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: Mosel, Germany
grape variety: riesling
The Kerpen family has been making wine in the village of Wehlen in the middle Mosel for over 250 years. The crown jewel of their tiny property is their 3 hectare parcel in the Sonnenuhr vineyard, which sits directly across the river from the villlage, and has perfect southern exposure that is so vital for riesling’s ripening. This wine is called kabinett, which is the German classification for wine made from grapes which were picked during the main harvest, typically indicating a wine that is lighter and more delicate in body and style- it doesn’t necessarily indicate the wines level of dryness. This kabinett from Kerpen is dry, but not austere. It is nicely balanced between fruit and piercing acidity, and shows all of the sinuous texture of the blue slate of the Sonnenuhr vineyard. Pair this white with sweeter shellfish like mussels or littlenecks, or with anything spicy.
appellation: California, USA
grape variety: vermentino
Paul and Bryan Vais describe themselves as avid at-home cooks, and grew up in a family where wine was always an important part of the family dinner tradition. They started making wine in their garages 25 years ago, and finally established Bailiwick winery in 2009 with the goal of making expressive California wines that are honest, balanced and above all, food friendly. This Vermentino is made with grapes sourced from two vineyard sites in Lake County and Paso Robles. It is fermented and aged in stainless steel to maintain crisp body and lively fruit aromas. They suggest pairing this white with grilled fish - we wholeheartedly agree.
Casal de Arman - Ribeiro
It took the Gonzalez Vasquez family 8 years to restore the 18th century structure that is the heart of the Casal de Arman estate, located on the banks of the Avia river in the Ribeiro DO of Galicia. They now farm about 20 hectares of parcels, many of which have been in their family for generations, and their focus is on local grapes: treixadura, albariño, godello and loureira for whites, and souson, brencellao, and caiño for reds. These indigenous grapes are well suited to the region’s steep terraced river banks, varied soils, and the cool Galician climate - yielding fresh wines of bracing acidity and low alcohol. The family’s meticulous care for their historic vineyard sites has quickly made them one of the standout colleteiros (Gallego term for small estate winemakers) of the region. We have included two of their wines this month:
appellation: Ribeiro, Spain
grape variety: treixadura
“Eira dos Mouros” (translates to “dreams of the moors”)is made of treixadura, which grows particularly well in this part of Galicia where the soils are heavy with granite. Laden with aromas of fleshy peach and pear, and substantial mineral body, this is a bigger white to put up against saltier fare, like grilled squid or clams.
2011 Casal de Arman Ribeiro Tinto
appellation: Ribeiro, Spain
grape variety: souson, brancellao, caiño
An equal parts blend of the above-mentioned varieties, the fruit for Casal de Arman's flagship red wine is fermented and aged in stainless steel, and bottled after about 9 months. Pair this bright, medium bodied red with panzanella topped with a healthy dose of crushed red pepper, or grilled sausage.
appellation: Touraine (Loire), France
grape varieties: côt (malbec), gamay
After graduating from eonoligical school, Olivier Bellanger spent 5 years apprenticing under natural winemaker Phillipe Tessier in the central Loire. In 2008 he purchased his own tiny property in his hometown of Monthou-sur-Chere, and immediately converted it to organic practices. On his ten hectares Olivier grows a variety of grapes: côt, gamay, pinot d’aunis, cabernet franc and sauvignon blanc. In his cellar, which was carved deep into a hillside long before his time, Olivier is patient and hands off. All of the wines are naturally fermented and aged in fiberglass and old neutral oak. The two varieties are fermented separately - the gamay in fiberglass and the côt in oak, and then blended before bottling, with just a little bit of SO2 for stability. Vivacious and taut with lovely red fruit from the gamay and an underlying mineral tension from the côt. This will satisfy in the summer with a slight chill, straight on into the cooler fall months ahead.
appellation: Beaujolais, France
grape variety: gamay
Bernard Vallette’s family property is located in Lachassagne, just south of Brouilly, in the southern part of Beaujolais. He has 6.5 hectares planted to gamay which he has farmed biodynamically since 2006. All of the vineyard work is done by hand, which is made more difficult by Vallette’s dense planting. By densely planting the vines, the plants have to struggle for resources, increasing the plants rigor and resulting in lower, but more quality yields. The wines are all fermented with wild yeasts, and bottled with the smallest addition of sulfur. Though carbonically macerated, this gamay is way more than just juicy juice. It is vervy and bright with subtle fleshy structure behind friendly berry fruit, a perfect alternative to sip alongside your next grilled pizza. (By the way, grill your pizza!)