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: Saint-Bris, FR
grape variety: sauvignon blanc
Saint-Bris is a small appellation just southwest of Chablis, in the northernmost section of Burgundy. Saint-bris is the only white wine appellation in Burgundy permitted to grow sauvignon blanc, instead of chardonnay or aligoté. The vineyards here sit on an ancient bed of fossilized seashells, called the Kimmeridgian Ridge, which continues west, into the soils of the famed villages of Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre in the Eastern Loire. Hervé Azo first arrived in Chablis in the mid 70’s, when he came to help harvest, and never returned to his Paris advertising job. For the past thirty years he has been making elegant, expressive chardonnays from his property in Chablis, in addition to this Saint Bris. Great to pair with goat cheese, light fish preparations, and vegetables.
appellation: Wagram, AT
grape variety: grüner veltiner
With the rise in recognition of lower Austrian wines in recent years, Wagram has had trouble keeping pace with the great wines of Wachau, Kamptal, and Kremstal. Formerly known as Donauland, Wagram lies sandwiched between those three famous regions and the winemaking city of Wien (Vienna), yet their reputation seems to get lumped together with the northernmost wines of the Weinviertel, most of which are produced in bulk. Anton Bauer is a small, quality-minded producer who bottles five of his grüners as expressions of a single vineyard, starting with his largest production, Gmörk. We remain convinced that the wines of Austria still aren’t getting the appreciation they deserve (as you might have noticed by our repeated inclusion in this program). This is a supremely versatile white that’s great to drink on its own or with just about anything to eat.
appellation: Chiroubles, FR
grape varieties: gamay
Chiroubles is one of the ten Crus Beaujolais, framed by Morgon to the east and Fleurie to the south. Its vineyards are higher in elevation than most in Beaujolais, typically producing wines that emphasize levity, floral aromas, and youthful drink-ability. Fabien Collonge is part of the new generation of winemakers in Beaujolais, though he follows in the footsteps of generations of winemaking in his own family. From his modest estate, Collonge produces just this one wine from his family’s vineyards. The season to drink Beaujolais in great quantities has begun!
appellation: Chinon, FR
grape variety: cabernet franc
The farmhouse and attached vineyards have been in the Grosbois family since the early 1800’s. Nicolas took control of the winemaking in 2005 (at the ripe old age of 29!). He completed organic certification for the property in 2010, and is now converting to completely biodynamic processes. Grosbois’ nine-hectare domaine sits on top of a hill overlooking the village of Chinon, and is divided according to their soil types into thirteen unique plots. Four wines are produced each vintage, all fermented with indigenous yeast and all but one aged in concrete tanks. “Ladycab” is produced from 50-year-old vines growing in calcareous sandy-clay soils. At 11% alcohol, it is as charming as its name implies, with soft, lush raspberry fruit, and clear mineral finish.
appellation: Bardolino, IT
grape varieties: corvina, rondinella
Matilde Poggi makes the wines at Le Fraghe in Bardolino, a small appellation nestled into the hills between Lake Garda and Verona in the Veneto. Martilde grew up playing in the family vineyards, and learned about winemaking at her father’s knee. She explains her approach to winemaking in classic Italian style – with a metaphor about food. For Martilde winemaking is like making a recipe. Each time she harvests and makes a vintage, she learns something new, and she applies it the following year. Her recipe for Bardolino is 80% Corvina, and 20% Rondinella — the inverse of the usual blend. The varieties are fermented separately and then blended and aged in stainless steel tanks until the following spring. The result: an aromatic glass full dark berry fruit and a touch of spice. This wine is perfect for a plate of tagliatelle with mushrooms and sage, or a hunk of young mountain cheese.
appellation: Potomje Pelješac, HR
grape variety: plavac mali
Dingač is a 77-year-old, 300-member cooperative on the southern Croatian peninsula of Pelješac, which stretches 40 miles into the Adriatic sea nearly parallel to the Dalmatian coast. The area is the first designated protected area for winemaking in Croatia. Plavac mali is an offspring of zinfandel, and is grown up and down the peninsula and much of mainland Croatia. The vineyards are so steep in some places as to prevent the use of tractors, thus the proud donkey on the label. A typical regional pairing would be wood-fired sardines, though a variety of strong-flavored foods would be suitable. This wine made news last year, as a Boston Globe tasting panel declared it one of the top wines in the “Plonkapalooza” article, an annual survey of wines $15 and under.