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100% Hondarribi Zuri from Agerre, third-generation wine growers in Getaria, whose refreshing, classic Txakoli ignites our thirst every year around this time. It is fermented with native yeasts, so you get salty, earthy, delicate notes without the confected character that pervades Txakolis made with commercial yeasts. Lime blossoms, brine, savory minerals, a hint of sweet smoke and dried herbs, sea salt air, and green apple acidity invigorate the appetite, making a perfect apéro next to snacks of goat cheese, oysters, and shrimp. Ariana Rolich
Xurxo Alba does it all! A miniscule amount of red wine is produced in Rías Baixas (it is hardcore Albariño and crustacean country!) and even less of it comes to our shores. Fans of red wines that taste like acid, rocks, and dirt will be delighted by O Esteiro Tinto, Xurxo's blend of (roughly equal parts) feral and earthy Caiño, austere and mineral Espadeiro, with the brambly bright berries of Mencia. This is an exhilarating wine of a terroir that we rarely experience through red wine. Ariana Rolich
This is an Albariño with thrilling shape and gorgeous flavors, very highly recommended for fans of Finca O Pereiro and other Albamar bottlings. I fell in love with 69 Arrobas in one sip... Old-vine Albariño from several tiny vineyards, vinified simply in stainless steel (no lees, no wood, no batonnage) for an unaffected, pure, if not perfect glass of wine. Invigorating and long, 69 Arrobas combines a sheer, salty veneer with a deep, concentrated core of apricot, orange honey, sultry white grapefruit, and tart tropical fruit. Perfect with oysters and mignonette, pan-fried fish and spicy Korean greens, I wouldn't hesitate to pair complex flavors with this truly exquisite wine. Ariana Rolich
A refreshing introduction to the rare and complicated red grape Juan Garcia, coplanted on granitic sandy soils with (the almost as rare and complicated variety) Rufete and a number of other varieties in the village of Fermoselle, located in the Arribes del Duero National Park on the Spanish side of the Portuguese border. Alvar de Dios is a serious young winemaker from the south of Toro, who is actively exploring the neighboring Arribes region and all the vibrant varieties that straddle the Portuguese border. Savory, funky black currant, wild blueberry, and lavender aromas waft onto the brightly acidic palate of sultry florals and spice, with crushed blackberry, bramble, bitter herbs, and dark, mineral earth. Delicious with burgers and poultry, earthy root vegetables, salty charcuterie, and even chilled alongside tuna or squid with oregano and citrus. Ariana Rolich
A burst of flamboyant flavors, Tío Uco is an exciting young wine from an exciting young winemaker! A native of southern Toro, Alvar de Dios honed his skills working with Fernando García at Bodegas Marañones (a longtime Chambers Street favorite in the Sierra de Gredos) before returning to Toro to farm his family vineyards and acquire others. Tío Uco comes from 25 to 40 year-old, organically farmed vines of Tinta de Toro on a variety of terroirs (clay, limestone, sand, and gravel), destemmed and raised in neutral oak barrels. Aromas are wild and heady, full of fermenting berries, black cherry compote, incense and clove, with a jazzy, light spritz upon opening, dissolving into the fun and full-flavored palate of cassis, cranberry, cola, umeboshi salt plums, balsamic, wild rose, and bitter herbs on the finish. Substantial and spicy, but light on its feet, this is a lovely Toro for everyday drinking pleasure. Ariana Rolich
Multi-talented vigneron Fredi Torres turns grapes to mouth-watering potions across such diverse regions as Montsant, Priorat, Ribeira Sacra and Emporda. La Deva is a single vineyard in the Montsant, composed of Grenache with some Carignan and Macabeo. Intoxicating aromas of ripe raspberry, funky berries, floral lavender, and tea leaf, with a mouth-watering and silky palate of ripe strawberry, black cherry, fresh green herbs, lavender, blue flowers and peppercorn. Serve with a chill with anything from the grill. Ariana Rolich
An utterly delicious bargain, made of 95% Tempranillo and 5% Viura from Artuke's organically farmed family estate in the Rioja Alavesa. Made in the traditional, refreshing (pre-barrel aging) style of Rioja, whole cluster fermented and raised in concrete tanks for a pure, juicy, floral, and thirst-quenching young red that begs to be chilled and downed over lunch (or on the couch). Alluring wild rose and ripe cherry aromas and flavors, with crushed red and purple berries, soft earth, wild green herbs, salty licorice, and cherry cola. Keep a bottle chilling in the fridge to pair with everything from pizza to paellas! Ariana Rolich
Salmonido is a tart, supple, and sultry rosado of Pinot Noir, from a single hectare vineyard on poor, stony soils in the Sierra Nevada foothills of Granada. Savory, oxidative, and acidic, with tension between red currant and sour cherry with softer strawberry and musky raspberry fruit, with mineral, smoky depth. Pair with smoked salmon or tuna steaks with roasted red peppers. Ariana Rolich
2016 Bermejos rosé has arrived! 100% Listán Negro from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, grown at the bottom of painstakingly-tended hoyos (the local name for the craters dug into the crunchy, black volcanic ash topsoil that coated the island of Lanzarote following a series of volcanic eruptions that started in 1730). One vine is planted at the bottom of each hoyo, which protects the plant from Lanzarote's relentless trade winds, along with stone walls of volcanic rock rimming the hoyos to prevent the sandy soil from blowing onto the vines. (In reality, the walls are constantly blown down and rebuilt. This is high-maintenance viticulture!) Bermejos' visionary winemaker, Ignacio Valdera, produces fascinating and crystal-clear expressions of this unique and mystical vinescape. The rosado is pale, dry, and refreshing, with hints of tangerine, orange blossom, dried oregano, and ash on the nose, followed by flavors of salty citrus and strawberries, blood orange, brine, and cherry pits, with ash, orange oil and rind on the finish. Complex yet crowd-pleasing. Ariana Rolich
The vineyards around the town of San Martin de Valdeiglesias (the eastern edge of the Gredos Mountains, just west of Madrid) boast very old Garnacha and Albillo vines in granitic sandy soils, interspersed with intensely fragrant lavender, thyme, and exotic local wild flowers that smell like curry, peaches, and honey. Bernabeleva's Camino de Navaherreros is a fresh and perfumed Garnacha from a blend of organically farmed vineyards at 500-1000 meters. Clear and floral, much lighter on the palate than the alcohol suggests, with vivacious acidity, substantial tannins, and flavors of bold raspberry and blueberry fruit, rosey florals, rosemary and mint with telltale granitic length and minerality. What a wine! Ariana Rolich
Borja Perez is the talented young winemaker behind the Ignios Origenes label, descendant of many generations of Tenerife grape growers, who aims to preserve tradition and terroir while breaking the mold with unique volcanic wines. Artifice is his line of refreshing and inexpensive wines made from purchased grapes, farmed and picked to Borja's exacting standards, made with native yeasts and minimal sulfur additions. The tinto is made from Listán Negro, the workhorse variety of Tenerife, in this case harvested for freshness, displaying defined, lifted flavors of wild purple berries and florals, peppery, ashy volcanic earth, and lots of juicy acidity. Ariana Rolich
2015 Poula was made in the old style of the village of Albares ("My neighbors love it!" winemaker Germán Blanco proclaimed), composed of Garnacha Tintorera, Mencía, Portuguesa (Trousseau), and 40% white grapes Jerez (Palomino), Godello, Doña Blanca, foot-trodden in stone lagars and raised in amphora for 12 months. Poula is the only Casa Aurora wine made from a blend of parcels, most of which are too tiny to vinify on their own (they are listed on the front label). Lively, joyful, teeming with mouth-watering scents and flavors of wild berries, fermented grapes, mountain herbs, silky florals, and a pleasing tickle of tannin. Serve chilled. Ariana Rolich
Castellroig is one of the few Cava producers working with organic methods (not certified), harvesting by hand, and even fermenting with native yeasts. They have a remarkable understanding of their vineyards and have mapped out every shift in terroir on their property; this fanatical approach to quality shows in the bottle. The focus of this cuvée is Xarlel-lo, a favorite amongst Cava grapes for its refreshing mineral qualities and notes of mountain herbs. A light-on-its-feet bubbly for everyday occasions.
Sumoll is enjoying a resurgence in Penedès. Raw and wild in its youth, but rapturously beautiful when given proper time to integrate, the red wine from Sumoll we love to drink the most is Els Jelipins, which Gloria Garriga and her daughter Berta patiently age for several years before bottling. Manel Avinyó's Sumoll is cut in this mold - fluid and floral, with silky ripe red cherry, hibiscus spice, sweet florals, sea salt, a hint of wool, and lingering mineral length. The label on the bottle is a reincarnation of one of his grandfather's designs from the 1920s. The wine has a similar old-fashioned, unhurried feel to it. Linger with a glass of perfectly resolved Sumoll and enjoy. Ariana Rolich
This Xarel-lo from Manel of Clos Lentiscus is a beautiful example of no-sulfur wine-making from the Garraf Mountains in Catalunya. The vines here are around 80 years old, and lend a considerable amount of complexity and length to the wine.It's got fantastic mineral character and lovely density from extended aging on the lees. Decant or uncork a bit before serving, as the wine opens up quite a bit and evolves from crispy and stony to rounder and more viscous with some air. Truly a beautiful wine to drink over several hours (sorry it never made it to day 2!), and one of the most memorable white wines I've had this year. Eben Lillie
It is impossible not to be seduced by the aromas and clarity of Garnacha wines from the Sierra de Gredos, a majestic mountain range west of Madrid. Comando G is the dynamic duo of Dani Landi and Fernando Garcia (Maranones), who have risen to fame for securing some of the most nail-bitingly high and remote Garnacha vineyards in the world and vinifying them into some of the most extreme and beautiful Garnacha wines we have had. Rozas Primer is made from several old vineyards around the town of Rozas de Puerto Real in the Valle del Tietar, planted on granitic sandy soil at 900m altitude. Aromas are heady with perfumed berry sap, purple/blue florals, hints of licorice and savory earth. The wild fragrance gains focused on the palate, which is powerful but lithe, a balanced rush of Garnacha fruit and Gredos garrigue: ripe raspberry, lavender, licorice, oregano, and saturated mineral length. A lunch of rich but delicate roasted lamb brought out this wine's tension between power and elegance, which is quintessential Gredos experience! Ariana Rolich
We are very proud to work with Corisca ("storm" in the local dialect), a certified organic Albariño made by Natalia Rodríguez and her father José María, pioneers in the region (the first in Rías Baixas to be certified organic) who work tirelessly to perfect the balance of this wine - the only one that they make. Corisca displays pure Albariño character and heightened refreshment at an everyday price. Salty, stony aromas with hints of orange oil and green herbs precede the elegant palate, full of twinkling citrus and stone fruit, bright sea spray, minerals, and a long, complex finish. An invigorating apéritif and easy pairing for poultry, fish, and vegetables. We cannot imagine a more delicious "house" Albariño! Ariana Rolich
Joan and Josep d'Anguera farm their family's vineyards organically and biodynamically (certified in 2012) in the Montsant on clay calcareous soils, for an irresistible expression of Grenache, brimming with fresh and inviting Garnacha fruit and garrigue , wild strawberry, soft raspberry florals, brisk but easy acidity and lots of length. Ariana Rolich
El Altar is a singular Garnacha, from old vines planted on granitic sandy soils with large chunks of quartz, north-facing at 800 meters near the town of El Barraco in the Sierra de Gredos. Daniel Ramos is one of a handful of Gredos producers with a formidable understanding of and respect for the profound and varied terroirs of the region. In a region full of brilliant Garnachas, El Altar is particularly purely red-fruited, from one of the coolest parts of the region, with strawberry, cherry, red currant, and raspberry preserves, interwoven with rock rose, bergamot, resinous thyme, wild flower honey, and rainwater.Ariana Rolich
Tasting this wine for the first time, I was immediately fascinated (and hooked). The Gredos Mountains, west of Madrid, are home to the most awe-inspiring and balanced Garnachas in the world. Power, perfume, tannin, and acid meet subtle layers and terroir-expression in this unique, high-altitude region that is largely unknown to wine lovers, but will be acknowledged one day soon as the source for the world's highest expressions of the Garnacha grape. Del Tiemblo Los Chorrancos is a fierce and floral cuvée from a north-facing schistous vineyard (with some granite) at upwards of 900m altitude in Avila's Alberche River Valley. Aromas are deep, floral, and botanical, with cherry blossoms, roses, resin, lavender, and sweet clover honey. The palate is anchored by rich tannins, acidic spine, and gripping mineral depth, with shimmering raspberry, rich kirsch, rosemary, and savory forest floor. This wine is sure to change the way you think about Garnacha. Ariana Rolich
Winemaker Daniel Ramos said that when he and his wife drink a bottle of Pizarra, they frequently open it 3-4 days in advance. Only made in exceptional years, Pizarra is 100% Garnacha from a 60-100+ year old vines on south-facing slate/schist vineyards at 900-975m (3000 feet) elevation in the town of Cebreros. It is brawnier and darker than Ramos' Chorrancos cuvee, with sappy wild berries, sandalwood, and musky citrus oils alongside subtle oxidative notes, spicy wild "garrigue" of lavender, and thyme (which coincidentally grow around the vineyard), and a clear core of slatey minerals. An exceptional wintry Garnacha for roasted meats and root vegetables. Please decant! Ariana Rolich
Nicolas Marcos comes from a winemaking family in Toro but found himself drawn to the polar opposite, cool northern coastal region of Cangas in Asturius, where very old vines of Mencia and autochthonous varieties like Carrasquin, Albarin Blanco, Verdejo Tinto, and more cling to steep, rocky slopes of slate and quartz. Farming is biodynamic and the wines are alive and exciting. The Cadario cuvee is cool and exotic, with broad, brambly black fruit and soft mulberry, with deep and dark minerality like crushed coal, with an acidic rush and bright blue and purple florals. Ariana Rolich
A perfect year for Els Jelipins, the 2010 is earthy and a touch feral, with abundant raspberry and cranberry fruit, accented by tea leaf (Earl Grey), and burdock root.
2011 Els Jelipins has taut tannins and delicate angles, tender strawberry and cranberry fruit, lime zests, and sweet florals.
Certified organic from a family winery in Emporda, Catalonia, this bone-dry, refreshing rose of 100% Garnacha is better than ever - simply an incredible value. Notes of crushed stone and wild flowers on the nose lead to a tangy, mineral-driven palate of citrus zest, blood orange, savory tropical notes, and sea spray. A delicious accompaniment for grilled shrimp or squid. Ariana Rolich
The Espelt family has been growing grapes for centuries on the sandy granite, limestone, and slate soils of Empordà. In the early 2000s, they began bottling under their own name, resulting in some of the best values coming out of Catalonia. Espelt's vineyards are certified organic and dedicated primarily to native varieties like Lledoner (Catalan Grenache) and Carinyena. This wine is 100% Garnatxa Blanca from 50 year-old vines, fermented and aged for 3 months in neutral French oak barrels. Medium bodied, with pure, fluid flavors of white peach, lemon-lime, tropical fruit, and golden apple, flecked with white pepper and silky florals, anchored by a firm mineral spine. Fresh and versatile. Ariana Rolich
Ester Nin and Carles Ortiz combine rigorous biodynamic farming, prime terroir in Porrera (one of the two coolest villages in the Priorat), and an oddity - Cargnan Blanc - to achieve this eleagant outlier among Priorat whites. Unusually lithe, clear, and cool-tempered relative to the big, sometimes boozy whites of the region, with heady aromas of wild herbs, lemon balm, mustard flower, kefir lime, citrus peels, and white pepper. The palate is supple, long, and mineral, one of the most restrained and pretty Priorat whites to date, displaying delicate tropical and tree fruits with bitter piths, mineral earth, and sea salts. Pair with rich seafood and herbed poultry. Ariana Rolich
In addition to rapturous Ribera del Duero wines, Goyo Garcia Viadero make s a small amount of wine from his mother's home region of Cantabria. 70% Mencia and 30% Palomino from old vines planted in broken black slate soils, co-fermented in stainless steel and raised in neutral oak for 26 months, Cobero Tinto is lithe and mineral, delicious with braised meat and game or salty pork and cheeses. 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 Gonzalez (Ignios, Artifice) stays true to the grape's voluptuous core while emphasizing acidity and intense mineral expression. Heady florals, sweet smoke, and clove aromas precede a gushing, fruit-forward palate of black cherry, juicy purple plums, crushed black berries, spicy cloves, black pepper, wild flowers, kirsch, and smoky, volcanic earth. Borja's careful farming and precise, gentle vinifications render a vivid, vertical expression of this sultry, mind-bending 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 grew up in his family's winery in La Guancha, Tenerife. Under his own Ignios label, he is now leading the young generation of Canary Island winemakers with some of the most unique and nuanced wines in the region. His reds have a devoted fan base here at Chambers Street, so we are pleased to welcome his white wine back to the shelf! Made from the local Marmajuelo grape, 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 almond oil, a shake of white pepper, and bitter volcanic earth lacing the long, minerally finish. Ariana Rolich
We are avid fans of Xavi Bernet and regular visitors to his cave in the tiny hamlet of El Pago, where he sells delicious Catalan cheese, fruits, and rancio, in addition to his totally fabulous organic Julia Bernet Cavas (Julia is Xavi's young daughter). Xavi farms his grandparents' vines and makes a tiny amount of sparkling and still wine, all of which display enormous quality and care. Ingenius is 80% Xarello and 20% Chardonnay, fermented in stainless steel, and aged on the lees for a minimum of 18 months before disgorgement with no dosage. A flinty, smoky minerality pervades the nose of sweet cream and lemon blossoms, which is almost Chablis-like in its force and depth, and continues on to infuse the savory palate. Broad but not weighty, with tingly acid and flavors of golden plum, fennel, and marigold. This is a complex Cava that vastly exceeds its price point. If Penedes were the object of such intense scrutiny and admiration as Champagne, there is no doubt that Xavi Bernet would be hailed as a grower of supreme talent and character. 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 familyy 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.
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
We don't see much Grenache from the Duero. Neither does Alfredo Maestro! He painstakingly identifies and plucks Garnacha grapes from amidst his dozens of tiny vineyards, most of which are planted to the local Tempranillo with multiple other varieties like Ganrnacha Tintorera, Bobal, Albillo Mayor, Dona Blanca, Moscatel, and more. Alfredo harvests his diverse plantings 3 times: First, for Albillo and Garnacha Tintorera; 2nd, for Tempranillo; and 3rd, for Garnacha. Our favorite Garnachas display aerial and mineral dimensions that create a bond between sky and soil in our glasses, mouths, and minds. This wine is serene and sylvan, with aromas of purple and black berries, graphite, forest floor, and salty black licorice that open into a delicious palate of tart black currants, brambly, bursting wild blueberries and blueberry stems, black cherries and woody cherry pits, wild herbs and flowers, sasaparilla, bitter chocolate, and gunmetal on the end, with breathtaking clarity, fresh and juicy acidity, and a tear-jerking level of quality and pleasure. Pair with venison and mulberries, cookouts, and cheese plates. Ariana Rolich
Maisulan is 100% Tempranillo from organically and biodynamically farmed vineyards around the village of El Villar in the Rioja Alavesa. Aromas of dusty purple berries and plums, rose hips, and tendrils of sweet smoke combine on the dense, full-flavored palate of wild cherry, dense boysenberry and raspberry, with red apple skins, spicy cinnamon, gritty tannins, and a long finish of savory minerals and smoky earth. Affordable and versatile. Ariana Rolich
La Movida Laderas is a steep plot of 70-year-old Garnacha vines planted on rocky schist soils, 958 meters above sea level on the mystical south-facing slopes of Cebreros in the Gredos Mountains. Too precariously steep, rocky, and jagged to be plowed either by animals or machines, the vineyard is fragrant and wild, full of fennel, lavender, clover, poppies, and roses, with rows of quartz rocks ringing the vines, crickets chirping, and vultures soaring in wide circles in the sky above. With miniscule yields of .5kg of fruit per vine, it takes two plants to produce one bottle of wine. Aromas erupt from the glass: lavender, resin, black cherry, spicy cranberry, and crumbly warm earth. Intense Garnacha fruit fills the palate with crushed red raspberries, red currant, and crisp cranberry, with tingly young tannins, exotic sandalwood, and dense, dark schistous minerality. The intensity of these flavors is balanced by sizzling, high acidity that characterizes red wines from the Gredos Mountains . This is a beautiful and rare wine, pulsating with the raw wild force of the mountains. 1000 bottles produced. Ariana Rolich
Combate Pink is an addictive, fuschia-hued, slightly off-dry rosado of Garnacha from Maldivinas' prime vineyards in Cebreros, the heart of the Sierra de Gredos. Two-thirds of the fruit comes from vineyards on schist and one-third from granitic soils. The perfumed nose of hibiscus, wild flowers, and damp brown earth continues onto the wild, juicy palate of strawberry preserves, raspberry patch, and black tea. Lots of bright, tangy acidity is present to balance the rich, wild fruit and the touch of sugar that remains in the wine. An explosively delicious rosé for winter sipping and an inspired pairing for any cured or smoked pork products, dark poultry (like duck), Chinese fare, roasted winter squashes, cheeses, and fruity or chocolatey desserts. One barrel produced. Ariana Rolich
Albillo Real is the great white grape of the Sierra de Gredos mountain range, west of Madrid. Floral and big-boned, with moderate acidity, Albillo is often compared to Rhone whites like Viognier or Marsanne. The comparison is useful, since lovers of Rhone whites will also enjoy Albillo. In most cases, however, Albillo is more aromatic than Marsanne or Roussanne, the fruit and florals and less cloying than Viognier's, with intense earth and mineral expression across terroirs. On to Combate! Guillermo and Carlos, the team behind Maldivinas, harvest their Albillo in mid-August, from 60 year-old vines on granitic sandy soils at 650m in San Martín de Valdeiglesias. A pale, brothy gold in the glass, with subtle, minerally aromas and a cool, stony palate of spicy pear, peach skins, invigorating citrus rinds, tingly ginger, honey, bitter herbs, and crunchy, salty, mineral length, redolent of granitic terroir. A special white wine to build a meal around, Combate Albillo is perfect for fish, poultry, pork, seafood, and goat cheeses. One barrel produced. Ariana Rolich
Victoria Torres farms two hectares of vines in Fuencaliente at 800m altitude in the south of La Palma, the dramatically steep, western-most Canary island where her family has tended vines for 5 generations. The nearby Volcán St. Antonio erupted in 1677, which coated the south side of the island with black ash rock and gave way to a unique form of viticulture. Diego is a productive local variety that does not always result in wines of distinction, but in Victoria's hands it is as ravishing and subtle as the Canary Islands' best whites. Some maceration on the skins contributes texture and enhances the ashy Canarian mineral tone. Crunchy mineral aromas, with lime zest, white pepper, and peach blossom; the palate has breadth and viscosity that is balanced by brisk acidity with musky tropical fruit (papaya, banana leaf), tea leaves, and mineral salt, wound together with tendrils of grey ashy smoke and wafts of brine. Ariana Rolich
Sometimes when people live and breathe their vineyards and wines, the results are palpable. This is the case with Ismael Gozalo, a proud native of Rueda, gifted grower, and crafter of some of the region's finest and most serious Verdejo wines, first for Bodegas Ossian and now under the MicroBio label, which is a deliberate reference to both biological processes crucial to the character of the wines and the tiny scale of production. For his rose, Tempranillo is pressed directly into stainless steel for fermentation and blended later with a bit of Verdejo. The result is vivid and pure, with fresh bright berry fruit, cherry blossom, crunchy rocks, balanced bright acidity and no added sulphur at any stage. We are excited to be able offer this rose at a much lower price this year. Let's drink beautiful natural Spanish rose all summer long! Ariana Rolich
An eye-opening blend of 70% Pansa Blanca and 30% Pansa Rosada from 75-year-old vines planted on on the granitic "sauló" soils of Alella, north of Barcelona, just one kilometer from the coast. Intense, exotic aromas of coriander, white flowers, aloe, and mint float from the glass, followed by a bold, mineral bolt on the broad, textured palate, with refreshing notes of citrus, sea brine, Asian pear, fruit blossom florals, and salty, savory earth. We are occasionally asked the difference between wines from old vines and wines from young vines. Concentrated, mouth-filling, multi-dimensional, yet defiantly weightless, Peça d'en Blanch demonstrates the difference in every sip. Ariana Rolich
Oriol Artigas' wines weave unique flavors and intense minerality from the distinctive local grapes of Alella, a coastal DO just north of Barcelona. The Rosat is more golden than pink, made of 70% Pansa Rosada and 30% Malvasia from 75-year-old vines growing just one kilometer from the sea. Aromas of spicy citrus oils, waxen florals and herbs wind through the bold mineral palate, which is bone dry and mouth-filling, with vivid sparks of grapefruit and apricot skins, bitter brine, hints of smoke, Mediterranean garrigue, and sea salt. Everything with grill marks will be exalted by a sip of this rose! Ariana Rolich
Before joining forces with Rubén Díaz to start RuBor, Orly Lumbreras was making wine solo in some of the Sierra de Gredos' most extreme and awe-inspiring vineyards on granitic soils around the austere mountain town of Navarredondilla. He is still producing Punto G, which was his first wine, made from 70 year-old Garnacha at 1,100 meters altitude, fermented with whole clusters with native yeasts, and raised in used French oak for six months. Fuller, more dense and brawny than Groove, with many years of life ahead, Punto G displays luscious dark cherries, ripe berry skins, and savory black currant fruit, full of rich earth, dried oregano, and notes of sweet spice. The complexity of this wine builds with hours and days of air. Yearning for stewed lamb or grilled steak on a cold night is activated! Ariana Rolich
100% Tempranillo from 40-year-old, head-trained vines, foot-trodden and fermented with whole clusters and some whole berries in concrete lagares for an old-fashioned, fruity, "vino de consechero"-style Rioja. Savory blackberry and sweet leather notes on the nose, with fresh acidity, flavors of black cherry and tart plum, licorice, and thyme, buoyed by lifted carbonic notes. Serve with a chill alongside fun, easy meals like roasted chicken, pizza, or burgers. Ariana Rolich
Juan Antonio Ponce has shown us the elegant essence of Bobal, the rustic workhorse grape of Manchuela. His entry level Bobal, from organic and biodynamically farmed vines, is graceful and fresh, light-medium bodied but full of generous fruit — brambly black raspberry, tart purple plum, and wild blackberry patch, with soft earth, wild herbs, pepper, and pronounced minerality with taut youthful tannins. Clos Lojen is a lifted, luscious, and impressive natural wine that highlights the magnitude of Spain's (seemingly boundless) viticultural talent and raw materials, often accessible at insanely low prices. Ariana Rolich
A straightforward and honest expression of old vine Tempranillo from the insuppressible and delightful young winemaker Germán Blanco. Despite the intense heat of 2015, Quinta Milú's “house wine” is fresh, lively, and beautifully composed with notes of warm, dark fruit, violets, black pepper, silty minerality, and a hint of pumpernickel. Robust and solid with a firm yet fluid tannic structure from aging in a combination of used French and American barrels, this utterly quaffable wine works equally well paired with a meal, or as a meal unto itself. Sydney Snyder
Pepe Raventos stepped outside of the Cava appellation in 2012 to create the Conca del Riu Anoia designation, which is committed to prioritizing the area's indigenous varieties, estate fruit, longer elevage, and biodynamic methods. The de Nit rosé was the first Conca wine and continues to sate and impress us with its lively aromas of pert pink lemonade, tart cranberry, and a hint of pepper; the palate is dry and elegant, with refreshing, bright acidity, flavors of strawberry seeds, musky ripe raspberries, and orange zests, flanking the complex saline and mineral core, stemming from Raventos' calcareous soils, rich with marine fossils. This is an incredibly versatile rose sparkling wine for aperitifs, charcuterie, fish and seafood of all kinds. Ariana Rolich
Pepe Raventos stepped outside of the Cava appellation in 2012 to create the Conca del Riu Anoia designation, which is committed to prioritizing the area's indigenous varieties, estate fruit, longer elevage, and biodynamic methods. The de Nit rosé was the first Conca wine and continues to sate and impress us with its lively aromas of pert pink lemonade, tart cranberry, and a hint of pepper; the palate is dry and elegant, with refreshing, bright acidity, flavors of strawberry seeds, musky ripe raspberries, and orange zests, flanking the complex saline and mineral core, stemming from Raventos' calcareous soils, rich with marine fossils. This is an incredibly versatile rose sparkling wine for apéritifs, snacks, richer seafood, and spicy fare. Ariana Rolich
Olivier Riviere, a Frenchman in Spain, makes clear and elegant Rioja wines from organic and biodynamically farmed fruit, Jequitiba is his white Rioja, composed of Viura, Malvasia, and Garnacha Blanca from 35-70 year old vines. Taut and silky, with Burgundian flare (Riviere studied biodynamics at Domaine Leroy before moving to Spain), subtle aromas of green apple blossom and cut green herbs, and flavors of tart, creamy citrus, tree fruit, and cool mint. I pine for a glass of this wine with a simple yet luxurious meal of Blue Moon's flounder a la meunière, prepared with butter, lemon, capers, and parsley. Ariana Rolich.
Protocolo Zero is RuBor's first "vin de coupage," or blended wine, named for the absence of protocol in approaching each vintage. "Solo sensaciones fugaces" - only fleeting sensations - determine the contents of the wine, which is 100% Albillo Real, the great white grape of the Gredos Mountains. Rubén and Orly explore a wide range of expressions between their two old-vine Albillo parcels - La Peguera and SADE - through strategic harvest dates, skin contact, and vinification style. Protocolo Zero allows them to marry the fresh, youthful, and bright wines with rich, spicy, and aromatic ones, in proportions of their choosing. Arriving just in time to become our new favorite winter white, this bottle explodes with exciting granitic texture and length, with flavors of Bosc pear, butterscotch, musky peach, minerals and a hint of fresh ginger. Pair with roasted poultry, seafood stew, chicken liver mousse, or pâtés and cheeses. Seriously delicious on its own as well! Ariana Rolich
RuBor's specialty is single vineyard wines from the Sierra de Gredos, where the idea of "vinos de parcela" takes on added importance because the same grape - old-vine Garnacha - reveals such complex and vivid layers of flavor among wines from individual parcels that the concept of terroir begins to feel too incomplete for explaining them. Mystery is alive! Protocolo Zero is Rubén and Orly's first wine from a blend of vineyards: an exuberant and supple Garnacha, exotic and aromatic, with heady scents of rose, raspberry, hibiscus, cinnamon, and resinous herbs wafting from the glass. Spicy raspberry and stewed strawberry fruit share the stage with honeyed wild flowers, deep mineral earth, and fine tannins that stick to the tongue. This wine continues to open for days, taking on rich chocolate-raspberry, blackberry liqueur, tobacco and earth with tart skins of black cherry and cranberry and crunchy berry seeds. The omnipresent Gredos acidity is an integral foil for this extravagantly delicious and affordable wine. Ariana Rolich
Orly Lumbreras of RuBor Viticultores described Groove as "un cañón" in its youth. With a little bit of time in bottle, it has mellowed into a veritable laser beam! This is singular Garnacha, utterly fabulous, from a single vineyard that inspired the partnership between Ruben Diaz and Orly Lumbreras in the first place. 50-year-old vines with southeast exposition on very fine granitic sandy soils at 900m altitude (the highest granitic vineyard in Cebreros, a village known for old-vine Garnacha on steep, schistous slopes). High-toned with intense, almost vertical acidity, taut black cherry, herbal black raspberry and purple berry fruit, chewy dark cherry skins, rhubarb, pink peppercorn, lots of violet, lavender, and rose florals, hints of thyme, and a taut, long, granitic mineral force. A wine to observe and celebrate over many years. Ariana Rolich
A fresh and pretty entree into the world of RuBor Viticultores, our good friends Ruben Diaz and Orly Lumbreras, this is 100% Chasselas from two small plots of 70+ year-old vines on decomposed granite soils in Cebreros, the heart of the Sierra de Gredos. With 3-4 days of skin contact, then raised entirely in stainless steel with occasional batonnage, this is a new experience of Chasselas. Bright and salty, fresh and expressive, with subtle stone fruit, white grapefruit pith, orange blossom, beeswax, and crunchy minerals, with a tickle of tannin from time on the skins. An irresistible choice for adventurous apéritifs and fresh seafood! Ariana Rolich
Lovers of white Rioja, Jurancon Sec, and Bordeaux Blanc will swoon over this unique (and uniquely delicious) white Priorat. Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr are the team behind the delicious and popular Venus La Universal wines from the Montsant. Both are Priorat natives and, as children of the great Jose Luis Perez of Mas Martinet and Rene Barbier of Clos Mogador, heirs to winemaking history. It was very exciting to taste a pair of Priorats from their "Sara i Rene" label that illuminate the influence of amphora aging on Garnatxa-based wines, a practice enjoying a resurgence in the region. Exotic, rich, and wild, the Partida Bellvisos Blanco is 90% Garnatxa Blanca and 10% Trepat Blanc (only 2 hectare of which are known to exist in Spain), fermented in locally-made, unlined amphora and raised partly in 15 year old 600L foudre before being moved back to amphora to complete its elevage. Full, sultry fragrances of elderflower, butterscotch, chlorine, jasmine and sweet golden fruit perfume the creamy, nutty, oxidative palate of orange, tamarind, almond oil, and tangy apricot peel; a voluptuous wine, perforated by tensile tannins. Ariana Rolich
It is hard to overstate how awesome Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. are at making rosé! We fell in love with their "clarete" for Venus La Universal, a blend of red and white grapes from the Montsant, co-fermented and aged in very old barrels. Now we have the pleasure of receiving their first rosé from the Priorat: Partida Pedrer Rosat. These are rosé wines to dine with and dream about, with ample depth and elegance to negate any concerns about 14% alcohol rosé. An unusual blend of Garnacha and Monastrell from a single vineyard, fermented for 6 months and aged in 10+ year-old barrels for 9 months. Aromas of watermelon, choke cherries, cinnamon, slate, and rose petals wash onto the palate of raspberry and dark, wild herbs, spicy rose, and soft, rosey cherry. Never has a big rose from a hot region tasted so long, mineral, and cooling. I would love this wine with a curried fish dish or hearty steamed clams with chorizo, chard, and pink peppercorns. Ariana Rolich
Suertes del Marqués' entry level white is a delicious introduction to the authentic, terroir-driven wines of the historic Valle de la Orotava, located on the slopes of Mt. Teide in the north of Tenerife. Trenzado (named after the local vine training system - el cordon trenzado, or braided cordon) is 95% Listan Blanco, with small amounts of Pedro Ximénez, Gual, Marmajuelo, and more, from five vineyards, made in a combination of concrete and oak vessels. Grapes from certain vineyards receive a week of skin contact, for a subtle and structured palate that combines fresh musky stone fruit with savory tropical notes and abundant saline and volcanic mineral character. Drink with seafood dressed with garlic and herbs. Ariana Rolich
One of the most exciting wines (and wineries) to emerge from the Canary Islands. Fermented with a good percentage of whole grape clusters in small concrete fermenters, and aged in a combination of concrete and 500 liter barrels. This is an alive wine, with elevated and pungently sweet aromatics of crushed raspberries, flowers, subtle peppery notes, and herbs, reminiscent of good Burgundy. The palate is juicy, pliantly, silky sweet with loads of minerals and focused sweet red fruits. A dynamite wine to pair with roasted fowl or pork. cb
60% Tempranillo and 40% Viura, from 65 year old vines grown in clay and gravel soil, this is, relatively speaking, the most easy going of Tentenublo’s single vineyard expressions. Aged in new Burgundy barrels, with the Tempranillo grapes destemmed, the wine is supple and fresh in feel with notes of tangy grapefruit, roses, red berries, chocolate and coffee. Positioned at 450 meters in altitude, the Las Guillermas vineyard is greatly influenced by the Mediterranean which promotes a softer, gentler microclimate, the effects of which are definitely apparent in the wine. Sydney Snyder
Dominik Huber of Terroir al Limit continues to defy expectations with bold, unique, yet relatively light wines from the sun-baked Priorat, famous for dense and powerful reds. Roc d'Aubaga is a whole cluster co-fermentation of Grenache Noir, Grenache Gris, and Grenache Blanc, with aromas of red currant, wild rose, and hibiscus, flowing onto the subtle yet exuberant palate of wild cherry and creamy berries, with watermelon pith, cherry pits, rose hips, tea leaf, chiseled minerality, fresh acid, and lots of length. Technically a clarete (blend of red and white grapes) Roc d'Aubaga is a beautiful all-season rose, shining with richer duck dishes as well as grilled shrimp and spring vegetables. Ariana Rolich
Balance, purity, and affordability combine in Vega de Tera's organically farmed Verdejo, the great white grape of Spain's Rueda region. Heady aromas of yellow flowers, stone fruit, white pepper, and green herbs, followed by refreshing flavors of crisp apricot, orange oil, lemonade, florals, and a hint of salt. There is earthy, mineral depth and definition in Vega de Tera that is rarely found in Verdejo under $15 (it's also fermented with native yeasts - another rarity for Verdejo in this price range!). I'd love to serve this wine with seared mackerel, garnished with vegetable sprouts and lemon, served over jade rice with Verdejo pan sauce. Ariana Rolich
Priorat natives Sara Perez and Rene Barbier Jr. balance freshness with great complexity in all of their wines for Venus La Universal, which are made from Montsant fruit. Upon first sip of the inaugural vintage of "La Solucio" rose, we were hooked! Now the 2015 vintage has arrived, a blend of red and white grapes -- Garnacha, Carignan, and Syrah, plus Macabeu, Garnacha Blanca, and Garnacha Gris -- pressed all together, co-fermented, and aged for approximately 10 months in very old barrels before bottling. Pale, twinkling, rosy coppery peach in the glass, with orange peel, cherry, and watermelon; textured with tender tannins and lots of length, supporting sultry apricot, wild berries, bitter citrus, creamy florals, and lingering, salty, mineral and earth tone. It will only get better with some age, so don't be afraid to stock up. Ariana Rolich
Zorzal takes the Graciano grape to new heights with this inexpensive but outrageously delicious and well-made red from 35-year-old, organically farmed vines in Spain's Navarra region (Rioja's overlooked neighbor). This is a generous, crowd-pleasing, and thirst-quenching red on the fuller side of medium-bodied. It is pretty and perfumed, with flavors of juicy purple plum, ripe red raspberry, and dark cherry, violet flowers, soft funky earth, spearmint leaf, cinnamon spice, smooth tannins, rich texture, and just enough acidity. Unfined, unfiltered, and fermented with native yeasts. Ariana Rolich
Viña Zorzal offers some seriously delicious wines from old vines for very little money (as fans of their delightful red Graciano can attest). This one honors the traditional wine of the Navarra region - rosado of Garnacha. The 2016 is lighter and fresher than ever, while retaining traditional deep hue and Garnacha spice! Fragrant red currant, raspberry, and pink peppercorn aromas lead to crunchy cranberry and strawberry fruit flavors, with zesty pink grapefruit and tropical and herbal undertones on the finish. The label features a popcorn kernel pattern because Xabi Sanz of Zorzal recommends it as an accompaniment to popcorn and a movie. We look forward to giving that pairing a try! Ariana Rolich