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: Yamhill-Carlton, Oregon, USA
grape variety: müller-thurgau
Anne Amie is a family run winery tucked into the slopes of the Chehelam mountains in Oregon’s beautiful Wilammete Valley. In addition to pinot noir, blanc, and gris, which are their main focus, the estate also has a parcel of the oldest American plantings of Müller-Thurgau, planted in 1979. Muller-Thurgau is a hybrid of riesling and sylvaner, developed by Dr. Muller in Thurgau, Switzerland in the late 1800’s (and imaginatively named). Try this dry, snappy white with garlicky white bean stew.
appellation: Alsace, France
grape varieties: sylvaner, muscat, auxerrois
The white wines of Alsace couldn’t possibly less hip right now, for at least the following reasons: Whether it’s due to global warming or behind-the-trend attention to the American palate, the wines have generally become more sweet. The debate rages on as to whether wines should be bottled by variety or by vineyard designation. There’s a general impression that the wines are old-fashioned.
Two things they have going for them: Prices remain competitive due to the lower demand, and the dryer ones are among the most versatile food-pairing wines in the world. This wine, from the two-century-old Kuentz family winery, is a step up from the simple edelzwicker, showing a true sense of mountain terroir. Try it with a full-flavored fish or an aromatic cheese.
appellation: Asturias, Spain
grape varieties: mencia, albarin tinto
Spain’s northern coastal region Asturias is far better known for its apple orchards and delicious dry ciders than it is for wine, despite the fact that wine has been made here for nearly 10 centuries. The cooler climate and slate and quartz rich soils of Asturias lend particularly well to producing lighter, more acid-driven reds and minerally whites. The principal grape varieties grown here are mencia, carrasquin, albarin tinto (red mutation of albariño), and verdejo negro (trousseau), as well as albariño and albillo for whites. Nicolas Marcos is one of a handful of growers whose hard work is helping to elevate Asturia’s wine reputation. Originally from Toro, he now runs a 14 hectare biodynamic farm and produces a handful of wines from the region’s traditional grapes. “La Fanfarria” is made of equal parts mencia and albarin tinto, hand-picked and vinified half in steel and half in barrel, with indigenous yeasts. This red is full of easy, high-toned fruit, with a mineral finish that makes it as fun-loving as its label suggests. Try this with a pizza margherita or mussels in a tomato broth.
appellation: Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhône
grape varieties: grenache, cabernet sauvignon, cinsault
Nestled in the hills along the southern French coast, this Provençal estate has a history pre-dating the Roman invasion. The original structure served as a guard post to the towns of Marseille and Cassis, and when the Romans eventually took it over, they named it “Rocca Fortis” – hence the name “Roquefort”. The Villeneuve family acquired the estate in the early 18th century and constructed the estate’s original cellar in 1734. In 1995 the property was completely modernized, and today is run by the latest generation of Villeneuves – energetic young winemaker Raimond. In this part of Provence, red wine blends are built around grenache, rather than mourvedre as in Bandol. For “Gueule de Loup” (mouth of the wolf as well as the flower snapdragon), Raimond uses grenache, along with a varying amount of cabernet sauvignon and cinsault, and depending on the vintage some carignan and merlot as well. Chewy and concentrate, yet still lively, this is a red that can swing between fattier fare like mixed charcuterie, and lighter things like Provençal fish dishes. Or, better yet, just a snack of bread and buttery French olive oil.
appellation: Marche, Italy
grape variety: sangiovese, montepulciano, syrah
The family name Politi has been found in documents dating back to the 13th century in the town of Loretello, not far from the Adriatic coast and the seaport town of Ancona. The majority of Politi’s vineyards are dedicated to the production of the classic white Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi (which we also have in stock), with a smaller amount produced of Rosso Piceno and Marche Rosso. A second shipment of the 2012 vintage just became available, roughly a year after the first. The extra year in the bottle has amplified the aromatics, with lush cherry fruit throughout. Bring on the pizza, pasta, and casseroles for this one.
appellation: Touraine, France
grape variety: côt, cabernet franc, gamay
Fourth generation winemaker Pascal Pibaleau is based in Loire Valley town of Azay-le-Rideau, halfway between Tours and Chinon. Pascal is committed to natural farming, gaining biodynamic certification for all his 15 hectares of his vineyards in 2011. “L’Héritage d’Aziaum” (from the Latin for Azay) is a hearty blend featuring around 60% côt (malbec), with the balance roughly equal parts cabernet franc and gamay. Fermented with native yeasts in concrete vats before aging in older casks, “L’Heritage” successfully maintains the essential quality of the fruit, which sits on a firm mineral structure, with fine acidity on the finish. It’s a forgiving pairing wine, perfectly suited to go with soups, stews, chicken, or hamburgers.