. Sam Ehrlich
Goisot is perhaps best known for their Sauvignon de St. Bris, considered a benchmark for the appellation, as well as riveting Cote d'Auxerre chardonnays that often outperform wines from neighboring Chablis. The Aligoté often goes overlooked, which is a shame, as it is firmly of a piece with the other wines in the range. The 2019 is lovely, full of gently ripe white peach, Meyer lemon peel and vivid white florals. The previous vintage felt oddly stingy compared to this new release but if ever one needed to know that a wine is linked inextricably to its place of origin, what both wines share is a distinct mineral component that I can only compare to chalk dust from a blackboard eraser. While the fruit character of the two wines may diverge, they are still joined by this limestone core. Terrific value here. Sam Ehrlich
Estates making serious Sauvignon de St. Bris are as rare as hens' teeth and Goisot sits atop this tiny heap. The appellation, (in the near-vicinity of Chablis) is the only one in Burgundy that permits the planting of Sauvignon Blanc and often gets lost in the ocean of Chardonnay. But when handled right, these can be wonderful, refreshing, salty wines. 2018 was a warm vintage across France and this is a richer style than some previous iterations, redolent with lime curd, pineapple and fresh sage. But the limestone core is what gives this wine its soul. The finish is firm and saline, making this more than a match for almost anything you might be having for dinner. Thinking about a bottle of Sancerre for this evening? You'd do well to consider this instead... Sam Ehrlich
The Guillemot-Michel "Une Bulle" comes from a tiny parcel of old vines on limestone with red clay, high in iron. The wine is a Pet-Nat (Methode Ancestrale) that is bottled after a short period of fermentation, leaving enough sugar in the wine for the fermentation to continue and create the desired bubbles. The wine is aged in bottle on the lees for around 18 months, then riddled and disgorged and re-bottled with a bit more "Une Bulle." The result is a very delicious aged Pet-Nat showing honeyed aromas of pear and white peach with hints of almond, marzipan and brioche. On the palate the mousse is soft and creamy with flavors of peach and quince with lime-flower and minerals and a long finish of white fruits, citrus peel and firm acidity. This is a delightful wine to sip by itself or pair with mild cheeses, patés and terrines, fruit desserts.. David Lillie
Created in 2017, this cuvee is issued from grapes in the "Champ-Rond" vineyard, vinified in amphora of 800 liters. The 65 year-old vines are grafted on "Riparia Gloire de Montpellier" an old root-stock obtained in 1880, giving very low yields with magnificent small grapes, of a deep gold color. The 2018 Retour a la Terre presents the exotic notes typical of the domaine with an extra dimension of expression due to the respiration of the amphora. The small grapes of "Champ-Rond" ripen beautifully without a high degree of alcohol - they are picked on the last day of the harvest, and the elevage in amphora gives the wine a great purity. Tasted at the domaine in January 2020, the wine showed elegant floral, white fruit, apricot, lemon and stone aromas. The palate was round, dense and silky with fabulous length. This is a superb white Burgundy that is delicious now and will cellar beatifully for fifteen to twenty years. Highly recommended! David Lillie
The 2018 Extra-Brut Ste. Geneviève is a superb Champagne method sparkling wine made with Pinot fin, Chardonnay, Gamay and Aligoté - 50% grown at the Clos des Vignes du Maynes and 50% purchased fruit. The wine shows lovely aromas of white peach and red fruits, spiced pear and honey. The palate is creamy and full, with pear, a hint of red currant and berry fruits, honey, stone and brown spice with fabulous length. This is unique and really lovely - it will be great fun to share this rare wine with friends and family as a special aperitif! David Lillie
Julien Guillot of the Clos des Vignes du Maynes, makes this lovely Mâcon-Villages (100% Chardonnay) from certified organic parcels in Viré-Clessé, Chardonnay and Montbellet, on Bathonian limestone with clay, rich in silica. The 2018 is a fascinating and very natural Chardonnay, showing bright pale gold color and high-toned aromas of lemon zest, white peach, pear, almond and honeysuckle. The palate is dense and supple with white fruit, stone and almond flavors, finishing with citrus and minerals. This is a young wine that will benefit from aeration if drinking now, and will cellar for ten years. 30 mg/l SO2.
The undisputed champion of Meursault, a Grand Cru in all but name. This comes vines ranging from 35 to 60 years old, planted intensely stony soils with a base of white marl.
En La Barre is a distinguished village-level parcel of Meursault, abutting the north side of the town. The soils are shallow clay and limestone over bedrock and the vine ages run from 15 to 60 years old. Armand is in good company here, sharing the parcel with Antoine Jobard and Comte Lafon. This parcel produces quite round wines that drink well early but can also be tucked away for five or ten years without worry.
This is from a village-level parcel at the top of the hill, deep in the combe, above St. Aubin. This is the first vintage this wine has been available here.
Just discovered in our warehouse, the 2012 Magnien Aligoté is a bit tired, but will make a nice cooking wine! (Note from 2014) This is a bracing, rocky, earthy Aligoté with a Muscadet-like nose of seashells and lime pith. It's full-textured, but very low in alcohol (11.5%), as though all the wine's texture on the palate comes from mineral. Smoky, saline, and briny, the wine is arrestingly crisp and high acid. The wine is intensely limey on the palate, and opens up nicely over a day in the fridge. Drink this with oysters! MSB
Just discovered in our warehouse, the 2012 Magnien Aligoté is a bit tired, but will make a nice cooking wine!
(Note from 2014) This is a bracing, rocky, earthy Aligoté with a Muscadet-like nose of seashells and lime pith. It's full-textured, but very low in alcohol (11.5%), as though all the wine's texture on the palate comes from mineral. Smoky, saline, and briny, the wine is arrestingly crisp and high acid. The wine is intensely limey on the palate, and opens up nicely over a day in the fridge. Drink this with oysters! MSB
There is a host of terrific growers in Mâcon and Pouilly farming organically these days and Marcel Couturier is one of the best. He is meticulous and hard-working and it is reflected in the wine. La Cour des Bois finds a great balance between green and yellow fruits and a lovely mid-palate spiciness. Like all good white Burgundy, it is held in check by a core of limestone that lends freshness and structure. Sam Ehrlich
Rapet Père et Fils is a long time favorite Burgundy of Chambers Street because they combine terroir specificity with value. While the former is somewhat easier to find in Burgundy than the latter these days, we are delighted to present these wines vintage after vintage because the whites are fresh, mineral, and detailed, while the reds are deftly made, transparent, and cellar beautifully. One of my favorite wines of the lineup is the Pernad-Vergelesses 1er cru Sous Frétille. Of the Pernand-Vergelesses whites, it always seems to capture the energy and mineral pungency of the nearby Corton-Charlemagne with less weight and certainly requiring less patience. With similar geology, but not quite as favorable exposure or exposition, Sous Frétille shows some of the cut if not the scale of nearby grand cru. The 2013 is a lovely version of the cru. Though beset by poor flowering, hail,and rot, painstaking work in the vines and assiduous sorting brought in beautiful grapes, albeit in smaller quantities. The nose is floral and tends toward white fruits rather than golden, while the middle weight palate has good mineral punch and layered flavors of pear, lemon peel, and limestone framed by discreet oak on a medium long finish. This has gained weight and complexity in the bottle over the last few months and should drink well over the next 5-7 years. John McIlwain
Was $53.99 Beaune 1er Cru "Les Coucherias" is high on the slope on the site of an old quarry and much of the sub-soil is limestone tailings, permitting root penetration and drainage, with a topsoil of mixed clay and limestone "marnes blanches." In biodynamic agriculture since 1979, the vineyard is a south-facing semi-circle—a very warm spot.The 2018 has a bright bronze/gold color and lovley aromas or ripe white peach and pear with exotic citrus and herbal notes. The ripe, deep palate palate shows stone, apricot, pear and almond flavors with lovely density and a firm core of minerality that lingers in the very long finish. Delicious now, showing the lush fruit of 2018, it should cellar beautifully as well. David Lillie
Beaune 1er Cru "Les Coucherias" is high on the slope on the site of an old quarry and much of the sub-soil is limestone tailings, permitting root penetration and drainage, with a topsoil of mixed clay and limestone "marnes blanches." In biodynamic agriculture since 1979, the vineyard is a south-facing semi-circle—a very warm spot.The 2018 has a bright bronze/gold color and lovley aromas or ripe white peach and pear with exotic citrus and herbal notes. The ripe, deep palate palate shows stone, apricot, pear and almond flavors with lovely density and a firm core of minerality that lingers in the very long finish. Delicious now, showing the lush fruit of 2018, it should cellar beautifully as well. David Lillie
Was $37.99 About a kilometer or two northwest of the Beaune 1er Crus, La Grande Chatelaine is a cooler site on the Montagne de Beaune with soils comprised of gravel and clay over limestone. Stone fruit and pear skin, white flowers and wet stone on the nose. Bright and fresh aromatically. The mid-weight palate is racy but full and dense due to the low yields of 2019, with fresh orchard fruit and lemon oil flavors, dancing astride sapid herbal notes with a clinging stoniness on the long, mouthwatering, expansive finish. Serve wth seared scallops, halibut or other full-flavored fish. This is lovely ripe and vibrant Chardonnay from a unique vineyard site - drink over the next 5 to 8 years.
About a kilometer or two northwest of the Beaune 1er Crus, La Grande Chatelaine is a cooler site on the Montagne de Beaune with soils comprised of gravel and clay over limestone. Stone fruit and pear skin, white flowers and wet stone on the nose. Bright and fresh aromatically. The mid-weight palate is racy but full and dense due to the low yields of 2019, with fresh orchard fruit and lemon oil flavors, dancing astride sapid herbal notes with a clinging stoniness on the long, mouthwatering, expansive finish. Serve wth seared scallops, halibut or other full-flavored fish. This is lovely ripe and vibrant Chardonnay from a unique vineyard site - drink over the next 5 to 8 years.
Domaine de Roally is one of the great estates of the Macon. The original owner/grower was Henri Goyard, who made old-fashioned Chardonnays with a bit of residual sugar, from his superb organically-tended estate on a limestone ridge overlooking the Saone Valley. Discovered by Joe Dressner in 1987, we made a number of visits there until Goyard's retirement in 2000. Sometimes the juice would still be fermenting after 18 months in tank, and a 1989 tasted in 1999 was simply sensational. Gautier Thevenet of the Domaine Bongran took over in 2000 and has happily kept up the quality and style of Goyard. The 2018 is a beautiful wine with aromas of lemon oil, mango, white fruits, spice and honey - really complex and elegant. Lush white fruits on the palate with citrus and minerals. Fabulous length of saline acids, stone and ripe fruit. Superb for current drinking, this should age beautifully for ten to fifteen years. Bravo to Gautier Thevenet! David Lillie
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 2017 shows pretty aromas of pear, apricot, lime flower and stone. There is nice richness on the palate, which is supple and elegant with chalky white fruits, a bit of nectarine, verbena and a hint of oak, with firm acidity, silky fruit and mineral notes in the long finish. This is a stylish white Burgundy that will accompany any full-flavored fish dish, chicken in sauce and mild cheeses, and it will age nicely for 5 to 8 years.
Carved from vineyards once owned by the Benedictine Abbey of Cluny and farmed organically by Julien Guillot's family since 1954, Clos Vignes du Maynes is one of the most distinctive growers in Burgundy. Aragonite comes from 40- to 80-year-old Chardonnay vines high on the slope, on thin soils of clay, crystallized limestone, and laced with other minerals. This wine is incredibly aromatic upon opening with aromas of golden pear, green apple, apricot, white grapefruit, honeysuckle, and bergamot; there is a hint of earthy heather honey and butterscotch. On the palate it is quite rich and luscious, in this warm low-yielding vintage, and much more tropical and salty than in years past. In fact, if tasted blind, I could see this being mistaken for a great Chardonnay from the Jura as it has fantastic acidity, and is beautifully textured, long, and mineral. On day two the aromas have softened a bit, and the palate has gained an added savory note that contributes to a still stunningly long finish. The 2018 Aragonite is not to be missed.