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!
2014 Schoenheitz Edelzwicker
appellation: Alsace, France
grape varieties: sylvaner, riesling, chasselas, auxerrois, muscat, pinot gris, gewürztraminer
Just one white this month, but it’s a big bottle, and it’s got a lotta grapes! The Schoenheitz family, led by husband and wife Henri and Dominique, and these days with the help of their son Adrien, among others, continues the hard work to promote their region’s criminally under-appreciated wines. Vineyard management is conducted with sustainability in mind, yet without the dogmatic big brother bio-certifiers looming over their shoulders. Challenges to maintaining commercial winemaking viable in Alsace include but are not limited to: the erratic results of climate change, incohesive and sometimes unintelligible labelling, poor overall perception of the region’s wines, and the arrival in 2014 of mutant Japanese vinegar flies. All the more reason we feel compelled to support Schoenheitz and Alsace at large. Here’s an edelzwicker (noble blend), which has a little of everything in it, most of all a true sense of Alsatian terroir. Choucroute garni, pizza, or stinky cheese would pair beautifully.
2013 Jean-Marc Burgaud Régnié Vallières
appellation: Régnié, France (Beaujolais)
grape variety: gamay
Since 1989, Jean-Marc Burgaud and his wife Cristine have farmed 19 hectares of gamay vines in Beaujolais, primarily in Morgon and Beaujolais Villages, as well as one hectare in Régnié. Régnié is the newest of the 10 cru of Beaujolais, only gaining cru status in 1988. Although not certified, all the farming at Burgaud is done organically and by hand, and he has not used chemicals in the vineyards in over 10 years. Jean-Marc’s wines tend to feel a bit more “Burgundian” because he intentionally picks his fruit later to achieve maximum concentration, and for nearly all of his cuvées he does not ferment whole cluster, as is typical in Beaujolais. Instead he punches down to release more juice and encourage more intense maceration. His Régnié is perhaps the one exception to this practice, which he intentionally makes to be softer and more friendly from early on, expressive of what he feels is the Régnié cru’s classic “feminine, cheerful nature”. Pair this with anything from Basque sheep’s milk cheeses to baked salmon with aioli.
2014 Grégory Mendez “Brezo”
appellation: Bierzo, Spain (Galicia)
grape variety: mencia
Bierzo is a tiny region nestled in the northwestern corner of Spain, just inland from Galicia. Its name comes from the pre-Roman city Bergidum, and it is true the Romans first brought vines here. In modern times, it is only recently that the region has gained any sort of popularity outside of Spain. The wines of Grégory Perez are a perfect example. Though not a native (originally from Bordeaux), Grégory fell in love with the dramatic vistas of Bierzo, and saw real potential for making world-class wine. He built his estate here in 2007, which he named Mengoba – a shortening of the native grapes of Bierzo – mencia, godello, and valenciana (also known as dona blanca). Together his estate wines, he also runs a small négoce project under the Brezo label. The Brezo red is made of mainly mencia, with small amounts of garnacha tintorera sourced from small parcels between 30-60 years old. Fresh, juicy, and floral with a hint of spice, this red is perfect against fattier dishes like sausage or game.
2013 Ca’ del Monte Valpolicella Classico
appellation: Valpolicella, Italy (Veneto)
grape varieties: corvina, rondinella, molinara
Brothers Umberto and Giuseppe Zaconte are the sixth generation to manage their family’s 20 hectare estate, located in the hills just outside the village of Negrar, in the heart of the Valpolicella region of the Veneto. The bulk of their vines are planted to corvina, rondinella, and molinara, the traditional grapes blended to make Valpolicella, and the region’s famous reserve wine, Amarone. Their plots are located at 900m elevation, the highest in the appellation, and it translates beautifully across all of their wines – which are driven more by aromatics and freshness of fruit than massive body. The Classico is the youngest of their wines, a blend of all three grapes done in stainless steel. It is floral and fresh, and extremely light in body. At around 12% alcohol, it is a baby compared to many others, which tend to weigh in much higher, closer to 13.5-14%. Pair this red with heavier fish dishes, or pasta dishes with light tomato or herb-driven sauces.
2013 Fratelli Alessandria Dolcetto D’Alba
appellation: Dolcetto D’Alba, Italy (Piedmont)
grape varieties: dolcetto
Brothers Gian Battista and Alessandro run their family’s historic estate located in the village of Verduno, one of the eight villages of Barolo. In addition to their traditional Barolos, for which the estate has won awards as early as 1843, they also produce some charming varietal wines based on other local grapes, like pelaverga and dolcetto. Dolcetto is a much-loved grape at Streetcar, and the brothers’ bottling just reaffirms that love. Clean, supple, and fruity, and infinitely adaptable to all sorts of foods, from carbonara to pizza.
2006 Riecine “La Gioia”
appellation: Toscana, Italy
grape variety: sangiovese
Riecine is a farm in the heart of Chianti, in the hamlet of Gaiole in Chianti, that was restored to its historic glory by a British man and his Italian wife in the early 1970’s. Despite pressures to succumb to the trend of planting foreign grapes to these ancient soils, Riecine has always relied on the “magic of sangiovese”. Three red wines are produced at the estate, all from organically certified vineyards planted to sangiovese. “La Gioia” is the estate’s “super-Tuscan”, which ages for a couple of years in new and used barrels prior to release. We scored a couple of stacks of this extraordinarily powerful red at a severely discounted price at the end of last year, as the distributor was looking to move some inventory at the last minute. It’s supposed to be a $60 wine! Save this one for a night when you can give it adequate attention, and a slightly more elaborate winter meal to go with it. A good steak or a wild mushroom risotto might be just the thing.