Welcome to the fifth 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: Touraine, FR
grape variety: sauvignon blanc
Some of you may remember Marc Plouzeau’s delicious Chinon “Rive Gauche” from the December Monthly Pass. 2012 marked the first release of this talented winemaker’s white wine in Massachusetts, and it instantly became one of our favorites. Plouzeau took the reins of his father’s estate in 1999 and began converting the estate to organic viticulture right away. Native yeast fermentation sets this sauvignon apart from most, allowing the inherent qualities of the fruit really shine, rather than be masked by the overt grapefruit aromas that have come to be associated with the variety based on the typically-used commercial yeast.
2011 Quinta do Ameal
appellation: Vinho Verde, PT
grape variety: loureiro
Historical records of Quinta do Ameal go back 850 years, around the same time that Portugal became recognized as the sixth European nation. Evidence of winemaking can be found as early as the turn of the 17th century, though it is likely to have started considerably before then. Ameal sits in the Ponte de Lima sub-appellation, where loureiro is though to have originated. A close genetic relative of albariño, the name loureiro means laurel in Portuguese, which refers to the aroma of its berries. Ameal is one of the quality leaders in the region, working their fields organically and fermenting as gently as possible. This is quite a different wine from the light, spritzy Vinho Verde so often consumed at summer barbecues. More complex aromatics, rich texture, and notable minerality make this an interesting choice for an aperitif, or as an accompaniment to any manner of seafood.
2012 Luberri Orlegi
appellation: Rioja, SP
grape variety: tempranillo
Florentino Martinez Monje was the original winemaker at Artadi before establishing his own winery in 1992. He has made a name for himself in bringing back the old-fashioned way of making Rioja using semi-carbonic maceration (partial whole-cluster) fermentation. He is one of a group of small producers in Rioja that are trying to change the region’s perception by bottling wines by vineyard site, rather than simply making joven, crianza, reserva, et cetera. Orlegi is a fresh, lean, red made from old vines between the villages of Elciego and Laguardia. It’s a party in a bottle, and goes great with charcuterie and fresh cheese, roasted chicken or potatoes with fresh herbs.
appellation: Niederösterreich, AT
grape variety: zweigelt
Brunn is a small, family-owned winery in the Kamptal region, north of Vienna. They have a nice collection of older vines, which produce low yields of very flavorful and aromatic grapes. They ferment traditionally in a mixture of tanks and barrels, only using indigenous yeasts. Zweigelt is the most widely-planted dark-skinned grape in Austria, with over twice as many vines planted as the next highest blaufränkisch. It is a high-yielding, early-ripening hybrid of blaufränkisch and saint-laurent that was obtained in 1922 by Fritz Zweigelt. Here we have an exuberant, young style of the grape, bottled in a full liter with a crown closure (maximum efficiency). Try it with burgers!
appellation: Salento, IT
grape varieties: negroamaro, primitivo
The brother-sister duo of Vito and Mila Perrini converted their generations-old family estate to organic viticulture 20 years ago. They ferment and age their wines in an underground cellar, which gives their wines a subtlety that is uncommon for the region. This wine is a blend of the two best-known varieties of Salento, negroamaro and primitivo, from 8 hectares of 25-30 year old vines. When you consider their location at the tip of the heel of the boot of Italy, it is a wonder that they’ve made a wine with such freshness and balance of fruit and acidity. It’s still a great wine for pizza and pasta, but it’s worth trying with less overtly flavorful foods, as well.
2011 Rebel Artigianale Rosso
appellation: Sicilia, IT
grape variety: nero d’avola
A collaboration between local importer Mise and Michael Schmelzer of Monte Bernardi in Chianti, Rebel Rosso is made from organically grown nero d’avola grapes grown near Palermo on the northern coast of Sicily. Fermentation takes place in concrete vats using indigenous yeast, yielding a juicy, easy-going red that’s great to drink on it’s own, light enough to pair with Mediterranean seafood dishes, and still packs enough punch to match up with tomato sauce.