Thursday, April 18, 2013

making the pilgrimage to Chambers Street Wines

As part of my day off in New York, I visited the temple of wine retail that is Chambers Street Wine in Lower Manhattan. I'm a bit upset that I didn't get to visit the Met - it'd be criminal if I didn't get to do a bit of wine shopping. So, after a nice, leisurely lunch, we made our way down in search of some old (and odd) bottles to bring back home.

As luck would have it, Dominik Sona of Koehler-Ruprecht from the Pfalz was pouring a range of his wines. We started with his 2010 Pinot Blanc Kabinett Trocken, with lovely lifted fruit and floral aromas. His 2010 Kallstadter Riesling Kabinett Trocken had pure fruit, on a good tensile palate. The 2010 Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Kabinett Trocken showed a bit more density, a very elegant style of trocken. And then the granddaddy of them all - the 2008 Kallstadter Saumagen Riesling Sp├Ątlese Trocken 'R', a Reserve bottling that utilizes the smallest berries, is aged for at least 4 years before release, and is only produced in agreeable vintages. Impressive weight and precision here, lovely elegance, but certainly a feeling that it's just sleeping now, not ready to open up before 10 years of age - at $82.99 a bottle, one would hope that buyers have great patience to see it unfold to its full potential. And finally, the only wine in the lineup with residual sugar, the 2010 Kallstadter Steinacker Riesling Kabinett, shimmering with tropical fruits on a linear palate. Lovely wines, understated yet showing the charm and elegance of the Pfalz.

The shop is a tiny space, but packed with all sorts of interesting selections. I spent the most time checking out the Barolos - had my hands on a 1967 Burlotto, but ended up going with (on a recommendation) a 1995 Oddero. Picked up a Puffeney Poulsard, as well as a half bottle of 1988 Lamothe-Guignard. The staff were engaged, and fun to talk to. I hate to bash on our folks here, but LCBO Vintages could gain a lot from a visit to these kinds of wine shops. Lots to see, lots to learn here - like the proverbial kid in a candy store (although being a Canadian, it'd be the Bulk Barn).

It was a good day.


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