Monthly Pass – December 2013

Welcome to the third installment of the Streetcar Monthly Pass. If you’ve already purchased a pass, thank you! If you haven’t, you should check out this page to learn how it works.

Below you’ll find some information about each of this month’s six Monthly Pass selections. If you bought a 2 or 4 bottle package and one of the wines you didn’t get piques your curiosity, don’t forget to take advantage of your 10% discount, which is valid on all wine purchases through the end of the year. Unfortunately, we can’t swap out one wine for another, since they aren’t all equal in value.

On to the wines!


photo (36)

2010 Château Barbanau  “Clos Val Bruyère”
appellation: Cassis, FR
grape varieties: marsanne, clairette, ugni blanc, sauvignon blanc

Ten years ago, Sophie and Didier Simonini-Cerciello purchased the Clos Val Bruyère vineyard, which was planted in 1900 by Sophie’s great-grandfather Emile Bodin. While Barbanau is principally in the Côtes de Provence, this special vineyard is entirely within the seaside town of Cassis. Only white wine is made in Cassis by law, which is the perfect accompaniment to the town’s most famous culinary contribution, bouillabaisse.


photo (37)

2011 Ricardo Santos Semillon
appellation: Mendoza, AR
grape variety: semillon

Ricardo Santos is the former owner of Bodega Norton, one of the larger wineries in Argentina, and the first to market a mono-varietal malbec wine. He and his sons now operate a significantly smaller winery in Mendoza. Semillon used to be a far more important grape in Argentina, before chardonnay became the international white variety of choice. Santos bottles under a thousand cases of this wine, from a plot of 70-year-old vines grown by his neighbor, Roberto Azaretto.


photo (38)

2011 Bodega y Viñedos Castro Ventosa “El Castro de Valtuille”
appellation: Bierzo, ES
grape variety: mencia

It would be hard to imagine Bierzo without Raul Perez and his family’s iconic Castro Ventosa (Windy Castle). Founded in 1752 and continuously family-owned, this estate covers 75 hectares of vineyards, making them the largest landowners in the appellation. Their influence goes beyond that, however, as newer players in the Bierzo (famously Alvaro Palacios, etc.) have sought Perez’ advice when choosing their vineyards. “El Castro” is the perfect first step into Bierzo and mencia.


photo (39)

2011 Marc Plouzeau Rive Gauche
appellation: Chinon, FR
grape variety: cabernet franc

Marc Plouzeau took the reins of his father’s estate in 1999 and converted the estate to organic viticulture. A bit of a cult following surrounds the bottling of Clos de Maulevrier, appropriately nick-named “Ante Phylloxera”, as the vineyard was planted in 1860. If you ever lay eyes on a bottle, you should definitely grab it (and one for us!). “Rive Gauche” is the ultimate bistro red — bright, fresh, fruity, dry, and as versatile a food pairing as anything.


photo (40)

2010 G.D. Vajra Rosso
appellation: Langhe, IT
grape varieites: nebbiolo, barbera, dolcetto, albarossa, freisa, pinot noir G.D. Vajra is one of those producers that simply can do no wrong. Each of their wines is an effortless expression of the famous vineyards of Piedmont. We thought for a second about whether or not to include this wine in the Monthly Pass, since it’s one of our favorites to recommend in the shop, and some of you might have already bought a bottle. We concluded that it’s the kind of wine you might want to try a second time. And a third…


photo (47)Domaine du Cros Lo Sang del Pais
appellation: Marcillac, FR
grape variety: Fer Servadou

Domaine du Cros, with its 22 hectares in the somewhat isolated western Auvergne, is the largest independent producer in the appellation of Marcillac. Vigneron Philippe Teulier’s wines are all made from the local grape fer servadou, which is most likely a wild indigenous grape, and has been established through DNA analysis to be a grandparent to carmenere, most famously grown in Chile. Thank you Jancis Robinson!

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