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AmByth's wines are about translating their holistic ecosystem of an estate, into their bottles of wine. The philosophy at AmByth is that if the whole of the vineyard is taken care of, without the use of anything synthetic, and nothing is added to or taken away from the juice of the grapes, the wines will honestly showcase their terroir. The vineyards are certified biodynamic, dry-farmed, and the vines are head-trained, producing small yields with concentrated fruit. This Grenache has a beautiful earthiness on the nose, with ripe cherry and plum, and just the beginning of secondary development. The tannins are soft and powdery giving it a nice balance with the plump, red fruits. This would be an excellent pairing for roasted pork, or some kind of fruit compote. Michelle DeWyngaert
This wine comes from the Luchsinger Vineyard in the Clear Lake AVA in Lake County. Though considerably less well-known, Lake County is the fourth of the counties that make up the North Coast wine country. It is located to the east of Mendocino and Sonoma and directly north of Napa. The main feature of this area is Clear Lake, the largest natural lake wholly located within California, and the oldest freshwater lake in the nation. The lake, at 1,300 feet, is at quite a high altitude, making for cold nights. A blend of 80% Touriga Nacional and 20% Tinta Cão, a less famous grape from the Douro. Whole-cluster, foot-trod, and kept on the skins for 24 hours, this is a beautiful, bright, classic rosé with finely-grained tannins and a nice spicy bite disguising a nice earthy chassis beneath. Andrew Farquhar
A classic Cabernet Sauvignon for lovers of Napa wines! Blended from vineyards throughout the Napa Valley appellation for balance, this vintage is comprised of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot. The nose is deep and intense with stewed blackberry, plum, and eucalyptus and French vanilla and cinnamon from their use of 50% new French oak. The palate is rich and voluptuous, with those stewed black fruits, and the freshness of raspberry and red plum. An excellent pairing for the classic American steak dinner! Michelle DeWyngaert
The Bedrock Heritage Bedrock Vineyard is from a Zinfandel based blend composed of 22 inter-planted varieties planted in the 1880s in Red Hill clay-loam soils, no-till cover crop farming, native yeast fermentation. Zinfandel really shines from these old, gnarled vines. The concentration of flavor that you get from the very low yields adds richness to the wines without having to pick them late and overripe. The nose shows a mix of violet, minty eucalyptus, and ripe, but not syrupy, purple plum. The palate shows additional complexity with a touch of cocoa powder, black tea, and black cherry. Rich and comforting, this will be excellent in the colder months! Michelle DeWyngaert
55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.
An extremely rare thing to find is 50+ year-old, consistently dry-farmed California Cabernet Sauvignon. So when I heard about this very low yielding Monticello Vineyard, my ears perked up. Grown on the west-facing hillsides of Moon Mountain. The winemaker for Beta has been working tirelessly on his own estate vineyards on Diamond Mountain since 2008, and while the vines are not yet mature enough for a full release, he works with his mentor at the Monticello Vineyard on this bottling. Though I have not had the pleasure of trying this wine as it is very highly allocated, it has been described by Antoni Galloni as having "Savory, mineral and ferrous notes abound in a deceptively mid-weight yet explosive Cabernet Sauvignon." Michelle DeWyngaert
A native of Oregon, but thoroughly inspired by Burgundy, winemaker Doug Tunnell has been farming his 40 acre estate vineyard strictly organically for the last 25 years, and more recently certified Biodynamic. This bottling is a selection of barrels from various plots throughout his vineyard to get a true representation of the vintage each year. This years "Select" Pinot Noir has a beautiful nose of fresh roses, stems and all, red currant, raspberry, and juicy pomegranate. Indeed this is very Burgundian in style with just a bit more focus on the fruit. The wine is fresh and lively; for me it conjures a crisp, fall, afternoon. Michelle DeWyngaert
Floral and a bit spicy on the nose, this wine is a very light copper color, which belies its surprising acidity and tannin. While in no way a tannic wine, it has more to it than first meets the eye. Fig, red flowers, and a savory hint of black olive on the palate wind into a tight finish of dried citrus peel configured around an anise core. Carbonic maceration and six months aging before release, this wine is a fantastic look into the archetypal Spanish wine style that was brought throughout the Americas long ago and began winemaking in the Western Hemisphere. Serve slightly chilled with lighter savory soups, pork and chive dumplings, or gazpacho. Drew Farquhar
This wine is from the Green Valley of Solano County, located just over the Vaca mountains from Napa. This wine comes from two vineyards, the Frei Vineyard and the Wirth Ranch Vineyard, both of which are dry-farmed and have average vine ages over 65 years. This style of wine was formerly known as Napa Gamay, and for good reason; the taste is reminiscent of Beaujolais with medium tannin and great energy, though more purple in color and with darker fruit. Vineyards are dry-farmed and have an average vine age of sixty years. Partial carbonic maceration gives the wine a light and lifted character. Pair with pork chops, veal, branzino, or carnitas tacos. Andrew Farquhar
From the folks who run Hobo Wine Co., here we have the delicious new vintage of one of our favorite inexpensive Cabernets from California! Tart blackberry and ripe cassis mix with herbal hints and wildflower on the nose while broadly gracing the firm, rich, powerfully tannic palate. Sourced from many lesser known but sustainably or organically farmed vineyards throughout Sonoma county. Aged for nine months in neutral oak barrels.
Cooper Mountain Vineyards started in 1978 when Dr. Robert Gross and his wife, Corrine, planted the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the unique soils of Cooper Mountain in the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon's Willamette Valley. Today, the estate has more than 100 acres dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking. This Pinot Noir is refreshing and ripe, with brambly raspberry and cherry fruit, baking spice, and earthy flavors.
This vintage of Division's Pinot Noir "Un" is quintessential Oregon Pinot Noir; that beautiful balance of riper, concentrated fruit and an earthy, savory quality imparted from the terroir of Willamette. All seven of the vineyards that Division works with are blended for this cuvée and then fermented in open top barrels. About 25% of the blend is whole cluster which allows for some of the grapes to go through carbonic maceration. The wine is then aged mostly in neutral French and Austrian oak, with 15% new wood and then the final aging is done in cement for a softer, more nuanced texture. The nose is ripe, almost stewed red cherry, raspberry, and damp earth. The palate is a balance of richness and freshness, soft tannins and a savory finish. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is a beautiful granitic Syrah from the Barsotti Ranch Vineyard. Classic Syrah aromas: smoke, cracked pepper, black and red fruit, and at the center, that same iron noticeable in the taste of the grapes. Youthful, quite fresh, with a brisk high note, faintly suggestive of roses. Energetically very tense in the mouth, slightly bloody (that iron!) and ever so vaguely feral. The first time I tasted this blind I called it for being a dense Cabernet Franc from the Loire, which surprised me. It is big and beautiful and absolutely built for cellar-aging. 208 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
This is a great example of Steve Edmunds no-fuss style of wine-making. Planted in 2005, these Gamay vines are producing bright, fresh wines that speak to the rocky, granite soils, similar to Beaujolais, in which they're grown. The high elevation of the vineyards keeps the grapes in balance despite the warm climate of El Dorado. It shows fresh and stewed cherry on the nose, with a bit of anise, and ripe cherry and red plum on the palate with a mineral finish. Drink this slightly chilled, and enjoy with friends as it'll be a nice pairing for a wide range of proteins. Michelle DeWyngaert
This 100% Gamay rosé comes from the Witters Vineyard of volcanic, clay soil and the Barsotti Ranch Vineyard composed of mostly granite soils. 2018 was a warmer vintage for El Dorado than the previous year, but the Gamay maintained a great balance of freshness and ripeness. I am a firm believer that rosé should be enjoyed year-round, and the Edmunds Bone-Jolly has a rich savory quality to it that makes it a perfect food-pairing for any season. The granite soils show through on the nose with a hint of that dark rocky minerality, mixed with ripe strawberry and watermelon juice. The palate has a nice weight to it and a salty finish. I will happily drink this alongside paella in the summer and butternut squash in the winter. Michelle DeWyngaert
Andrew Scott of Eminence Road prefers to let nature take its course while making his wines, and for this vintage, that meant waiting many months for his Elizabeth's Vineyard Cabernet Franc to finish fermenting. Because of that, this year's "Hector" is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc and 50% Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes are foot-stomped, fermented whole cluster, and aged for a year in neutral French Oak. I love the balance between juicy black currant and raspberry and the savory, roasted pepper quality that you get from the Cabernets. The palate is concentrated but not heavy with firm tannins that soften the longer it has to breath. I look forward to trying this bottling again after a few years in the cellar! Michelle DeWyngaert
Who knew you could grow beautiful Teroldego on Long Island? Erik Longabardi, winemaker for Floral Terranes, is on a mission to enlighten the world about the rich, agricultural history of Long Island in the hopes of preserving the land. This year's Teroldego, sourced from the Southold Farms, does an excellent job of spreading the message. The grapes are fermented with 20% whole cluster in neutral oak barrels, with just a small amount of SO2. The nose has very pretty, violet petal, purple plum and potting soil, and the palate has a dense concentration with good acidity, and just enough structure to keep it balanced. A great pick for fall and winter! Michelle DeWyngaert
I can't say that I've had much Syrah from Willamette, and indeed the Havlin Vineyard is relatively young (planted in 2009), but I'm already intrigued to find more. The vineyard is 100% dry-farmed and LIVE sustainable certified. The soil here is silt loam over ironstone bedrock, which not only helps keep the yields low on these younger vines, but also imparts a distinct mineral backbone to this wine. 20% whole cluster in the fermentation, aged for 18 months in neutral French oak, and then bottled with just a bit of SO2 in accordance with Mike Hinds' minimalist philosophy. The nose is rich with a touch of dark, bitter chocolate, and the palate presents a really beautiful, concentrated texture with black pepper and dried herbs. Perfectly savory, this wine is calling to be paired with something roasted. Michelle DeWyngaert
I have been thoroughly enjoying this chillable red co-fermentation from Franchere! After meeting with Mike Hinds, the winemaker, I was very excited to promote his wines. He is a firm believer that less is more when it comes to making quality, terroir-driven wines, and has a zero-tolerance policy for irrigation in the vineyards he farms or buys from. This wine comes from a blend of vineyards, many farmed organically, and the wines are made without additives other than a touch of sulfur. This blend is 88% Pinot Noir, 8% Grüner Veltliner, 3% Gamay, and 1% Syrah from the Hanson vineyard in Willamette. The grapes are foot-stomped with 50% whole clusters. The nose is a nice balance between bright red cherry and blood orange, and dried earth with a touch of violet. If you're looking for a light, refreshing red with a bit more structure, this is an excellent option. Michelle DeWyngaert
This Cabernet is sourced from a single block of the Bates Ranch Vineyard located above 1000 feet on the eastern flank of Mt. Madonna at the very southern extremity of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. Farmed exclusively by winemaker Kenny Likitprakong, this dry-farmed block was planted in 1973 by local wine legends Val and Dexter Ahlgren. As with much of the Cabernet from this region, the emphasis is on structural tension. Not quite as histrionically robust or extracted as Cabernet from other parts of California, this wine has some muted cassis scarved in layers of dusty tannin and spice. This is a style of Cabernet that would have been much easier to find in these hills back in the 1970s. 207 cases produced, with shorter extraction time, 10% whole cluster fermentation, and 25% new oak. Andrew Farquhar
This cuvée is meant to be an overview of what the Santa Cruz Mountains have to offer, and is sourced from three different vineyards: 40% Upper Block Amaya Ridge, 35% Aptos Creek, and 25% Smith Road. While the blend varies a little vintage to vintage, the wine shows consistency in its expression of classic Santa Cruz restraint. Fine cranberry fruit with a hint of some baking and savory spices, this Pinot is finely structured, with delicate tannins and a fine acid backbone. Open and inviting now, this wine will also benefit from a few years of cellaring. Excellent with roast chicken, lobster rolls, or miso-broth ramen, this will work just as well without food, as it is aromatic and mesmerizing as a standalone experience. 600 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
This is a fun, super drinkable, glou glou wine from Contra Costa County in CA. Laura Bissell's intention with her Lalalu line is to be delicious, quaffable, and not overly complicated, and this Cabernet Franc is exactly that. Fresh, lively notes of juicy cranberry and fresh raspberry, with a touch of herbaceousness and fresh earth on the nose. The tannin is minimal, but enough to keep the wine in balance. The grapes are farmed organically and spontaneously fermented, then aged in neutral barrels. I love this wine slightly chilled with charcuterie, but can also see this being the perfect pairing for burgers (veggie or meat-based). Michelle DeWyngaert
So thrilled to finally experience Jess Miller's 'Pet Sounds' a Pet-Nat of 100% Pinot Noir! Jess Miller is an incredibly hard-working winemaker/farmer working with just a half-acre of organically farmed vines in Eola-Amity Hills, OR. I love this sparkling wine because it so purely shows the quality of her Pinot Noir unencumbered by oak, or lees-stirring, or any number of flashy wine-making techniques. The nose shows juicy, ripe strawberry, red apple-skins, and a touch of damp earth and something savory. The palate is clean, plush, and not overly effervescent; a more sophisticated Pet-Nat if ever there was one. Michelle DeWyngaert
Primal is the perfect descriptor for this savory wine. Made from 100% Tempranillo from the organically farmed Forlorn Hope Vineyard in Calaveras County, then fermented whole cluster and aged in puncheon. Hank and Caroline's "do nothing" philosophy translates into their wine as the flavors are unencumbered, raw, and full of flavor. The nose on this wine shows dried and fresh cherries, violets, and cured meats. The palate is juicy and textured owing to the schist and limestone soils of the vineyard. A perfect wine to pair with stews or game meats as the name of the wine suggests! Michelle DeWyngaert
One of the first wines I ever loved was old-vine California Zinfandel, so I was very excited to taste this expression from Maître de Chai. The Stampede Vineyard was planted in the early 1940s with own-rooted Zinfandel on decomposed granite. Inspired by the wines of the famous Ridge Vineyards, this bottling is a field blend of mainly Zinfandel, with a bit of Mission and Carignan. The fermentation is done with 50% whole cluster bunches in open-top neutral oak and then aged for one year. The wine is a classic Zinfandel mix of fresh, ripe, and also dried red plum and raspberry. The tannins are present and driving, but not aggressive, well balanced by its fresh acidity, and a peppery finish. This wine will be excellent with flavorful game meats, and I look forward to trying it again in several years to see how it has progressed. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is the ultimate bistro wine! Pour yourself a glass, close your eyes, and you're suddenly in a little French, or perhaps based on this blend, Italian bistro. This years "Tendu" is 47% Aglianco, 42% Montepulciano, and 11% Barbera from the Windmill Vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills AVA. Fermented in stainless steel, aged in neutral barrels, and then bottled with no additives and no sulfur, just pure, juicy goodness. Super pretty on the nose with violets, dried and fresh raspberry and purple plum. On the palate is a just the right balance of acidity, structure, and concentration with a dark, rocky finish. This is will be an excellent pairing for a wide range of savory fare from burgers, to stews, to roasted veggies! Michelle DeWyngaert
Pearl Morissette wines are proof that if you can grow it organically (and deliciously) in Niagara, you can do it anywhere. Typically the Metis Rouge is all Cabernet Franc, but this vintage Francois Morissette decided to add in a bit of Gamay and Pinot Noir, all fermented whole cluster, vinified separately, and then blended together. The nose leads with earth and garrigue, and follows with juicy raspberry and currants. The palate is structured and concentrated without being heavy, and just enough vegetal undertone to let you know it's Cabernet Franc dominant, but not enough to take away from how approachable this wine is. I'll be drinking this with grilled vegetables or salmon filet. Michelle DeWyngaert
Richard Luftig, one of New York's best sommeliers, has made a Cabernet known for phenomenal quality and price: Pied a Terre Cabernet! Always one of our best-selling American reds, 2015 is a deep, ripe, and focused vintage for Pied a Terre. This is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon that has classic California character but more structure and reserve than a lot of riper wine. The tannic structure is tightly woven, with fine acid backbone and lush cassis, blackberry, and slightly redder berry fruit. This is a California Cabernet meant to be consumed with food, and will pear excellently with New York strip steak, pork loin, or coq au vin. Andrew Farquhar
This bright, ripe, juicy old-vine Carignane is sourced from biodynamically farmed grapes from Mendocino County. Rich, rustic, and juicy, this is a perfect barbecue wine, as it has the tannins to compete with chargrilled meats but clocking in at only 13.3% alcohol. Quite plush, this wine has the extraordinary fruit concntration unique to old-vine Carignane. Carignane is traditionally considered to be a lighter grape, but in fact, at about fifty years of age it begins to concentrate rapidly, and these super-old vines create wines of stunning depth. This quixotic wine works just as well with a slight chill in the sun as with hearty beef stews. Enjoy! Andrew Farquhar
80% old vine Carignan from the Trimble vineyard in Mendocino and 20% Zinfandel from Porter Creek's own vineyards, this dry rose is one of my favorites of the summer. Crackling with acidity, bright fruit and a lovely seam of minerality on the nose, this wine is complex and hefty enough to pair with grilled meats and barbecue, while also having the snappy mouthwatering agility to be drunk as an aperitif. Winemaker Alex Porter always creates balanced wines, and this is no exception. All the fruit is dry-farmed, whole cluster pressed, and aged in neutral oak before bottling. Andrew Farquhar
This is a great, aromatic example of Gamay from the Willamette Valley. Jess and Tom, the wine-making duo of Pray Tell source the fruit for this bottling from two Oregon vineyard sites, Tualatin and Havlin vineyards, both dry-farmed and certified sustainable, with an eye towards using only certified organic and/or biodynamic fruit for all future vintages. I love the bright, floral and raspberry notes on the nose that mingle with aromas of stems and leaves derived from half of the grapes being left whole-cluster. On the palate this wine is light and fresh, leaving a nice warmth in your chest on the finish. Enjoy this with roasted dishes, or as I did with a creamy, chicken chili, the white peppery quality in the wine complimented it nicely. Michelle DeWyngaert
One of the best bottlings by Stolpman vineyards each year is the La Cuadrilla. Stolpman Vineyards has created a unique opportunity for their vineyard team by awarding them full control over "La Cuadra" a 2 acre block, to be managed and harvested according to the measures they see fit. These grapes are then blended with other Stolpman blocks, and the proceeds for this bottling go back to the members of La Cuadrilla. This year's blend is a55% Syrah, with 27% Sangiovese and 18% Grenache vinified mostly in concrete, some in stainless steel, and then aged in neutral oak barrels. The wine is rich and juicy with a nice color concentration from the Syrah. The nose is ripe, almost stewed red fruits, with soft, pleasant tannins and minty, eucalyptus finish. Incredibly balanced and drinkable, cheers to La Cuadrilla on another great vintage! Michelle DeWyngaert
As the name would suggest, this is meant to be the ultimate pizza pairing, and I can now confirm that this is true. 100% Sangiovese from Columbia Valley, WA, this wine is fresh, juicy, and full of savory tomato-y goodness with notes of oregano and other dried herbs. Nice with a chill or at room temperature, try this with your next indulgent pizza delivery. Michelle DeWyngaert
This organically farmed Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stag's Leap District in Napa bridges the gap between an old school, restrained style of claret, with a more modern take devoted to ripeness and richness. Named for the white, volcanic ash soil that the vines are grown in, this is a wine that definitely tells the story of its terroir. There is a distinct powdery, white ash sensation that you get from the well-integrated tannins in the wine. On the nose are notes of plump blackberry, plum, and ripe blueberry, mingled with dried savory herbs, and the palate starts out with a bit of preserved, baked fruit, but the minerality gives it a savory finish. Nicely balanced with just the right touch of oak, this is a beautiful wine to drink right away, but definitely has the structure to develop over the next 10-15 years. Michelle DeWyngaert
A really lovely bottling of California sunshine, this Chardonnay from Bacchus is fruit-forward, buttery and easy drinking. Enjoy with roast chicken or creamy pasta dishes. Bacchus is a project from winemaker and wine director David Gordon who set out to create high quality wines at a great value that showcased the best of California vineyards. I'm not saying you should sneak this into a movie theatre to make the perfect pairing for popcorn, but I'm also not *not* saying that..Michelle DeWyngaert
This is a Gewurztraminer that might just change a few hearts and minds about the grape. In the wrong hands, Gewurztraminer can become cloying and overpowering with the scent of Grandma's potpourri, but this wine from Kenny Likitprakong shows some serious restraint. Sourced entirely from the Rancho Llegado vineyard in Monterey County, the frequent cool winds of the area maintain the much needed acidity to balance this wine. Banyan was designed by Kenny and his father with their Thai heritage in mind, and as such this Gewurztraminer is the perfect pairing for South-east Asian cuisine or anything with a bit of spice to it. Though it is fermented dry, it maintains a softness with notes of ripe nectarine, a touch of tropical fruit, sage, and bright, fresh gardenia blossoms. Michelle DeWyngaert
Brian and Stephy Terrizzi's Broadside project focuses on sustainably farmed vineyards and minimalist winemaking (native yeasts, minimal handling, neutral oak), as well as purity of flavor and varietal expression.Their Central Coast Chardonnay is a quintessential example of their wine growing and winemaking philosophy; a bright and creamy Chardonnay with ripe lemon and peach flavors and a saline minerality.
The "Inonde" Chenin Blanc from Division is not the Washington Chenin you're imagining. These own-rooted vines have had nearly 50 years to creep through lime-silica topsoil into basalt bedrock on the Willard Farm of Yakima valley. The grapes are picked over multiple passes for a blend of freshness and flavor concentration, then pressed into a mix of steel and older barrels and fermented to dryness. The nose shows ripe tangerine, yellow flower, and marzipan and the palate is luscious yet balanced with beautiful acidity for a clean, lifted finish. Michelle DeWyngaert
In addition to perfectly elegant, age-worthy reds, Steve Edmunds produces one of California's lightest, purest white wines from Vermentino and Grenache Blanc. Heart of Gold exudes fresh white florals, mineral water, and tingly orchard fruit aromas; flavors are bright and defined, graceful and deeply mineral, with gentle rays of citrus pith and crisp pear, golden apple, and yellow peach. Acidity is abundant and well-integated. AR
If you are looking for a beautiful example of what a little extra skin-contact can do for a white wine like Pinot Gris, without getting too funky, look no further. This is a new experiment for Eminence Road, but the results are already very promising. The Pinot Gris is hand-harvested from the Cayuga Lake Vineyard, foot-stomped, and left to macerate for 10 days. The nose is a bouquet of white flowers spritzed with orange zest, and the palate has good structure with soft, but present tannins, and savory, salty finish. This is an excellent with creamy cheeses, and is perfectly pleasant on it's own. Serve chilled, but not ice cold. Michelle DeWyngaert
The Ghostwriter label was created when Kenny Likitprakong took over the farming at the Woodruff Vineyard and Aptos Creek, and the project names implies that these are wines that will speak for themselves, without the ego of the "author" getting in the way. This is balanced, finessed version of Santa Cruz Chardonnay. The 2017 vintage of Ghostwriter came mostly from the Woodruff Vineyard, a dry-farmed hillside planted in 1978. At under 13% ABV, Kenny has captured the California sunshine without being overwrought by it. The nose has a pleasant herbal quality, like fresh sage, mixed with lemon cream, yellow apple, and a hint of smoke. The neutral oak barrel aging adds richness and texture without the typical baking spice notes. Try this with white fish in a lemon butter sauce, chicken dishes, or lighter cheeses! Michelle DeWyngaert
Sterling Whitted proves again that he is a winemaker to watch with this sublime 2016 Vermentino from Applegate Valley, Oregon. Whitted sources grapes from 40-year-old vines planted in red volcanic soils at 1,600ft above sea level in the historical Layne Vineyard in southern Oregon. After the fruit is pressed it spends 18 months on its lees with no battonage and only minimal sulfur at bottling. The front label looks like a scene from a Bruce Brown documentary; which at first feels like slapping a Roxy decal on a Porsche, until the second sip floods the mind with images of athletic surfers gliding on Perfect Waves. The 2016 offers vivid coastal aromas of surf and salty seashells mixed with mountain herbs and anise. The palate is creamy from the extended time on the lees and shows ripe tropical fruit that surges over a long, stony finish. This bottle will pair beautifully with a number of delicious seafood dishes, recently it awed with a boiled lobster salad with fresh tomatoes and onions. Amanda Bowman
I am not often impressed by Pinot Blanc as it is relatively neutral and typically blended with Auxerrois or other innocuous grapes, but when it's done right, for me, it's all about the texture. This 100% Pinot Blanc from Kelley Fox showcases her incredible attention to detail and desire for balance, bringing forth a rich, silky texture in the wine. The nose is delicate with fresh white flowers, lemon zest and a bit of underripe peach, and the palate has a bit more ripeness to it while still showing plenty of acidity and a lingering mineral undertone. Whole-cluster fermented in neutral oak with a complete malolactic fermentation adding to its rounded edges. The grapes are all from Freedom Hill Vineyard, which was planted in 1982 on marine sediment, which really shines on a neutral variety like Pinot Blanc. I will happily sit and contemplate this wine on its own, but it would be a lovely companion to anything you might enjoy an understated chardonnay with. Michelle DeWyngaert
This beautiful California Viognier is more reminiscent of its Rhone iteration than many other examples I've had from the sunshine state. Blended from two vineyards, Cedarville on decomposed granite, and the famed Sumu Kaw vineyard on volcanic soils. They don't usually make a varietal Viognier at La Clarine Farms, but the 2018 vintage was so good it spoke for itself. Everything you want from this grape on the nose, a field of fresh white and yellow flowers, soft herbs, and a perfectly balanced acidity on the palate with a waxy, but not oily texture. Michelle DeWyngaert
California Sauvignon Blanc has a reputation for being either overly ripe or overly oaked, but in the hands of the Maître de Chai winemakers and with 50-year-old vines, it can show remarkable restraint and complexity. The Herron Vineyard in Sonoma Valley was planted in 1969 by an enthusiastic teenager from Oaxaca, Rudy Rodriguez, and has been farmed organically ever since by Rudy's family and Phyllis and Wynne Herron, the current owners. The soils are never tilled and only occasionally mowed to maintain the health of the soil and intricate micro-biome of the vineyard. Today the vines are super low-yielding creating concentrated, flavorful Sauvignon Blanc. The nose displays a mix of wet stone, nectarine, lime, and a touch of lemongrass. On the palate, the wine shows ripe pear and pink grapefruit with plenty of acidity, but with softened, rounded edges owing to the neutral barrel fermentation and élevage. Michelle DeWyngaert
This is a 100% Chardonnay sourced from two different parcels of younger vines, one planted in sandy, stony soils, the other in red clay rich with iron. Spontaneous fermentation and aging in a combination of neutral barriques and demi-muid. This is an expressive cold-weather Chardonnay, which walks the line between tartness and richness. Subtle notes of creamy sweet spices with a dash of mint play with a touch of lemon and unripe pear on the nose, while the palate is broad and textured, though with a fine vein of acidity. On the palate, the minerality comes to the fore, making this a fantastic food wine. 390 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
Francois Morissette is one of the most creative and uncompromising producers making wine in Canada. His Irrévérence Blanc is a new cuvée exploring skin contact aromatic white grapes. 64% Riesling, 22% Chardonnay, and 14% Gewurztraminer, each of these grapes was fermented separately and using very different methods. The Riesling was fermented in stainless steel, the Chardonnay was fermented in concrete and spent 6 months in foudre, and the Gewurztraminer was fermented on the skins in qvevri for six months. After blending, another three months were spent in foudre before the wine was bottled unfined and unfiltered. The Gewurztraminer marks its territory with light, delicate tannins and a distinct but not overbearing floral aroma, and the Riesling gives fantastic citric energy and tension. The Chardonnay insinuates itself more subtly, lending a certain breadth of texture, a structural elegance, and ephemeral wisps of orchard fruits to the long finish. This is a perfect aperitif wine that is taking the wine bars of Toronto by storm. Andrew Farquhar
Sourced from estate fruit and organically farmed vineyards in the Green Valley sub-AVA of Russian River. Elegantly textured, with stylish apple and pear fruit mixing with a hint of salinity and crushed oyster shells, this is a perfect companion for heavier seafood dishes, particularly anything involving lobster. Whole cluster pressed and aged for 11 months in 25% new French barrique. What impresses me most about this Chardonnay is its reserve. Medium-bodied, the oak shows itself more in its textural integration than on the palate. 450 cases produced.
Precedent is the label of Nathan Kandler, longtime winegrower at Thomas Fogarty in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a renowned destination for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Precedent illustrates Kandler's versatility and curiosity and has introduced us to some truly unique California vineyard sites. Wirz Vineyard is home to 60+ year-old dry farmed, head-trained Riesling on decomposed granite over limestone in the Gabilan mountains. We usually have an off-dry Riesling on the table, but I'm happy to go in a drier direction in this case...concentrated, gleaming apricot, citrus rind, and tropical fruit is laced with gritty, long minerality and backed by supple texture and acidic tension. Terrific with herbed root vegetables and citrus glazed poultry or fish and anything peppery or spicy. Ariana Rolich
Revik Wine Co. is the passion project of two married couples who released their first vintage this past summer. This is a fantastic Sauvignon Blanc that positions itself at the forefront of a new wave of dynamic, elegantly structured, complex Sauvignon Blancs coming from the West Coast. Made with fruit sourced from the Saphi Vineyard in Coombsville (Revik winemaker Phil Holbrook's dry-farmed home vineyard), this wine was aged in both stainless steel and neutral oak, with 8 months on the lees. Unfined and unfiltered, and fermented with native yeast, this wine has great depth and a long linear texture, with subtle, muted citrus fruit wrapped in a chrysalis of finely spun woolen notes. Peach fuzz and melon rind absorb into zippy acidity. The subtle degrees of shading are spectacular and the finish feels like forever. Andrew Farquhar
Sourced from the oldest Riesling vines along the banks of Seneca Lake, planted in 1972 on the warmer eastern bank of the lake. Seneca is the deepest of the Finger Lakes, which allows it to moderate the temperature along its banks more than the other lakes. Cayuga, to its west, while having a larger surface area, is much shallower, and you can tell along its muggy banks during the summer. This is a beautiful textured Riesling with fine balance, great acidity, ripe citrus and apple fruit, and just a tiny hint of residual sugar. This is a steal for the price, and one of the best deals I've ever seen coming from New York State. While this will pair well with food, I think this is an ideal summer aperitif. Organic practice in the vineyard, awaiting certification, and low sulfur in the winery. Andrew Farquhar
Stolpman's Roussanne vineyards have an amazing advantage that makes us believe Roussanne from Santa Barbara will become a well-known style in the future. As many know, Santa Barbara is one of the coolest regions in California, though it is also the southernmost. After the break in the Coastal Range that lets in all the cold air from the Pacific, the Transverse Ranges funnel the fog in towards Ballard Canyon and it dissipates earlier in the day and the maritime influence is mitigated, yet still the air is cold. Being at 34 degrees latitude south allows the skin of the grapes to tan in the long hours of the sun, giving them the rust color, or 'Rousse', for which they have been named. In July, the vineyard team pulls leaves away from the bunches, and they rotate the grapes 180 degrees to give an even tan. This extra sun does not lower acidity too much, due to the cold nights and limestone soils. These aspects come together to produce a wine of massive structure, with a broad, intense palate and high acidity, that nonetheless gives us beautiful citric character and lush white fruits. This is a white wine for pairing with heavier dishes like lobster, pork loin, or even a beef braise. Andrew Farquhar
This Chardonnay is sourced from the Coastview Vineyard, which must be one of the most extraordinary vineyards to see anywhere, at the top of a peak in the Gabilan Mountains, situated 2,400 feet above sea level, on a dirt track it took seven years to cut. From this height, the ocean is visible over the Santa Cruz Mountains to the west. Thin topsoil here overlays decomposed limestone and granite. Father-son vineyard managers John and Parker use a huge herd of sheep instead of machine mowers in this rugged terrain, and winemaker Alex Pomerantz uses this fruit to make an incredible Chardonnay that isn't quite like anything I've tasted. Whole cluster pressed before being put into neutral barrel to ferment and age for five months before being racked and put in tank for another five months. Lean and aromatically expressive, this is a very pure and pretty wine, not without richness, but more angular in structure, which should allow it to benefit from some time in the cellar. 12.5% alcohol by volume, and bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with no sulfur added. 294 cases produced. Andrew Farquhar
For Nathan Kandler, winemaker at Thomas Fogarty, Portola Springs is the most extreme of their Santa Cruz Chardonnay vineyards, with its very steep slopes and cool marine air influence. The Chardonnay grapes ripen very slowly and yields are frustratingly low. Portola Springs has a characteristic lemon drop and verbena with flavors of lemon oil, sea spray, and dried thyme. Pair with roasted cauilflower or chicken. Jonas Mendoza