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!
2013 Domaine les Cantates Chignin Bergeron
appellation: Vin de Savoie, France
grape variety: roussanne
Chignin Bergeron is one of the 16 crus of the mountainous Savoie appellation, tucked along France’s eastern Alpine border. These mountainous slopes are perfect for yielding bright, aromatic whites balanced with ample fruit and minerality. Renée Quenard’s family has been producing traditional Savoie wines here for over 300 years, working with the region’s traditional varieties – roussanne and jacquere for whites. The Taittinger family (of Champagne fame) recently purchased the estate and continue to produce regional, traditional wines like this one, of 100% roussanne. Plump and redolent of apricots (which also grow in this region), with classic Savoyarde minerality, this is a great white for cheeses or deep sea scallops.
2014 Dr. F. Weins-Prüm Riesling Feinherb
appellation: Mosel, Germany
grape variety: riesling
Bert Selbach is the current generation of the Weins-Prüm family, whose tiny 4-hectare property was his grandmother’s inheritance from the original Matthias Prüm. Selbach continues to make quietly elegant rieslings here, planned in some of the Mosel’s most well-regarded vineyards. You will notice this bottling is labeled with the term “feinherb” (fine herb). Though not a regulated classification, it denotes a level of sweetness just slightly sweeter than “halbtrocken”. Fear not, sweet wine haters, it is still dry! This wine is above all balanced, and a fantastically friendly example of an already revered vintage. It is a perfect thirst-quenching apéritif for one of these last hot days of summer.
2014 Domaine Faillenc Sainte Marie “Noé”
appellation: Corbières, France
grape variety: carignan
This tiny 8 hectares estate in the Corbières appellation of southwest France has a very long history – built on Roman ruins in the late 1700’s by a French army officer returned from the Indian subcontinent. The Gilbert family now owns the estate, making classic wines for this appellation. This bottling, “Noé” is made of 100% old vine (100 years old) carignan. Inky and wild, you can almost taste the rugged, sun-bleached rocky vineyards it comes from. It’s deep berry-laden, olive-y notes make it a great wine for fuller proteins, or late-summer vegetable dishes like grilled eggplant topped with feta cheese, chopped olives and herbs, and healthy drizzle of olive oil.
2012 Sepp Moser Grüner Veltliner “Schnabel”
appellation: Kremstal Reserve, Austria
grape variety: grüner veltliner
While the Sepp Moser estate was only founded in 1987, few Austrian wineries keep up a longer tradition of viticultural pioneering than Sepp Moser and his son Niklaus. Niki Moser helped usher his father’s estate into biodynamic viticulture, among the first estates in the country to do so. The pinnacle achievement of the estate is represented each vintage in this reserve level grüner from the Schnabel vineyard. A thin layer of gravel is the only barrier before the immense bedrock, forcing the vines to struggle for every bit of energy. The vine’s struggle seems to be marked in the wine’s exotic, spicy aromatic, one that can only come from good grüner. One of our favorite pairings for grüner is an old family recipe of noodles and cabbage (probably also called krautfleckerl. Family recipes don’t work on the internet, so just ask us for the recipe, if you’re interested.
2014 Primitivo Quiles “Cono 4”
grape variety: monastrell (mourvèdre)
Primitivo Quiles is the oldest wine producer in Alicante, and one of the great survival stories in Spanish winemaking. Don Primitivo Quiles established his vineyards and winery in 1780 and has passed the operation along from one Primitivo to the next, generation after generation, to the present day. The Alicante appellation is most famous (was most famous) for Fondillon, a solera-based rancio wine made from monastrell that was revered by monarchs and other rich people all over Europe in its heyday. “Cono 4” is certainly a more modern phenomenon, though its aging in 80-year-old conical foudres recalls some of the aromatics of Fondillon. It’s a hearty, full-throttle red that would be right at home with a steak.
2011 Guido Platinetti Barbera Pieleo
appellation: Colline Novaresi (Piemonte), Italy
grape variety: barbera
Andrea Platinetti is a maniac, and that’s exactly what is needed in these quiet, bucolic, Alpine foothills. A hundred years ago, the hills were covered in vines, with a landscape that looked more like modern-day Barolo than its current overgrown state. Upon first encounter, it’s clear that Andrea’s mind and energy are wholly devoted to the promotion (resuscitation) of his family’s winery and region. He manages a scant five hectares of vineyards that weave up and down some pretty severe wooded inclines. Incesticides and pesticides abolished in favor of more work-intensive organic approaches, and vinification is rooted in tradition without eschewing modern equipment and technology. Here we have the winery’s barbera, which is one of the few examples of this grape north of the Langhe. While the Langhe versions seem to creep up in weight and power year after year, this northern version is a reminder of the barbera’s inherent freshness and effortless palatability. Pizza, pasta, salumi, and other staples apply here.