IMG_2644The prospect of a magnum is sometimes more exciting to us than it may be practical for our customers. The point of this post is to try to correct that balance.

First, let’s point out the factual: a magnum is equal to two “normal”-sized 750ml bottles, or 10-12 glasses of wine. That may or not be the typical amount your household would consume on any given Tuesday, but it’s certainly a reasonable amount to fathom consuming on a night when you have a couple of friends over for dinner.

Next, let’s think about the dollars and cents, or more appropriately, the perceived dollars and cents. Peruse the jug wine aisle of any full-service liquor store and you’ll find a dizzying array of shiny, color-coordinated wines with words 0n the label like “hearty burgundy” and “pinot grigio”, most of which turns out to be the wine equivalent of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. The only thing these wines share in common with the ones we’ve listed below is the size of the bottle. On the other side of the coin are what we’d refer to as the “collector’s magnum”, which is to say a wine put in larger format for long-term storage to take advantage of the better wine-to-oxygen ratio a magnum provides.

We focus our attention on the considerable territory between jugs and collector mags; wines you can pop and pour without shame at a dinner party (or some other kind of party) without breaking the bank. Below we list a snapshot of our constantly rotating selection of party magnums.

FullSizeRender (2)NV Jo Landron Vin Mousseux de Qualité “Atmosphères” $42
2013 Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine “Amphibolite Nature” $36
2010 Jo Landron Muscadet Sèvre et Maine “Le Fief du Breil” $48
Jo Landron is a pillar of the French natural wine community, and is certainly one of the most recognizable by his heavy-duty handlebar mustache. His wines are an absolute reference point for any serious investigation of Muscadet. We currently offer two of his Muscadets, “Amphibolite” referring to the soil composition of the same name, and “Le Fief” a single vineyard with dramatically diverse soils that is always released after an extended stay on the lees. We also have his “Atmosphères”, which is a squeaky-clean sparkler composed of 80% folle blanche and 20% pinot noir.

2012 Le Clot de l’Origine (Marc Barriot) Côtes du Roussillon “Le p’tit Barriot” $42

2013 Benjamin Taillandier Minervois “Laguzelle” $40

2011 Marcel Lapierre Morgon “Cuvée Marcel Lapierre” $95
The top wine from this iconic Beaujolais producer is made only when the vintage is right, from some of the oldest vines in Morgon (100+ years).

NV Podere Il Saliceto Bianco Dell’Emilia “Bi Fri” $45
NV Podere Il Saliceto Lambrusco di Modena “Falistra” $45
What kind of wine would a competitive Muay Thai fighter make?

2005 Sant’Elena Venezia Giulia Cabernet Sauvignon $25
We’re still scratching our heads on this wine. Why is it still available, 9 years after harvest? Why was it only bottled in magnums? Why is it so good?

2013 Frank Cornelissen Terre Siciliane Rosato “Susucaru” $60
A perennially controversial rosé from a Belgian working the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna.

NV Casa Coste Piane Colli Trevigiani Glera Frizzante “Brichet” $65
One of the last great examples of old-fashioned Prosecco.

2012 Ameztoi Getariako Txakolina “Hijo de Rubentis” $60
The Champagne method version of the most highly sought-after rosé of the summer, made in terribly small quantities.

2002 R. Lopez de Heredia Rioja Reserva “Viña Tondonia” $110

Stay tuned for updates…


IMG_6509Streetcar presents a month-long exhibition of the work of Somerville’s November Artist of the Month, Gilmore Tamny. Come meet Gilmore at the opening party Thursday night, 5-7 pm, coinciding with our weekly beer tasting (this week featuring Mayflower!). There will be light snacks and heavy tunes.

artist bio:
Gilmore Tamny lives in Somerville, MA, where she spends great deal of time drawing. She has been busy with a series of non-representational drawings using both her dominant (right) and non-dominant (left) hand. This is their first non-virtual, non-reprinted appearance. Some of them have appeared in and on the cover of various (often very) (small) literary magazines. More of her artwork is available for viewing here:


In addition to all the incessant drawing, Gilmore plays guitar and sings in the rock band Weather Weapon. She likes to write proverbs, novels, short stories, poetry and other such things, and her post-WWII good girl/bad girl Anglophile’s dream of a potboiler novel is being serialized online.  She is an audiobook junkie.

Luis Rodríguez

Luis Rodriguez walking around his vines. (photo from Jose Pastor Selections)

To begin to understand and appreciate the wines of Luís Rodriguez, we first have to talk about Ribeiro, the oldest appellation in Spain, and among the most historic vine-growing regions in Europe. The sun-dried sweet wines of Ribeiro graced the royal tables of England and Spain throughout the 16th and 17th centuries, and it is documented that Ribeiro was the first wine brought to the US, at the hands of Christopher Columbus. The style of wine produced here set formed the basis for subsequent successful wine production and exportation from the Canary Islands and Andalusia. As was the case in all but a few major European wine-producing regions, the deadly combination of war and vine disease in the early 20th century devastated the production of high-quality wine, and brought the volume-minded planting of ill-fitting southern Spanish grapes, like palomino and garnacha tintorera (alicante bouschet).

Rodriguez began his journey of rediscovering the native varieties of the region in 1988, when he took over a vineyard belonging to his uncle Martín. He has slowly accumulated roughly 5 hectares over the last 25 years, replanting the high-yielding varieties with the native treixadura, lado, albariño, and torrontes for the whites, and brançellao, caiño longo, caiño redondo, and ferrol for the reds. It’s worth noting that Rodriguez’s attention to red wine production is particularly unique, as 80% of the region’s production is devoted to white. The majority of his vines are planted along the extremely steep south-facing slopes of the municipality of Arnoia, where the soils consist of decomposed granite and sandy topsoil.

We feel very lucky to have any of these wines in the shop, as the entire state was allocated around 300 bottles, split among five different cuvées:

tornaViña de Martin Os Pasás $40
From a blend of mostly treixadura with lado, albariño, and torrontes, vine age 10-25 years old, planted on steep granite hillsides in the town of Arnoia. Fermented with native yeasts in steel vat and raised in vat on the lees for 10-12 months. It is a fresh light to medium-bodied vino blanco with beautiful structure and subtle flavors of citrus, honey, and seashell minerality. A lovely wine to pair with roast chicken, fresh seafood, cheeses, and delicate earthy dishes.

Viña de Martin Escolma $70
From the lowest yielding old vines, composed of mostly treixadura, planted on steep granite hillsides. Escolma means “selection” in Gallego. This top cuvée is only produced in excellent vintages, it was wild yeast fermented in a variety of sizes of French oak barrels, raised on the lees for 12 months, and further aged in the bottle for 36 months. Escolma is a very complex and age-worthy medium-bodied white with a lovely balance between structured, lush quince fruit, and vivid mineral flavors. A noble wine to pair with lobster, crab, rich sauces, game, and pork dishes.

A Torna Dos Pasás $40
40% brançellao, and roughly equal parts caiño redondo, caiño longo, and ferrol, vine age 10-20 years old, grown on steep south-facing granite hillsides in the town of Arnoia, Galicia. A Torna dos Pasas was fermented with native yeasts in steel vat, and raised in used 300 liter French oak barrels for 12 months. It is a fresh, aromatic, and medium-bodied red with lush and spicy flavors of red fruits, pepper, and purple flowers. A delicious wine to pair with pork dishes, spicy foods, game, and rich fish dishes, like tuna and swordfish.

A Torna Dos Pasás Escolma $70
From a field blend of the lowest yielding old vines planted on steep south-facing granite hillsides in Arnoia. Escolma means “selection” in Gallego. This top cuvée is only produced in excellent vintages, it was wild yeast fermented in barrel, raised in a mix of new and old 300 liter French oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months, and further aged in the bottle for 36 months. Escolma is a very complex and age-worthy medium-bodied red with a balance between structured, wild red fruit, leather, spices, and earthy mineral flavors. A noble wine to pair with game, roasted meats, rich stews and braises, and pork dishes.