Chambers Street Wines (Credit: Joe Benavides)
Every other week, as regular readers know, Terroirist poses 15 questions to a wine shop owner. This week, we’re featuring Jamie Wolff, one of the partners behind Chambers Street Wines in New York City.
I paid Jamie a visit at the shop while passing through lower Manhattan last week. The store is impressive, particularly given Manhattan’s space limitations. High ceilings, a few tall racks of wine forming aisles, and racks along all the walls. The scene was bustling with customers but by no means mobbed. Definitely a pleasant place to browse.
And there’s quite a bit to look at! Chambers St. has one of the most impressive collections of old, rare, and expensive wine out on the floor that I’ve ever seen. As I spoke with Jamie in one of the aisles near the middle of the store, several bottles of Italian wine from the 1960s eavesdropped on our conversation.
Jamie tells me that he’s been devoting most of his palate lately to old Italian wines — Barolos and Barbarescos especially. Chambers Street has recently sourced a good deal of old Italian wine directly from The Boot, so they’re raving about the 20- 30-, 40-, and even 50-year old Italians in stock. Jamie feels that Nebbiolos from 1978, 1982, 1985, and 1989 are peaking right now.
As you might expect, his attention to detail when it comes to tasting is tremendous. He didn’t feel that he tasted things as clearly in the late afternoon as he would say, after getting a second wind later in the evening. Air pressure today — or air pressure 40 years ago at the bottling — could have a huge impact on how we experience the wine.
Rarely have I taken the barometer into account when cracking open a bottle, but he’s got a point. And those variations are part of what makes tasting wines — particularly old ones that may have changed so much in the bottle over the years — fun.
The rest of our interview with Jamie is below the fold. Read the rest of this entry »