Welcome to the latest 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, we have all six in stock. Unfortunately, we can’t swap out one wine for another, since they aren’t all equal in value. On to the wines!
appellation: Cava, Spain
grape varieties: trepat, garnacha
Cava is Spain’s answer to Champagne, and must be made using the same traditional method to make sparkling wine. Cava can be made in eight distinct wine producing regions scattered all over northern Spain, though nearly all of it is produced in the Catalan region of Penedès. German and Gilabert are the two middle names of importer Jose Pastor, who helps guide the production of this wine using organically grown grapes from the higher altitude vineyards of Alt Penedès. The wine rests on its lees for nearly 20 months before disgorgement, leading to a wine with a more delicate texture and nuanced aromas. Of course, we thought of this wine to kick off any of the slew of festivities this time of year, but also keep in mind this wine plays really well with the bold culinary flavors of Spain and elsewhere!
appellation: Monterrei, Spain
grape variety: godello
Amizade is a side project of two friends: renowned Galician viticulturist Tony Mendez and winemaker Gerardo Mendez of Do Ferreiro (producer of albariño par excellence). Amizade means “friendship” in Galician dialect, and it is the perfect name for this friendly little white wine made of 100% godello. In contrast to albariño’s more aromatic and acid-driven character, godello produces a more voluptuous style of wine, making it a perfect white to pair with richer winter fare. Tony and Gerardo make this wine from a particular clone of godello that Tony rescued from a 100-year-old pre-phylloxera vineyard site in Monterrei – the southernmost appellation of Galicia. Exuberant and full, with herbaceous notes and a burst of bright green apple fruit, this is a great white to pair with halibut or scallops.
appellation: Côtes de Gascogne, France
grape variety: gros manseng
Gilles Baumann was among the first winemakers in Gascony to realize the potential of the local grapes to produce crisp, dry table wines, in addition to the regionally customary Armagnacs. His wines remain among the most consistent and reasonably priced of the appellation, thus our continued reliance on his classic blend as one of our go-to whites. Cassagnoles has a slew other wines in production, our favorite of which is their gros manseng. The grape is a grandchild of savagnin (Jura), and finds its most important role in the southwestern appellation of Jurançon. The first pairing that comes to mind is brandade, though pairing would be difficult to screw up with this wine.
appellation: Colline Novaresi, Italy
grape variety: uva rara
Francesca Castaldi’s tiny four hectare farm is tucked in the hills just outside of Briona, one of the handful of villages that make up the Colline Novaresi DOC in northern Piedmont. Her family’s winemaking lineage in this region dates back several centuries, and she grew up among the family vines, but didn’t start making her own wines until 1997 after leaving a finance job. While the majority of Castaldi’s wines are made with nebbiolo at the fore, Valceresole is made of 100% uva rara, typically a blending grape used to add softness to nebbiolo-based wines. Uva rara is sometimes mistakenly referred to as bonarda, though it bears no relation to the bonarda of Lombardy’s Oltrepo Pavese. Valceresole is woodsy and elegant, with purple flowery aromas, acid-driven fruit, and a pleasantly bitter, spicy finish. For pairing ideas, make a reservation at Centre Street Cafe, where they’re currently featuring this wine by the glass!
appellation: St. Chinian, France
grape varieties: syrah, mourvedre, carignan, cinsault
Provence native Jean-Marie Rimbert has spent a quarter of a century making wine in the Languedoc. Over that time he has built an estate of 20 hectares of vineyards spread among 40 diverse parcels each with different soil compositions & expositions. His village of Berlou has the highest elevation in all of St. Chinian, and is the only place where schist forms the basis of the soil composition. “Travers de Marceau” is the quintessential southern French country red, generous and full of charm.
appellation: Gaillac, France
grape varieties: duras, braucol
Nicolas Lebrun is the president of “Terres de Gaillac”, an eleven-member association of terroir-minded vignerons in this tiny, under-appreciated southwestern appellation. Lebrun spent 12 years working for other wineries before starting his own in 2005. He farms all native varieties using biodynamic principles, harvests by hand, ferments with indigenous yeast, and adds only the bare minimum of sulfur at bottling. “Les Gourmands” is an exercise in texture, as one could get lost in its velvety, deep purple robe. Try it with slow roasted meat or a savory bread pudding.