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Fornacina only produces their riserva bottling in their very best vintages. From 100% Sangiovese Grosso selected from vineyards in Castelnuovo dell'Abate, a charming village hanging over the Abbey de Sant'Antimo a couple kilometers south of Montalcino. This riserva wine is vinified in stainless steel for thirty days before spending 48 months in the huge Slavonian oak casks traditional to the region. After this, the wine spends another twelve months in bottle before being released to the market. This allows an extraordinary delicacy of tannic texture that belies this wine's immense power. This is on the spicier side for Brunello, with notes of morello cherry and plum enrobed in silken hints of baking spices like cinnamon, vanilla, and licorice. Full bodier, rich, and elegant, this wine is fantastic with braised meats, filet mignon, wine-based stews, and osso buco. Andrew Farquhar
The Chianti Classico Riserva is a more serious reflection of the same principles underlying Retromarcia. It is produced from a plot of 40-year-old Sangiovese vines that contain around 5% Canaiolo Nero and naturally yield about half as much fruit as the young vines used for Retromarcia. The wine is fermented for 3-4 weeks on skins in steel and then aged for 2 years in old wooden botti and unlined cement tanks. It is rich on the nose with dark cherry fruit, spicy notes of cedar and allspice, and hints of rosemary and resinous herbs. Elegant rather than heavy on the palate with ripe tannins and restrained acidity, persistent and cherry fruit lead into an earthy finish. Lovely and open now, this is will improve for years to come in the cellar. Andy Paynter
Sa’etta is a cuvée dedicated to the best terroir of the Monte Bernardi estate: the oldest vines planted 45 years ago in the distinct compact sandstone of the area known as Pietraforte. The wine is made from the best bunches of Sangiovese which are fermented on skins for 4 weeks and aged in used Slavonian and Austrian Botti for at least 2 years. The nose is intense and forward with a deep earthy tone layered with notes of tobacco, thyme, and rosemary followed by black cherry fruit. Full with grippy tannins and plenty of acidity, the palate is quite structured without being heavy or over-extracted leading into a intensely mineral finish. An assertive wine that is all the better without the presence of new oak or other “prestigious” flourishes. Perfect for the cellar, I would recommend decanting if drinking now and pairing with any full-flavored foods. For me it will always be the perfect match for a roasted leg of lamb. Andy Paynter
A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Verdot, this is the only Super Tuscan we carry in the store, and an anomaly within the character. Not over-extracted or over-oaked, this is a brighter and fresher expression, with a beautiful mix of red and black fruit and ample acidity. Notes of dried herbs and hay round out the palate. Great now, this will only improve with time. Oskar Kostecki
Retromarcia means “to back up” or “to reverse” and is Michael Schmelzer’s reference to an old approach to Chianti that is hard to find today, focused on allowing the character of Sangiovese to show above everything else. The wine is made from 100% Sangiovese composed of young vines planted on a mix of galestro and sandstone soils. The grapes are fermented with native yeast on the skins for 2 weeks in stainless steel and then raised in a mixture of old barrels and unlined concrete tanks for 18 months before being bottled unfiltered. As a classic Chianti should be, the acidity is mouthwatering, warming up the palate for a range of food; try it with everything from classic red sauce pastas, sauteed greens, and saltier cheeses all the way to richer food like roasted lamb or game birds.