Champagne Billecart-Salmon returns to Vermont!

Church Street Wine Cellars is pleased to announce the return of Champagne Billecart-Salmon after an eleven year hiatus in the Vermont market. One of the oldest and most prestigious, FAMILY-OWNED houses (the Billecarts have been living in Mareuil-sur-Ay since the 16th Century) which own an unprecedented 70% of their vineyards, where many “Grandes Marques” control often less than 20% and are forced to buy on the open market. At Church Street Wine Cellars, we always say, friends don’t let friends drink Grandes Marques Champagne, especially when so many other higher quality alternatives exist for the same prices.

Before Billecart disappeared from the market, they were best known for their delicate and complex roses, undoubtedly some of the most sought after pink Champagnes in the country, gracing only the finest wine shops and the best chef’s tables. The wines are bone dry and mineral infused, and like the Brut, displays extremely bright fruit. The nose and palate reveal cherries and strawberries as it opens in the glass.

Today much of the critical acclaim is for the Extra Brut wines which have little (if any) sugar in their “dosage”. This is a difficult style to pull off without the wines coming off as shrill or overly acidic, yet Billecart does the job admirably and their Extra Brut NV and Extra Brut Vintage 2004 are not only a couple of the finest examples of this style; they are also exceptionally well-priced. These are some of the brightest, cleanest and most mineral-driven Champagnes on the market today. Champagne expert Richard Juhlin describes them as “fresh as a spring morning.” These are wines renowned for their purity and precision of flavors and our specialty wine shop are thrilled to be offering them.

Recently the influential French wine publication “La Revue du Vin de France” named the Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve its best non-vintage Champagne and the Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé the leader in that category. True Champagne royalty, Billecart-Salmon Champagnes are sure to enliven any toast, but also work brilliantly as apéritifs and exquisitely pair with foods of all sorts, from hors d’oeuvres, appetizer, entrée, dessert, or any number of small plates.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Reserve
Like a pretty girl in a summer dress, this Champagne has a fresh, winsome profile. Citrus, green apples and pear comprise the palate, which is shot with an alluring minerality. Pure, elegant and delicious.

“The NV Brut Reserve is a pretty, introspective wine laced with bright, citrus fruit, flowers and minerals.
Medium in body, the wine reveals plenty of length and focus, with a crisp, refreshing finish. The Brut Reserve is a great introduction to the elegance of Billecart-Salmon.”
– Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate

Billecart-Salmon Extra Brut NV
A Champagne free of dosage has to rely on the quality of its fruit. Fortunately, when the producer is Billecart-Salmon, that’s not much of a problem. This flinty golden-yellow bubbly is dry as the proverbial bone, but it’s fresh, glowing with white peaches, and incandescent with tiny bubbles. Delicious with blini, or however you like your caviar.

Billecart-Salmon Vintage Extra Brut 2004
The ’04 Billecart-Salmon Brut is a Champagne wearing a Cary Grant suit: all broad shoulders and elegant frame. Don’t let the sunny hue fool you; this Champagne has structure for days, the better to support its delicate white floral aromas, succulent peach notes and streak of acidity. Drinking now to 2016.

Billecart-Salmon Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru NV
“The NV Blanc de Blancs (from vineyards in the Cote des Blancs) emerges with firm, chalky notes that frame a highly individualistic expression of Chardonnay. The wine possesses striking depth and clarity, along with a graceful, elegant finish. This is another very strong effort from Billecart-Salmon…” -Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate

Billecart-Salmon Brut Blanc de Blanc 1999 Chardonnay in grand style, a model of balance and a pure product of the Chardonnay vine, it is the result of a blend of the best grands crus sites of the Côte des Blancs: Chouilly for its finesse, Avize for its power and Mesnil-sur-Oger for its structure and longevity.

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé
Racy, fresh, and structured, this Rosé is like the Lauren Bacall of Champagnes: surprisingly sexy and a complete class act. Strawberries and cassis layer over brioche and roses in this medium-bodied, beautifully blush, quintessentially elegant wine.

“The NV Brut Rose is beautifully balanced in its layers of perfumed red fruit, berries and flowers. Clean mineral notes frame a silky, sensual finish. Billecart-Salmon’s NV Brut Rose is one of the most consistently delicious roses readers are likely to find…” -Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate

Billecart-Salmon Brut Cuvée Nicolas Francois Billecart 2000
“If you like your Champagnes larger than life, this ’00 is your wine. Ebullient and charming, the Cuvee Nicolas Francois Billecart ’00 packs a dense, creamy punch. Lots of ripe peaches and pears and a dash of spiciness strike a balance with acidity and minerality in this exuberant wine. Drinking now to 2020, but why wait?” —93 points Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate

Billecart-Salmon Cuvée Elisabeth Salmon Rosé 1999 Created in 1988 as a tribute to the co-founder Elisabeth Salmon, this extremely delicate cuvée is elaborated from an equal blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They are vinified as white wine, to which some Pinot Noir from Mareuil-sur-Aÿ, vinified as red wine, has been added. This great wine emphasises the strict methods of vinification of Billecart-Salmon.

To purchase or inquire about these great wines and others, drop by Thursday through Saturday, noon to five-thirty (or by appointment) or check us out at

Stunning Value, 93 Point Old-Vine French red under $20!

A.O.C Coteaux-du-Languedoc – Saint Drézéry
A stunning value, this 55 % Grenache, 45 % Syrah practicing organic farming, undergoing conversion for Eco-Cert is a true gem!

One needs to glance only briefly through the notes of Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, Andrew Jefford and David Schildknecht (among many others) to discover their love affair with the Languedoc, and rightfully so.

A short time ago, a Robert Parker (of Wine Advocate fame) pronounced of this wine on the bulletin board: “One of the Greatest VALUES” with a preliminary 94 point rating for an under $20 wine.

CHATEAU PUECH-HAUT has been on the critic’s radar for some time – which makes sense since the property has employed Michel Rolland, Claude Gros (of Chateau Negly) and now Philippe Cambie as their consulting enologist. Visionary owner Gérard Bru spares no expense in his quest for excellence and their cumulative efforts are on display here in a remarkable way.

93 points, Robert Parker in Wine Advocate – “From a bio-dynamically farmed estate, this 2009 is a blend of 55% Grenache (from 60- to 75-year-old vines) and 45% Syrah (from 40-year-old vines), all planted in limestone soils, and aged completely in concrete tanks. This remarkable offering is a naked expression of the vivid terroir and excellent fruit found in this region. The incredible aromatics consist of forest floor, spring flowers, sweet black currants, raspberries, licorice, and incense. With a pure, velvety, seamless, full-bodied texture and a finish that lasts 30+ seconds, this wine possesses a stunning integration of acidity, tannin, and alcohol, suggesting this 2009 will age nicely for 3-5 years, possibly as long as a decade. However, it will be hard to resist given its current performance. Bravo!”

Church Street Wine Cellars, our underground stone and brick specialty wine cellar at the top of Church Street in Burlington, Vermont is always looking for exceptional values, and once again the south of France does not disappoint!

Only 28 cases of this vintage are coming to Vermont, and we staked our claim. It is available on a first-come, first-served basis, for ONLY $19.99 pre-arrival, ready for pick up Friday, April 29. THIS IS VERY LIMITED, drop us a line and we will do our best to secure you some.

Many of the artisanal, limited-release wines we source are made in such tiny quantities, but we offer these gems to our e-mail clientele first, at discounted pre-sell prices. If any is left over for stock, which is often not the case, they revert back to original prices. This is not the only benefit to being on Church Street Wine Cellars e-mail list.

Yes, you will receive notice of special allocated items and pre-sells, but also of our intimate Winemaker Dinner series. Over the past two years we have hosted Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Company, master Italian vintner Lucio Mastroberardino of Terredora di Paolo S.S., David O’Reilly of Owen Roe, O’Reilly and Corvidae Wine Company fame and a bevy of other talented winemakers and speakers.

You will also be alerted to our free, unpretentious, informative and educational in-store wine tastings on Friday nights and Saturday days and other fun wine pairing and lecture events at a variety of local restaurants.

Church Street Wine Cellars also hosts two major shows in the Spring and Fall, CSWC’s Direct-Import Wine Tastings held at a local hotel featuring between 70 and 80 wines from around the globe, all for just $15 per person and including a variety of snacks and accoutrements to pair with the wines.

To sign up for this and more, just click on info@churchstreetwinecellars with the notice “subscribe” in the subject line. We hope you will join us for our upcoming events!


Introducing Winemaker, Morgan Twain-Peterson: Bedrock Wine Co.

Check out CSWC’s new video interview here!

Church Street Wine Cellars, a Burlington, Vermont specialty wine shop, had the pleasure of hosting a wine dinner with our friend Morgan Twain-Peterson in 2010. Our esteemed clientele were the very first in Vermont to try wines from Bedrock’s stellar first vintage that later recieved outstanding reviews. Needless to say both Morgan and his wines wowed us all.

Morgan Twain-Peterson was born at home in Sonoma, Ca. On January 6th, 1981 to Joel Peterson and Kate Twain.

Raised at his father’s Ravenswood Winery, Morgan was exposed to wine and wine tasting at an early age. In David Darlington’s book “Angel’s Visits,” it is noted that “Morgan, at the age of five, could distinguish between Merlot and Zinfandel.” Morgan began making small lots of Pinot Noir at age 5 from fruit given to him by the Sangiacomo family. Motivated by the best wines of Domaine Dujac, he began experimenting with whole cluster fermentation, different types of French oak, and various ripeness points. Vino Bambino Pinot Noir, as the wine was known, was made from 1986 to 2001 and has been featured on the wine lists of Craft, Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill, Delmonico’s, Aureole, and Mesa Grill.

While doing undergraduate work at Vassar (whose founder was a brewer of all things), and graduate work at Columbia University, Morgan worked as a wine buyer and salesperson for Arlington Wines and Liquors in Poughkeepsie, and Chelsea Wine Vault and Pet Wines in Manhattan.

After receiving his MBA from Columbia, Morgan returned home to Sonoma in 2005 to work harvest at Ravenswood. From there he spent time as a visiting winemakers at Hardy’s in McLaren Vale (where he also spent a few highly educational days with Drew and Rae Noon at Noon Winery), and in the fall of 2006 was a visiting winemaker at Chateau Lynch-Bages in Pauillac.

Morgan is a manager of his family’s Bedrock Vineyards in Sonoma Valley, and is a member of Sunbreak Vineyard Services L.L.C, a vineyard management company. He has also passed the prestigious Master of Wine exam and upon successful completion of the dissertation will become one of the less than thirty American M.W.’s.

Bedrock Wine Company

Bedrock is an itsy-bitsy winery making wine in a converted chicken coop. Fruit from only the most excellent vineyard sites is hand pitch-forked into the destemmer, fermented in open top redwood and stainless vats using only native yeasts, and are manually basket pressed by winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson into the sexiest oak from the coldest French forests.

The winery’s objectives are:
• To channel the fruit of ancient vines into powerful, elegant, and distinctly Californian wines.
• To spread the gospel of Syrah in California by sourcing fruit from great terroirs throughout the North Coast.
• To proclaim the greatness of Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by sparing no expense on wines of uniqueness and personality.
• To reclaim rose’ from the excesses of saignee and focus on precision, delicacy, aromatics, and food friendliness.
• To make fascinating and quixotic white wines from unique sites and interesting varietals.
• To make California Pinot Noir that ages as well as ’74 Swan.
• To dream big but keep production low!

Bedrock Wine Co. firmly believes in the philosophy that “diversity is the spice of life.” In Morgan’s own words “The wines I make are not limited to a single caste or single style. Rather, they reflect my own eclectic tastes and general feeling that a broad palate makes for more interesting gustatory experiences.

As such, you will find a range of wines emanating from our humble cellar— from rich and spicy Zinfandel based field blends, to aromatic and sensual Syrah, to dry and lithe Rose’ and Graves Blanc blends.”
“Incidentally, Peterson’s son Morgan has begun a new winemaking project with his father called Bedrock Wine Company, and the 2007 barrel samples he presented to me showed very good promise in a distinctly elegant style.” – Josh Raynolds, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, May/June 2008

Already a darling of the press, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, the L.A Times just to name a few, come check out Morgan’s offerings starting with his entry-level Bedrock “Sherman & Hooker’s Shebang! Cuvee III” Sonoma Valley Red Wine 1.0L Jug at only $16.99!

From Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “There are some terrific bargains in this portfolio, including the non-vintage Sherman and Hooker’s Shebang (only available in one liter bottles). A blend of 80% Syrah and the rest Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a few white Rhone varietals such as Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Marsanne, it is a delicious, consumer-friendly wine offering an attractive dark ruby color, lots of spicy, peppery, berry fruit, and a silky, supple mouthfeel. It is meant to be consumed during its exuberant youth. This was my first look at the wines of Bedrock, which is the creation of Morgan Peterson, the son of Ravenswood’s legendary Joel Peterson. The emphasis appears to be on some innovative blends as well as several single vineyard cuvees.” (Feb. 2010) The wine is made up of old vine Zin and Petite Sirah from Abbastanza Vineyard, and some wonderful Syrah from the mouth of the valley. The wine, a mix of 2006 and 2007, was aged in 35% new French oak from Ermitage, Dargaud-Jaegle, and Baron. This ‘jug’ wine is a bit of a throw back to simpler times. It is also an exceptionally good wine available to just about anyone. Oh, and those hills at the bottom of the label are part of the land-grant illustration given Gen. Hooker circa. 1849. Them some old hills!

And soon to arrive…Bedrock Sherman & Hookers Shebang! WHITE!!! From 120 yr old Monte Rosso vineyard semillon blended with a bit of Compagni Portis vines & Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc for lift at only $12.99!

Extreme Value Alert! Cotes-du-Rhone 2007 & 2009

The 2009 Vintage is a robust one in the Southern Rhône, and along with 2007 one of the best of the past decade. Although the 2009s are dense and hedonsitic examples and have some tannin and power from the overall heat of the vintage, the best examples also are not only rich but also fresh, thanks in part to some cool nights. The best of these estates have also learned to handle the heat with a sophistication and quality is more consistent from year to year. The 2009s should be drinking beautifully for the next several years and are truly delicious now with a bit of air time in the decanter.

We at Church Street Wine Cellars at 2 Church Street in Burlington, Vermont have been drinking a lot of Cotes-du-Rhone lately and we’ve been quite impressed. A fun and inexpensive way to look at these wines are from different styles; either Syrah-dominated, or Grenache-dominated. Some of the CdRs we’ve enjoyed recently are from Domaine D’Andezon 2009 (90% Syrah, 10% Grenache 91 points Parker) $13.99 a deep, rich chewy style full of black fruit; the ever classic Guigal CdR 2007 $15.99 a blend of 50% Syrah and the rest primarily Grenache, 90 points Parker; and Domaine de la Janasse 2009 (50% Grenache and the rest Syrah, Cinsault and Carignan $16.99) possesses a perfumed nose of ripe strawberries, black cherries, loamy soil, lavender and spice box. It’s medium-body, luscious, hedonistic and complex from prime vineyard sites made by master Christophe Sabon, it should be consumed over the next several years, not yet reviewed to our knowledge.

One of our very favorites (if we had to call it, we give the edge to the Grenache-dominated Rhones) is the delicious but VERY limited Domaine la Garrigue “Cuvée Romaine” Côtes-du-Rhône 2009. “In 2009, the Cuvee Romaine, which has been a perennial winner in the values sweepstakes, was made from tiny yields of 20 hectoliters per hectare, and was aged in concrete before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Just as strong as the 2007, the 2009 boasts a dense purple color along with a big, sweet bouquet of kirsch liqueur, licorice, and lavender. Full-bodied with stunning depth and richness as well as a long finish, this remarkable wine demonstrates what great winemaking and Southern Rhone varietals can achieve in a top vintage. Moreover, the price is ridiculously low for such high quality. A blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Syrah, it should age nicely for 4-6 years.”
– Robert Parker in Wine Advocate

It is made from 60 to 90 year old vines and is a joint project with our friend Eric Solomon of European Cellars and the Bernard family, proprietors of both Domaine La Garrigue and the excellent restaurant “Les Florets” in Gigondas. Domaine La Garrigue takes its name from the wild Herbes de Provence and ground cover of Provence called Garrigue, a familiar lavender herbaceous scent often evident in their bottlings.

The estate’s Cotes du Rhone, is labeled “Cuvee Romaine” is named after the myriad of Roman artifacts that were excavated by archeologists on the property in the late 1970’s and the early 1980’s.

This one has already gone fast from our special e-mail pre-arrival offer price, an is now available in the store at $14.99 Give us a call or drop us an e-mail if you’d like us to save some for you.