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!
2016 ViniBio “Mica”
appellation: Vinho Verde, Portugal
grape varieties: arinto, azal, loureiro
ViniBio is a small cooperative of organic and biodynamic growers in Vinho Verde, the northernmost region of Portugal. The weather in this corner of the country is heavily influenced by the Atlantic, with cooler temperatures and plenty of rain. Coupled with its heavily granitic soil, this is a perfect region for creating mineral driven, clean bright whites. Mica is the flagship wine of this cooperative, made with local white grapes loureiro, azal, arinto grown in the Tamega and Sousa Valleys. Loaded with bright citrus and green apple notes and bracing mineral texture, this white can rival the Muscadets and sauvignon blancs in your fridge for its refreshing personality. Pair with the last sunny afternoons of the season, or some garlicky steamed shellfish.
Custoza is a small village and appellation tucked in the rolling hills between Verona and Lake Garda. The DOC here is devoted entirely to white white wine, made from a blend of local grapes garganega, bianca fernanda (local name for cortese), trebbiano, and trebbianello (local name for friulano). This estate was established in 1971, and in addition to the region’s traditional whites, also produces of range of reds in the neighboring Bardolino DOC. A later harvest amplifies the body in this bottling, but a cool, slow fermentation in stainless steel locks in its freshness and ample aromatics. This is a white for cozy, filling dish for early fall, like a simple risotto with saffron.
appellation: Piedmont, Italy
grape varieties: nebbiolo, barbera, dolcetto
It’s no secret that we have a deep love for Vajra family wines – from their most prestigious Barolo on down the line. In fact, we loved this rosato so much last year that we bought the entire state’s allocation! The family estate is currently shepherded by brother and sister Giuseppe and Francesca, the 3th generation of the family to manage the now 40 hectares of vines in and around the hills of Barolo. Their style is distinct, with an emphasis on aromatics and purity of fruit, and judicious, only traditional use of large botti for barrel aging. In addition to nebbiolo, the family also grows dolcetto, barbera, pinot nero, freisa, riesling, and moscato d’asti. Their rosato is about 60% nebbiolo, with equal parts of barbera and dolcetto. With high acidity and heady fruit aromatics, this is a rosato for food! Try with a simple salad and grilled fish, or a light pasta dish.
appellation: Sicily, Italy
grape varieties: nero d’avola
The New York based importer Indie Wineries produces a lineup of wines under their own label, using wines from their producers that don’t make it into the estate wines. Here we have a nero d’avola from Corrado Gurrieri of Tenuta La Favola, whose certified organic vineyards in Noto are an exercise in biodiversity. Here’s a classic nero d’avola that we’d be delighted to pair with grilled artichokes or pasta alla norma, of course using the freshest Sicilian eggplants you can find.
appellation: Corse-Calvi, France
grape varieties: syrah, grenache, mourvèdre
High in the foothills of Monte Grossu mountain, inland from Calvi, lies the granite plateau of Reginu, an area long known for U Vinu di E Prove – the wine of the Prove, as the micro-climate is known. The particularity of the plateau is the exposition to hot and dry daytime temperatures with high altitude cool nights, all within a short distance from the sea and regular maritime winds. The plateau has been continuously used for vine and olive growing for centuries, and was once the site of a major olive pressing operation that supplied a large part of France with its olive oil. In 1945, when the owner of the olive oil mill packed up and moved his operation to colonial Algeria is search of bigger land and greater profits, Roger Maestracci saw a golden opportunity and moved in. The departing olive oil baron had left behind a massive concrete structure with walls so thick the air inside stayed cool year round. Originally used to house the mill and the pressed oil, Roger adapted the structure for old wooden casks and concrete tanks and set about replanting vines on the property. Within a few years the domaine had established a firm reputation in the area and when it came time for Roger to retire in the early 1980’s he passed along the reigns of the domaine to his son-in-law, Michel Raoust, who still runs the domaine today. A field blend of the estate’s younger vines, this youthful, fruity red is the perfect accompaniment to the peak of late summer harvest.
grape variety: blaufränkisch
Eisenberg is a famous wine town in the southern Burgenland, long known for producing distinctively mineral reds made from the variety blaufränkisch. Mathias Jalits is a philosophically traditional winemaker, entrusting his wines to the knowledge of the previous generations’ centuries of vintages. That “Eisenberg” translates to “iron mountain” seems to make sense in tasting this wine, as you’ll find an intensely ferrous, mineral core providing structure for its ample, muscular flesh. This is a wine for red meat, if there ever was one!