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During the 19th century, the Dirlers, along with the Dopff de Riquewihr family, were the pioneers of 'vin mousseux' in Alsace. Production lulled in post-War years, but they're back in the game now and we're happy to present this delicious Brut Nature Cremant from the undisputed OG's of Alsatian sparkling wine! Mostly Pinot Gris and Pinot Auxerrois, with a small amount of Pinot Noir. There's subtle hint of fresh bread on the nose, and a touch of orchard fruit on the palate, but the wine is dominated by a stony, mineral backbone. The wine is fermented in stainless steel and then aged for less than a year before being kept sur latte under capsule for around a year and a half. This is Methode Champenois, no dosage. Refreshing, crisp, and a must for fans of great bubbles. Eben Lillie
Uwe Schiefer organically farms 14 hectares in the Südburgenland region of Austria, with a goal of moving to full biodynamics in the coming years. The ‘E’ is Blaufränkisch (vines average 15 years of age) sourced from a 6 ha plot on the steep slopes of the Eisenberg, with mixed soils of slate, clay, ferrous loam, and quartz. Blaufränkisch grown here often has a distinct level of minerality and acidity, making for fresh, food-friendly wines that also are incredibly terroir-expressive. The nose is rich and dark, with notes of black pepper and black plum skin mixed with stewed blackberries, cassis, brown sugar, and uplifted by aromas of mint, lavender, and eucalyptus. Medium-bodied on the palate, smooth and rich with flavors of blueberry compote, black raspberries, and black tea, with a touch of well-integrated tannins and bright acidity. Cari Bernard
"Faites des vins peu alcoolisés avec un joli parfum" said Jules Chauvet (Make wines low in alcohol and with lovely aromas) and no one does this better than Christian Ducroux! Despite the frost, hail, mildew and low yields of 2016, the Prologue is a superb, joyous wine showing bright floral aromas of violet, rose, raspberry and wild strawberry with earth and pepper. At 11% alcohol, the palate is light and silky, showing raspberry, strawberry and mineral flavors with earth, pepper and anise, finishing with refreshing acidity and cool berry fruits. Just lovely! Christian is a master of zero-additive winemaking - the wine is alive and changeable, totally natural and refreshing. Drinking in one sitting is advised and almost unavoidable. Christian's vineyard work is among the best in the world - his vineyards are an oasis of responsible agriculture in the eroded, herbicided landscape around him and his tractor rests in the barn as the two draught horses and bull do all the work. Bravo to Christian Ducroux!
Certified organic since 2009, the Dutraive family's Domaine de la Grand Cour produces subtle, traditional wines from their 9 hectares in Fleurie and a small parcel in Brouilly. Harvested by hand, the grapes ferment with wild yeasts in carbonic maceration, without addition of sulfur. The "Clos de la Grand Cour" is aged in a combination of cuve inox, barrels and foudres. The 2015 shows penetrating aromas of ripe strawberry and black cherry with pepper, iris, violet and earth. Elegant blackberry, plum-skin, licorice and earth on the palate, very deep and long, framed in firm acidity and quite powerful at 14.5% alcohol. This will be quite delicious now, served with steak, grilled pork, duck and strong cheeses, but should benefit from a few years of aging, best perhaps 2018 to 2022.
Located in the village of Charnay in southern Beaujolais, Jean-Paul Brun quietly makes some of the most classic wines of the region on his family’s 40-acre estate. All of the wines are allowed to ferment with native yeasts and minimal amounts of sulfur are employed ensuring fresh, lively wines. Brun’s Beaujolais Blanc is made from 100% Chardonnay that comes from 80+-year-old vines planted in clay and limestone soils. On the nose luscious green apple fruit mingles with poached pear and citrus zest. The palate does have some weight, but this is a lean, sharp wine with a sturdy mineral backbone. It’s really quite amazing to drink such a precise wine for such a value! Tim Gagnon
Located in the heart of Saint-Emilion, certified organic estate Château d'Arcole has farmed 11 hectares of Merlot and Cabernet Franc on limestone and clay for more than 200 years. The grapes are hand-harvested and fermentations are with native yeasts and the wine is bottled without fining or filtration. The 2012 shows lovely aromas of blackberry and cassis with earth, spice and a touch of oak. The palate is balanced and bright with ripe red currant, blackberry and cassis liqueur, with firm acidity and light tannins giving the wine an attactive freshness. With time open the wine deepens and becomes more complex with earth, spice and chocolately black fruits, really lovely and long. Decant and serve cool if drinking now (this will improve with a few days open, re-corked) or cellar for five to fifteen years.
It's always a pleasure to drink a great Bordeaux such as Château La Grolet’s Tête de Cuvée, a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Malbec; it has complex fruit with deep savory layers not clouded by new oak and is certified biodynamic. The nose is dense with intense notes of strawberries and dark cherries with hints of red currants followed by turned earth and resinous herbs. The palate is soft with smooth tannins and fair acidity, showing more of a floral tone of violets and slight notes of leather. After some time open the wine begins to reveal itself; dark red fruit with figs, strong herbal character, and more pronounced florals with delicate tannins. An exciting Bordeaux that could pair well with leaner steak, pork chops on the grill, or savory chicken dishes. Andy Paynter
From clay and gravel soils over limestone in the Côtes du Bourg comes this lovely Bordeaux, roughly 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, certified organic and Biodynamic and produced entirely without sulfur-dioxide or other additives. Pure juice! The 2015 Sans Sulfites Ajoutés is an opaque red/black color with lovely aromas of ripe cassis, red currant and spiced plum with hints of cocoa and earth. The palate is dense and supple with blackberry liqueur, plum skin and ripe red fruits, finishing with firm, refreshing acidity. This is a pure and fruit-forward Bordeaux that's ready to drink - serve cool with anything from Coq au Vin to Steak Frites and flavorful cheeses, or simply enjoy by itself. 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...
What's atypical about this delicious wine? It's a blend of Malbec and Cabernet Franc rather than Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, giving the wine a more supple palate and quite different fruit character. The 2015 has lovely, deep blackberry and cassis aromas with red currant, cassis and cherry on the supple, lush palate, with hints of earth and smoke. More "forward" than most Bordeaux, and showing the ripeness and beautiful fruit of the 2015 vintage, this versatile wine will pair beautifully with almost any beef, pork or lamb dish and is a fabulous value!
For lovers of Calvados, I implore you to consider this: a single cask selection by none other than Eric Bordelet. Many of our customers are familiar with Bordelet’s phenomenal ciders, some of the best in Normandy, and this is his first release of brandy. The juice in the bottle was originally distilled in 1997 by a neighbor of Eric’s named H.B. Beudin (who I am unable to find any information on), and spent 18 years in cask without any additives, including water, and was bottled unfiltered at cask strength resulting in a fantastically pure expression of barrel-aged spirit. It is incredibly aromatic with baked apple tatin, cinnamon, dried orange peel, brown sugar, stewed plum, and dried flowers on the nose. The palate is robust with a touch of spice and lifted fruit, and is incredibly balanced and long. This is an incredibly unique addition to anyone’s bar, and I hope to see more spirits from Bordelet in the future! Tim Gagnon
A consciously light cognac that is more than ideal for a mixed drink. Very limited oak contact allows the fresh floral and fruit aspects to shine through. The style and viscosity are far away from the robust XO and vintage cognacs, but very much worth having on hand for entertaining. JR
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....
The 2014 Magnien Aligoté is a bright and lively wine, at 11.5% alcohol, showing herbal, lemon-lime, melon and almond aromas, with pear, mirabelle, stone and ctrus flavors on the fresh, very dry palate. Serve with vegetable soups, fish dishes, quiches and mild cheeses - or make the perfect Kir with 1/5 Creme de Cassis.
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
Bio Champagne grower Bourgeois-Diaz is located in Crouttes sur Marne on the western edge of the Marne River Valley, where much of the terroir is perfectly suited for the Pinot Meunier grape. Their vines are near those of noted biodynamic grower and Meunier-specialist, Francoise Bedel. Their non-vintage extra-brut cuvee '3C' is named after the three cepages that make up the blend. The current disgorgement, based on the 2013 vintage, is red fruited on the nose and bright, briny, then broad on palate. There is a soft mousse and a rich, not zaftig texture with good cut and freshness. There is a nice sense of harmony on nose and palate. The finish is stony, persistent, with good detail, rising at the end. A fine aperitif and better still with sushi or sashimi (toro spoken here). This offers a great deal of complexity at an attractive price. (Disgorged 2/16/2016, 3g/l dosage.) John McIlwain
Filaine is one of our favorite Champagne houses. And the singular Fabrice Gass is one of our favorite Champagne characters. His wines are made up of Pinot Noir/Chardonnay/Pinot Meunier from the south-facing village of Damery on the slope of the Montagne de Reims over looking the Marne. The wines are made in the manner of 100 years ago. Fabrice farms the without chemicals, ferments in wood, and due to the age of his barrels, avoids malolactic fermentation. This disgorgement is based on the 2012 and 2011 vintages and balances nicely the classic richness Damery with undertones of minerality. Aromatically the wines offer up aromas of baked apple, spices, and soil notes. On the palate flavors of ripe red fruit and a pervasive sense of chalkiness vie with with a creamy texture on the broad, rich finish. This is a perfect wine for the holiday table with its balance of generous fruit and earthy structure. John McIlwain
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!
100% Chardonnay from the well-situated Les Valnons Froid Cul lieu-dit on the upper slope of the Grand Cru village of Aÿ. Fermented with native yeasts in 80% used barrels, the balance in tank. Disgorged in Spring 2016, Dosage 5g/l. Les Valnons is a lovely, albeit somewhat atypical Blanc de Blancs from a village better known for its Pinot Noir. The robe on the 2008 has a pale gold color with a fine bead. This nervy Chardonnay offers aromas of chalk, lemon oil, quinine, and crushed herbs the palate is broad and powerful offering citrus, spice, and mineral notes on a taut, complex, and detailed finish. 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
It's no secret that the Jean Chauvenet's 2012 Nuits St. Georges Les Perrières was one of my favorite red Burgundies of the vintage. The 2013 is another winner for the domaine. Chauvenet's Christope Drag farms a .23 hectare parcel of old vines high on the slope adjacent to Les Poulettes and Les Poirets between the holdings farmed by Henri Gouges and Regis Forey. The particularly stony soils retain heat and Christophe says this is typically the first vineyard harvested after the Bourgogne. Personally I find it the most effusively perfumed of his wines with his Vaucrains a close second. The bouquet of the 2013 leaps from the glass, with floral aromas, red fruits, and pretty wild berry aromas, giving way to spices and soil notes. The palate is equally fresh, with red berry, strawberry, Morello cherry, and pipe tobacco flavors giving way to a chalky minerality. There is fine energy and cut to this which carries through on a long, lingering, and building finish. This is certainly a pretty expression of Nuits St. Georges, but has the tannins and acidity to age with grace. John McIlwainFrom .23 hectare of vines dating back to 1948 between the parcels farmed by Gouges and Regis Forey. Les Perrières high on the slope between Les Poulettes and Les Poirets. The soil contains many stones which retain heat and Christophe Drag says this is the first vineyard harvested after the Bougogne. As Clive Coates has noted, somewhat atypically for Nuits St. Georges, the wines from this climat are more floral and feminine though certainly displaying great minerality
The young and very talented Stephane Magnien is producing delicious, old fashioned Burgundies from his beautifully tended vineyards in and around Morey-Saint-Denis. The estate has never used herbicides and uses a plowing regimen designed to force the roots deeper into the limestone bedrock. The "village" wine is always one of my favorite recommendations in Burgundy due to its elegance, balance, lovely fruit and great value. The 2014 is particularly beautiful, with lovely aromas of strawberry liqueur, black raspberry, violet, blood orange - very floral with hints of earth, brown spice and oak. Great balance of firm acidity and ripe fruit with a touch of oak on the palate showing strawberry, blackberry, citrus and spice over a core of mineral flavors that linger in the long finish. This delicious young Burgundy is lovely to drink now but has all the elements for great medium-term aging - wait a few years then drink until 2030...
Müller-Thurgau from both estate vineyards and fruit from Stefan Steinmetz, fermented on 25% of the skins for 5-6 months. Tropical aromatics and orange oil on the nose, the palate is tart and savory with notes of golden raisin, yellow apple, sandalwood, and juicy pineapple. Cari Bernard
100% Riesling, méthode traditionnelle, hand-riddled, aged on the lees for over two decades, and disgorged in September 2016 with zero dosage, this is a truly unique offering spanning two generations of the Lauer family. The nose gives notes of seashells, stone, beeswax, underripe starfruit, lanolin and sweet grass. On the palate the wine is incredibly vinous and savory, with vibrant acidity and a complex range of flavors - from lime zest, green apple skin, and greengage plum, to Seville orange peel, thyme, and orange blossom water. Cari Bernard
I've heard Ayler Kupp described as looking much like a whale, its long, broad back extending at length with a steep slope downward into the valley. I thoroughly enjoy the comparison, and when I was standing on the insane precipice at Schonfels looking across the valley at the Kupp, I kept glancing at the mammoth green beast, just hoping for some sort of evidence of breathing. Unterstenberg is a site near the bottom of the Kupp, which makes for higher water retention in the soil and an accumulation of eroded slate. Creamy, vegetal, floral, and a touch of petrol on the nose, the wine is spicy and powerful, with bright notes of nectarine skin, and yellow apricot, the finish is long, saline, and fruity. Cari Bernard
Lauer's warmest Grand Cru vineyard with predominately gravel soils, the Saarfeilser GG is dense and creamy (for a Lauer wine), herbal and floral, balanced by tart nectarine skin. A fascinating and elegant balance of rich texture and bright acidity, this wine is poised to develop beautifully with time. Cari Bernard
Perhaps better known for their single malt Scotch whisky, the Bruichladdich Distillery also creates this expressive and somewhat atypical gin in their small corner of Islay. Master Distiller Jim McEwen works with his old Lomond pot still lovingly known as “Ugly Betty” and a recipe comprised of 9 classic gin ingredients (juniper, coriander seed, orris root, cassia bark, etc.) as well as 22 locally foraged botanicals giving this gin a unique and compelling character. The nose is powerful with luscious aromas of grapefruit peel, green apple, mint, wildflower honey, tropical fruit, anise, and coriander. On the palate it is rich and silky smooth with herbal and citrus notes that carry through onto the finish. This is a truly distinct spirit, and would do well in many interpretations of classic cocktails or sipped neat. Tim Gagnon
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After graduating with a degree in Economics in 2003, Francesco decided he wanted to make wine and found a farm in the foothills of Abruzzo where his family was originally from. The first time he saw Agricola Cirelli he fell in love. It’s now an organic farm where there are vineyards, olive trees, garlic, spelt, wheat, barley, figs and geese. Francesco has two hectares of Trebbiano that are grown on calcium and clay soils. Both fermentation and aging are done in stainless steel, and the wine is not filtered or fined. The wine is straw yellow in color and tastes of waxy green apples, pear and cured lemon peel. Try it with shrimp and orzo salad, Vietnamese food or even a veal schnitzel. Christine Manula
This is rare mountain wine. Heinrich Mayr, along with his wife and daughter, farm almost all of the 3 hectares left in the entire world of this variety. Blatterle (“little leaf” in German), is indigenous to the Sudtirol and the Mayrs grow it on their tiny biodynamic oasis in the heart of the industrialized city of Bolzano. Although only 3 producers still farm this endangered grape, when vinified with the care and attention of the Mayrs it is capable of producing a truly delicious and unique wine: medium—bodied yet fresh, with bright lemon and mineral notes. A characteristic snap of mint on the finish cuts perfectly through salty charcuterie, rich cheeses, or the thick heat of a summer afternoon. Karina Mackow
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
We're big fans of the Caslot family at Domane de la Chevalerie, who make soulful Bourgueils from organic vineyards on their varied terroirs. The Chevalerie vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoils, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age. The lovely 2012 Chevalerie shows vivid aromas of berry liqueurs, bitter chocolate, earth and brown spice. The palate is dense and supple with ripe blackberry, cocoa, earth and mineral flavors balanced by cool acidity. The finish is long and lush with blackberry, prune, citrus and saline minerals. This is a lovely old-school Bourgueil to drink over the next 15 years - delicious now perhaps best from 2020 to 2025.
The Domaine du Fresche is a certified organic estate in Anjou producing delightful, fresh, vivacious wines from Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Grolleau. This lovely rosé of Grolleau and Pinot Noir comes from hand-harvested fruit and is vinified with wild yeasts giving pretty aromas of ripe red currant, blood orange and strawberry. The palate shows silky, pure fruit - red currant with hints of watermelon and citrus and finishes with round red fruits and juicy acidity. A lovely wine and a great value. Thanks to Alain and Christine Bore at Domaine du Fresche!
From 80 year-old vines in "Petits Monts" and "Grand Monts" towards the top of the slope above Benais, facing roughly south-west, clay over Turonien limestone (tuffeau, craie micacée). This is the terroir giving the most elegant and age-worthy Bourgueils. 18 month elevage ; 40% in cuve inox, 20% in one new 400 liter barrel, 20% in one-year and 20% in two-year old barrels, assembled two months before bottling. Tasted in February 2016, the wine was fairly closed and tight, with deep, pure black fruits and perfect balance. This will be a sensational mature wine, best to wait eight to ten years, or more, then drink until 2040.
A fantastic Cabernet Franc from Quentin Bourse! His dogmatism for perfectly clean, fresh, and delicious wines of nature is as apparent in his farming practices (his estate has been certified biodynamic for over 10 years) as it is in the cellar where all fermentations occur naturally and no SO2 is used for the red wines; a miniscule amount for the whites. Dusty dark plum, cranberry, and a mélange of black berry fruits rise from the glass, with even darker tones of cocoa, licorice, anise, and damp soil. Pleasantly ripe on the palate, dark fruit gives way to earth and pepper backed by sturdy tannins. This is on the short list for the ultimate wine to pair with roast chicken and root vegetables. Tim Gagnon
After a disastrous hail-storm in 2012 and tiny yields in 2013, Francois Pinon finally has wine to sell and from an outstanding vintage. Tasting through samples of his 2014s in February we were thrilled by these beautiful wines, clearly among the very best of the appellation. The Silex Noir is from parcels of clay over limestone with black flint, giving wines with a unique mineral character and complex, open aromas. The 2014 is superbly balanced at 12.1% alcohol and 15 grams of RS with very firm acidity. Lovely citrus, dried pear, licorice and floral aromas with full-bodied palate of minerals, white fruits and citrus, finishing with good acidity. Though quite delicious now, this is a very young wine that will benefit from decanting or aging, perhaps best 2025 to 2035.
Jean-Paul Labaille makes this lovely Sancerre from parcels in Chavignol, In the warm 2015 vintage the wine shows pretty aromas of lime-flower, white fruits, melon, herbs and citrus. The palate shows lovely ripe fruit and a supple texture and is nicely balanced by firm acidity with nice stone and saline mineral flavors in the finish.
Thierry and Jean-Marie Puzelat make this outstanding Sauvignon Blanc from a one hectare parcel in Pouillé, with sand and gravel over limestone, giving very low yields. An intense and beautiful wine in 2015, with aromas of lemon peel, pear, dried herbs, lime flower and pine resin. The palate is dense and ripe with dried white fruits, lemon oil and earth backed by firm acidity. Beautifully structured and very long, this is an outstanding and unusual Sauvignon Blanc to serve with fish or chicken in sauce and full-flavored goat cheeses. Delicious now, the wine should be very interesting with 5 to 10 years of cellaring. Highly recommended. (The name literally translated is "squalid bush" but we hope it refers rather to the limestone of Pouillé...?)
From old vines of Gamay, this is a significant wine in 2015. The nose is vibrant and generous, and the palate is full, with black cherry, leather, earth, and hints of baking spice. It's concentrated and deep, but maintains great balance in the finish. Bravo!Eben Lillie
From 10 to 50 year-old vines grown on limestone soils (Middle Jurassic!) in the commune of Aluze, Cotes Chalonnaise, certified organic since 1999. This is a lovely Bourgogne Rouge, showing the ripeness of the 2015 vintage, but in a medium-bodied, balanced and bright style that is quite delicious! Vivid aromas of black cherry, raspberry, violet and pepper, with a bright palate of blackberry and spicy red-currant/cherry fruit framed in mineral flavors and firm acidity. Delicious now served cool, it will benefit from decanting or a few years in the cellar as well. DL
From .75 hectares in the lieu-dit Les Marceours adjacent to Clos Myglands on the eastern edge of the village. The vines range from 15-40 years old and are grown in mixed limestone debris and ferruginous soils. Stylish Mercurey, showing the ripenes of the 2015 vintage, with an array of wild strawberry, cherry liqueur, earth and mineral aromas upon the nose, quite dense but elegant and bright. Medium-bodied, with ripe concentrated, sappy red fruits and dark earth tones and hints of spice in the mouth; there is oak present, but it integrates nicely into the very long, succulent, sappy and stony finish. Lovely now, should improve over the next five to eight years. This is an excellent value in Red Burgundy and a loely wine! DL
Julien Guillot made beautiful wines in 2014 and this Pinot Noir is no exception, showing fabulous complexity, finesse and freshness. The lovely aromas are of raspberry, blood orange, tart plum, brown spice, earth and tea, for starters. The palate is soft, silky and refreshing with black fruits mingled with earth, citrus, stone and tea with tart plum and raspberry emerging in the finish. Any lover of natural wine should try this! 12.5% alcohol, no added SO2, 100% delicious. David Lillie
A deep, dark, and exuberant wine from Faugères! Located just outside of the village Lenthéric, the 28-hectare Clos Fantine estate is run by three siblings Carole, Corinne and Olivier Andrieu. They built their winery in 2000, three years after their father’s passing, and have been making wines the honest way since. All wines are made without any added SO2 and spend 17-20 months in huge concrete vats, depending on the vintage. A blend of Carignan, Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Cinsault (all vinified separately), it exudes classic aromas of savory herbs, black currant, citrus peel, peppered beef, and a wisp of smoke. It has ample fresh fruit and acidity on the palate with just enough earth and funk before finishing with a tinge of pepper and herbs. Tim Gagnon
Roi des Lézards is all Carignan, from vines ranging from 35 - 75 years, aged in a combination of 1500 L Austrian Stockinger barrels, and 500 L used barrels. This is a significant bottle of Carignan, offering dark, purple fruit and good grip. The famous French term "garrigue" immediately comes to mind, even from smelling the wine. Used to describe the aromas typical of the shrubs and fauna of the Mediterranean, such as Thyme, Rosemary and Lavender, one couldn't find a better descriptor for the flavor profile of this wine. Most likely best enjoyed on the dinner table with grilled meats, stews, or other hearty fare. Eben Lillie
Isabelle and Franck Pascal make this beautiful natural wine from Cabernet and Merlot grown on their Biodynamic estate near Felines, in Bergerac. The wine is aged sur-lie 12 months in barrel, and is bottled without filtration or added sulfur. The color is a dark red/black; the wine shows vivid aromas of ripe cassis and boysenberry with earth, musk, brown spice, violet and graphite. The palate is lush, ripe and very complex with cassis, prune, chocolate, earth and spice lifted by cool acidity that continues in the long, citrusy finish. Wow, delicious! Serve with grilled pork or beef, a daube provencal, strong cheeses and charcuterie or cellar for 5 to 8 years.
This beautiful wine is made by Isabelle Carles and Franck Pascal at Le Jonc Blanc, an unusual limestone plateau in the Bergerac with shallow clay soils. Natural vinification with wild yeasts, no additives and minimal extraction. Aged in a large foudre, bottled without fining or filtration, no added SO2, certified organic and Biodynamic. The wine shows a very dark red/black color, with lovely fruit and floral aromas - rose, blackberry and raspberry with hints of dark chocolate and earth. Pretty berry fruits on the palate with cocoa and citrus lifted by refreshing acidity and finishing with a mineral core and citrusy black fruits. This is an extraordinary, pure and delicious wine that should be served slightly cool. Perfect with charcuterie, patés, chicken and pork dishes or just quaffed happily by itself. Highly recommended. DL
We're proud to be working with Isabelle and Franck Pascal, who make beautiful natural wines on their small estate near Félines in Bergerac. The estate is situated on a unique rectangular hill of two different limestones with very thin clay soils - really a great terroir, enhanced by superb Biodynamic farming. The 2014 Sens du Fruit Rouge is an outstanding wine, produced with zero added sulfur, a blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec. The color is dark black/red; the aromas are ripe blackberry and cassis with cocoa, earth, spice and violets. The palate is deep and cool with supple black fruits, dark cocolate, earth and spice. The finish is long and earthy with prune, brown spice and firm acidity. Just delicious. Serve cool with charcuterie, grilled foods, stews, full-flavored cheeses. $12.99? Our thanks to Isabelle and Franck for their inspiring work.
Predominantly Grenache and Syrah, with a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsault, this is a graceful Provence red from on of our favorite bio-dynamic estates, Domaine Les Fouques! This cuvée is new to Chambers St., and is fresher and more acid driven than the darker and more structured 'Aubigue Rouge.' If there was a "garrigue award," the Rouge Tradition would be the winner! Plenty of Mediterranean herbs and spice, crushed dark berries, and subtle tannins. At $11.99, it's an incredible value. (Eben Lillie)
This vintage of the Cuvée de l'Aubigue is our favorite to date! A cornucopia of stone fruit and floral aromas. Quince, pear, honeysuckle on the nose, then lemon compote, herbs and mint along with perfect weight on the palate, and a long mineral finish. 80% Rolle (Vermentino), and equal parts Ugni Blanc and Clairette filling out the blend. Eben Lillie
From Maillet's old vines of Altesse, this is bottled as appellation Roussette de Savoie. It's dry, but compared to the blend with Jacquere, this Altesse is a bit richer on the nose and the palate. Ripe orchard fruit, roundness and a lingering finish that is refreshingly mineral. Very balanced and just plain delicious. Eben Lillie
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
Jacques Maillet is a "grower" in every sense of the word. In 2003, after suffering from a serious illness connected with conventional farming, he reduced the size of his already tiny domaine in order to stop selling his grapes to the local co-op and to begin farming organically. Years later, his wines seem to get better with every vintage. His 2015 Pinot Noir is simply gorgeous. The nose opens with bright, sappy cherry, strawberry liqueur, rose petal, tangerine, and a hint of underbrush. Lithe and lively on the palate, it offers sweet, juicy red raspberry, citrus, smoke, anchored by an intense mineral core. This is no doubt one of Jacques’ most serious wines; structured, long, a bit crunchy, and very elegant. I have a feeling that this would age well over the next 3-5 years, and it is certainly showing beautifully now. 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
For their sous voile wines, Geraud and Pauline Fromont have a separate, three-story cellar that creates an environment conducive to healthy layers of flor. It is dark and humid, with no temperature control, and different levels of humidity on each level influencing the wines in barrel differently. They put the wines in barrel (which are never sulfured) on hot days to assure that the flor develops quickly and they will not be moved again until after a minimum of three years. The Savagnin vines for this cuvée are 45 years old. Much like the 2011, the 2012 Savagnin is classic and precise with an emphasis on balance and freshness. Tropical fruits abound with fenugreek, curry powder, honey-baked walnuts, and saline pears. The palate is sharp and focused with a tangy saltiness and fresh fruit with nuts followed by dried flowers rushing forward on the finish. It is an impressively crafted wine that opens up beautifully at the table and would be perfect with a main course of veal or roasted chicken and also the Comté that will follow! Tim Gagnon
From a parcel of 35-year-old Chardonnay vines planted in limestone-rich soils, the 2015 Les Molates is pure joy to drink. All of their ouillé wines are vinified the same way: direct press into neutral barrels of various sizes for both alcoholic and malolactic fermentation, and spend eighteen months on the lees before bottling with a touch of SO2. It opens with a luscious nose of orange zest, pineapple, juicy green apple, brown spice, honeysuckle, and butterscotch. Full-bodied but not flabby, it is saline and pure with a bright acidity. This is such a pretty wine, and was a standout at a recent lunch with fried Dungeness crab. Tim Gagnon
Chardonnay sourced from a single parcel of old vines (the same parcel of vines is used to make the Crémant Reserve) in Ste-Agnès planted in white marl. A bit more delicate on the nose than Les Molates, it shows captivating aromas of tropical fruit and a hint of sea breeze. The palate possesses incredible depth and power; more mineral than fruit-forward at first. With time open on the table, it is firing on all cylinders with enticing flavors of lychee, white peach, jasmine, and salty pineapple stalk. Absolutely decant if drinking now, and this will also reward with time in the cellar. Tim Gagnon
Perhaps a bit more ripe than last year, the 2015 Pinot Noir is a fairly fruit-forward wine with brambly red raspberries, Bing cherry, pomegranate, and hibiscus notes on the nose. On the palate it is dense with tinges of pepper and minerals, finishing with gobs of red berry fruits and dried red flowers. This is really a treat to drink now and over the next couple of years. 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
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.
Cos Pithos Rosso is always one of my favorite wines to drink during a big meal with plenty of courses. Made from 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato raised in amphora, the 2014 is stunning, showing dark fruit, vibrant herbal tones and lift on the palate. The nose is very aromatic, led by bay spice and lavender with ferrous earth followed by rich dark red fruit. Medium weight on the palate with soft tannins and great acidity, it is more fruit-driven than the nose with dark red plums and red florals over a crisp mineral tone. Despite having great depth, the Pithos Rosso is ultimately a refreshing wine, perfect to cut through the richness of a Thanksgiving table; pair with herbed stuffing, game birds, turkey, or roast pork loin with wine sauce. Serve slightly chilled and enjoy. Andy Paynter
Vittorio Savino, owner of Fenicotteri, joined Foti’s small association of producers called i Vigneri (some of whose wines from Mt. Etna we always have on our shelves). I Vigneri offers unparalleled expertise in every aspect of viticulture and production (including the services of Ciccio, the group’s mule). Foti’s work at Gulfi, and his knowledge derived from the vines in Pachino must have been very valuable when trying to restore a vineyard that’s virtually on the shore of the lagoon. The farming is impeccable (only copper and sulfur and sheep manure are used on the bush-trained vines) but it’s the location that brings an incredibly compelling mineral and saline lift to the wine. It’s perhaps on the light side of medium-bodied, savory aromatics with typical plummy Nero d’Avola fruit, and in a perfectly balanced state for current drinking – fresh, with great cut and moderately tannic structure – entirely satisfying. Called Fenicotteri (flamingo, in Italian) after the migratory flamingoes who visit the lagoon next to the vineyard, this is one special wine. Jamie Wolff Eighty percent of the clusters are destemmed and crushed. It’s macerated for 14 days in steel vats, matures in used barriques for at least six months, and then spends six months in bottle before it’s released. The result is a beautiful Nero d’Avola, deep and dark. Tart red cherries and ripe blackberries, violets and earth with leather and spice on the finish. With medium high acid and medium tannins, this will be perfect to pair with gamey meats, BBQ, a hearty beef stew, roast turkey or even tuna steak. If you're a vegetarian, try it with lentils and shitake mushrooms. Christine Manula
An approximation of Signor Carpano's original 1786 recipe, many call this the Cadillac of red vermouth. Intense flavors of raisin and vanilla meld over a note of anise in the background. Upon further investigation, flavors of orange peel contribute to the rich medley of caramel and fruits. Raise your mixed drinks to the next level, or just relax with a touch of this and an orange peel. JR
Bairrada, with its cooler maritime climate, has a long history of producing fresh and distinctive sparkling wines of quality from the native grapes of the region. Filipa Pato admirably keeps the tradition alive with her delicious and unpretentious brut rosé made from a blend of Bairrada’s signature noble red variety Baga and the tangy high acid white grape, Bical. Spicy and zesty with notes of bright citrus and red berries, this is a great wine to incorporate into a special multi-course dinner or to pop open at informal gatherings with friends and family. Cheers! Sydney Snyder
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!
This is Gigondas at its finest! 100% Grenache from old vines, fermented in cement, and aged in large oak vats before being bottled unfined and unfiltered with minimal added sulphur. It gives you that classic Grenache mustiness – like blackberries and blueberries smashed onto the forest floor – but also more fresh and delicate notes of nutmeg and strawberries. Hints of grapefruit peel, vine tomato and pine offer added depth. Given its age, it is still incredibly energetic on the palate with wonderfully resolved tannins and ripe black berry fruit. Truly a complex and delicious wine with a long life ahead of it! Tim Gagnon
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!
From one of the few organic estates in Crozes Hermitage. The vines are 25 to 75 years old, most in Erome and Gervans on slopes of decomposed granite, some in Pont d'Isere on sand and gravel. No SO2 during vinification, aged in vat and in 2 - 5 year-old small barrels. The 2015 Habrard is a lovely wine, showing a bright red/black color; lovely aromas of ripe black cherry, blackberry and blueberry with hints of roast meat, mint and dark chocolate, quite pure and elegant. The palate shows dense, supple blackberry fruit with earth, smoke, black olive and licorice, nicely balanced with citrus and spice and finishing with terrific length of berry fruits, saline minerals and cool acidity. Lovely wine! Delicious now, served cool, or hold for 5 to 8 years. DL
The 2011 vintage in Cote-Rotie was marked by uneven weather - a warm spring followed by swings of hot and cold and some rain in September, which produced wines lacking the perfect balance and structure of 2010 but which show good ripeness and rounder structure - wines that will drink well young but with surprising ability to age as well. The Levet 2011 Chavaroche shows deep black fruits, a bit riper and more open than 2010 or 2012, with floral, spice and meat aromas - less elegant perhaps but riper and more extravagant. The palate has fine mineral character underlying the ripe fruits with some light touches of plum, citrus and herbs over the dense fruit. The finish is long and complex showing a good future for this wine despite the more ripe and forward style. Drink soon and until 2025 to 2030.
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!
This is a shimmering, bright, crisp Daiginjo from the Nakao Brewery in Hiroshima prefecture. Plenty of acidity, balance and less richness and weight than many Daiginjos on the market. This bottling is made specially for Joto Sake and we're proud to stock it here at Chambers Street.
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.
An instant staff and customer favorite from the Montsant, La Selección is a fresh and elegant young wine from our friend Fredi "Fresquito" Torres. Organically farmed Garnacha with some Carignan, primarily from clay and calcareous soils, raised in stainless steel and bottled with minimal SO2. Medium-bodied, approachable, and thoroughly delicious, with aromas of wild herbs, raspberry blossom, and tangy cranberry fruit, with a vibrantly acidic, floral, and herbal palate of juicy red berries, brambly purple fruit, thyme, a hint of pepper, and earth. Easy to drink and a versatile pairing for any food group - poultry, vegetables, burgers - priced for every night of the week. Ariana Rolich
This is serious pet nat from Toni Carbó, a fixture in the natural wine bars of Barcelona, but brand new on our shores! Tinc Set is organic and biodynamically farmed Xarello and Parellada, two of the great local grapes of Penedès. Calcareous and clay soils speak loudly through tiny firm bubbles, vibrant golden fruit, fresh peach, green apple skins, bitter almond, salty yeast, and crunchy mineral length. Exuberant and fresh in flavor, yet smooth and round in texture, with no added SO2. Tinc Set pairs nicely with a chill in the air and some charcuterie on your plate! Ariana Rolich
I get a lot of questions about Envinate wines, which are highly sought-after and in short supply. Yes, they are really that good! This new cuvee is inexpensive and outrageously delicious, made of Listan Prieto with a bit of Tintilla from 70-120 year-old vines at 1100m altitude on the cliffs of Northwestern Tenerife. Aromas of sour cherry, black tea, iodine, and funky earth activate thirst and hunger; racy acidity and pronounced tannins are the spine of this fresh, floral, red, which is light-bodied but densely flavored with crushed red berry fruit and briary herbs. Serve with a chill. 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
Tenerife native Borja Pérez González comes from a long line of winemakers. Under his own label, Ignios Origenes, he is leading the young generation of Canary Island winemakers with fresh, nuanced and unique wines in the region. His reds have developed a great fan base here at Chambers Street, so we are pleased to welcome his white wine back to the shelf! Made from 100% Marmajuelo (one of only two grapes that cannot be traced to any varieties outside of the Canaries), this exotic white offers contrast between silken tropical aromas of pineapple, aloe, lemon curd, and banana leaf with lip-smacking acidity and salinity on the palate of crisp stone fruit, with rich minerality, almond notes, a shake of white pepper, and bitter volcanic earth lacing the long, minerally finish. 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.
A blend of 65% Tempranillo, 25% Garnacha and small amounts of Mazuelo and Graciano, with three years in barrel and extended bottle age prior to release, the very good 2008 vintage has yielded a classic and satisfying Cubillo. Ripe, forward aromas of black cherry, blueberry sap, and raspberry, with tarragon, sweet black licorice, leather, and peppery earth; the palate is initially quite juicy with blackberry flesh and skins, tart black plum, and tangy acidity, opening with air to reveal sour cherry, plum skins, subtle herbal and smoky flavors, and soft sweet leather. Ariana Rolich
Sao Del Coster 2015 Pim Pam Poom is a lively Priorat that favors approachability over power. That is not to say that it is a simple wine; made from carbonically macerated grenache, this wine has considerable depth if not as much structure as typical Priorat reds. The nose smells intensely of juicy red cherries and strawberries followed by dried herbs, and earthy notes of wet stones. The palate is fresh, lifted by bright acidity and light but present tannins with fruit that follows from the nose joined by lavender, crushed red florals, and a distinct sanguine character. An easy drinking Priorat, Pim Pam Poom would pair well with lamb, especially a gyro, roasted root veggies, or a plate of manchego and jamon. Serve with a slight chill and enjoy. - AP
Bow and Arrow winemaker Scott Frank delights with this extremely drinkable blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Gamay (40%) from Willamette Valley's Johan Vineyard. One of the cooler areas in the Willamette Valley, Johan Vineyard shines in warmer, drier vintages like 2014 and 2015. On the nose, black cherry skin, dried herb, and licorce stick notes; bright, tangy acidity frames the red raspberry, tart black cherry, and meaty flavors. Pair with a hanger steak or by itself. Jonas Mendoza
Bow and Arrow's "Air Guitar" plays on the Loire Valley tradition of cheeky, irreverent labels for wine bottlings (See also Bow and Arrow's "Rhinestones" Pinot Noir/Gamay blend). A 60/40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from 30-year old vines in the Oregon Coastal Range and Cabernet Franc from Willamette's Valley Johan Vineyard, this preeminently gulpable red has herbal and leafy notes and finishes with ripe black cassis, cherry fruit, and earthy flavors. Make sure to shred Air Guitar with roast pork loin, Middle Eastern dishes, or any other dishes with earthy, savory flavors. Jonas Mendoza
Bow & Arrow's preeminently drinkable Pinot Noir/Gamay blend, heavy-metal edition! Jonas Mendoza
Fans of Broadside's delicious Margarita Vineyard Cabernet, take note! This 2013 Paso Robles bottling is one of the most graceful wines we've tasted in the under $20 price range, combining 50% Margarita fruit with two other sustainably farmed Paso Robles vineyards. It is substantial and refreshing, with full flavors of sweet purple plums, spicy citrus oil, brambly black and blue berry fruit, and balanced, grippy young tannins. A truly fantastic value! Ariana Rolich
The grapes for this inaugural (and very tiny) vintage come from parcels surrounding the legendary Maresh Red Barn and farmed by 90-year old owner Jim Maresh Sr. himself. The blocks are own-rooted Pommard clones planted in 1978. This wine has all the brambly black fruit of the regular Maresh Vineyard bottling, but with additional power, elegance, and structure. I tasted a bottle with the winemaker Kelley Fox in front of the Red Barn itself. Rugged tannins frame a dark core of black raspberry and cherry fruit; after several hours, the wine unfurls with flavors of blackberry, mushroom, and freshly rained earth. A truly special bottling indeed! Jonas Mendoza
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 ran out of them in 750ml, but brought some back in magnums. Jonas Mendoza
Tito's is made from 100% corn and is absolutely wheat & gluten free. It’s produced in Austin at Texas' first and oldest legal distillery. It's made in small batch by Tito Beveridge (actual name), a 45-year-old Geologist, who micro-distills 6x’s in an old-fashioned pot still, just like fine single malt scotches and high-end French cognacs.
The introductory bottling from the envelope-pushing Bourboniers at Buffalo Trace distillery. A fairly young and grainy style with lots of vanilla and a touch of sweet smoke. Not as rye-driven as some of the other Bourbons in their stable. This is the perfect introduction to Bourbon and the Buffalo Trace style or great for Bourbon drinkers who prefer a bit of sweetness. JR
One of Heaven Hill's higher-end offerings. The Elijah Craig packs tons of rye, citrus and licorice smoke into an undervalued little package. I once had friends over for a bourbon tasting and dinner, and this was the first bottle emptied. JR
Made from a four-grain mash bill of heirloom white corn, Red Winter Wheat, malted barley, and Carolina Gold Rice from the famed Anson Mills in Columbia, South Carolina, this is uniquely southern Bourbon. It spends eighteen months in barrel and yields a spirit that is happily grain-forward (when you use such high-quality grain, why wouldn’t you want it to be?), with secondary aromas of malted milk chocolate, baked apricot, and sweet spice. The palate is smooth, yet earthy and spicy, with fruit returning on the finish along with apple butter and nutmeg. This is a delicious experience for all whiskey lovers. Tim Gagnon
A truly idiosyncratic whiskey from the historic Knappogue castle. The whiskey is triple distilled in copper pot stills for a unique light body. The taste is uniquely fresh and light with juicy pear fruit and enticing floral notes. JR
Possibly the smoothest of all Bourbons. Maker's Mark is a "wheated" style bourbon, meaning that wheat is the dominate grain in the mash bill after corn. Wheat imparts sweeter and smoother flavors than the more rustic and spicy rye. Makers has a distinct Maraschino cherry liquor flavor that leaves a sweet toasty finish. Unique and utterly drinkable. JR