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: Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, FR
grape variety: melon de bourgogne
Bernard Chéreau’s family has been making Muscadet from some of the most prized vineyard sites between the Sèvre and Maine rivers of the western Loire since the 15th century. Bernard classifies his different cuvées according to each particular vineyard site, in order to showcase melon de bourgogne’s naturally expressive personality from different soil types and exposures. This cuvée “L’Oiselinière” (which translates to “the owl’s nest”) is made from a single 10-hectare parcel of 40+ year old vines grown on schist and orthogneiss. Fermentation with all of Chéreau’s wines is spontaneous, and once complete, this cuvée is allowed to rest on its lees in cement tanks for 6 months. Elegant and clean, this wine showcases its terroir with plenty of tart lime zest, stony texture, and a cutting mineral finish. A match made in heaven for oysters!
appellation: Côtes de Duras, FR
grape varieties: sauvignon blanc, sauvignon gris
Corine, Didier, and their son Audric Mauro Guicheney organically farm 30 hectares in both Duras and Bordeaux. Their family has been contributing grapes to the local cooperative for years, until 2011, when they produced their first estate vintage. The Côtes de Duras appellation sits tucked between Bordeaux’s Entre-Deux-Mers and Bergerac, in the rustic, rolling hills of Dordogne. The same grape varieties are grown here as in Bordeaux, with merlot playing the major role for reds and sauvignon for whites. Mauro Guicheney’s blend of sauvignon blanc and sauvignon gris is full-bodied and generous, with deep, concentrated tropical fruit flavors balanced with simple, direct acidity. It would make a great pair with richer winter fish like Halibut or bay scallops.
appellation: Barbera D’Alba, IT
grape variety: barbera
Mikio (short for Michelangelo) and his wife Annette are the current generation running the Cascina Pasquero, a small organic farm tucked in the hills of the Roero, in the southwestern corner of the Piedmont, just north of Barolo. In addition to growing wine grapes they grow and raise a variety of fruits, vegetables, and animals on their property. They produce a handful of red wines based on nebbiolo and barbera. Their Barbera d’Alba “Per Alessandra” is a fresh, easy drinking everyday red. It is fermented in stainless steel, and caries copious amounts of bright fresh raspberry fruit. Pair this barbera with your next pizza margherita.
appellation: Montecucco, IT
grape varieties: sangiovese, merlot, cabernet sauvignon
Montecucco is a relatively new appellation to southern Tuscany, tucked in between the famed villages of Montalcino (home of Brunello) and Scansano (home of Morellino). The wines here are based on Tuscany’s most famous, though extremely variable red grape: sangiovese. A warmer, drier, coastal-influenced climate yields wines that are much fuller and rounder than the sangiovese produced in Chianti to the north. Il Civettaio is an organic farm in the village of Civitella Paganico, just 25 km inland from the Mediterranean. In addition to its extensive olive groves, the farm has seven hectares of vines, divided into four distinct hillside sites. Poggio il Commessario is a blend of 60% sangiovese, the minimum required in the Montecucco DOC, as well 20% merlot, and 20% cabernet sauvignon from two vineyard sites (one of which bears the same name). The extra time in bottle has given this wine the chance to become a fully mature, deeply flavored and intensely aromatic red. Try it on a cold night with garlicky cannellini bean soup.
appellation: Rioja, ES
grape varieties: tempranillo, garnacha
Bodegas Ontañon is a multi-generational winery with 250 hectares of vineyards sitting high in the Sierra Yerga Mountains outside of the township of Quel, which has been a center of winemaking in Rioja for centuries. Like many wineries in Rioja and elsewhere, Ontañon has a long history of growing grapes that preceded its commercial production of wine. Here we have the estate’s crianza bottling, which was aged for twelve months in a mixture of French and American oak barrels, some new and some old, before an additional year of aging in bottle prior to release. There’s enough intensity from this sun-drenched 2010 vintage to pair with steak, though it wouldn’t overpower lighter foods.
appellation: California, US
grape varieties: syrah, cabernet sauvignon
Winemaker Bill Easton made his name as an original California Rhone Ranger, promoting grape varieties like syrah, grenache, mourvedre, viognier, marsanne, and roussanne when cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay were all anyone wanted to talk about. His wines, most of which come under the “Terre Rouge” moniker, remain benchmarks for Rhone-style wines in California. “House Red” is Easton’s easy-going, southern country red, made with no other purpose in mind than to satisfy the everyday red wine drinker. Surprisingly dry and savory in the context of other Californians in this category, we think of it as the quintessential hamburger wine.