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: Štajerska, SI
grape variety: pinot grigio
Yes, pinot grigio. But this ain't Barefoot, and it ain't Santa Margarita. We're talking skin-macerated, copper-hued wine from the northern hills of Slovenia, just south of Austria, in the region of Lower Styria. Ptujsak Klet is the oldest cellar in the area, with winemaking records dating back to the 13th century. They also claim to have the oldest living vine, at 400 years old! 85% of the production is devoted to white wine, exploiting the wealth of varietal complexity found in the region. Try this pinot grigio with grilled fish or shellfish.
appellation: Côtes du Roussillon, FR
grape varieties: grenache blanc, grenache gris, macabeu
It would only be expected that when a big name like Chapoutier enters a new region, a big splash would ensue. This is true with Domaine de Bila-Haut, already one of the larger holdings in the countryside descending from the hilltop town of Latour de France, where Chapoutier's facility is located. As with the bulk of vineyards bearing the Chapoutier mark, these vines are managed organically with biodynamic principles. We feel this little white is a standout in the Bila-Haut lineup right now, over-delivering in intensity of flavor and varietal character. A perfect accompaniment to summer salads and grilled vegetables.
appellation: Pfalz, DE
grape variety: riesling
Weingut Karl Pfaffmann is a multi-generational family in the Pfalz region of Germany that makes a full range of white, rosé, red, and sparkling wines. At our recent summer of riesling kick-off event, this dry riesling was the top-seller. Whereas some rieslings made in the trocken style can feel austere, or even devoid of fruit, this has a that classic apricot/peach riesling aromatic presence. Try it with takeout from Cafe Beirut!
appellation: Fronton, FR
grape varieties: negrette, syrah
We had the opportunity to visit winemaker and co-owner Katia Garrouste in January, when this rosé was still finishing its fermentation. We also tasted last year's, which was just as fresh and vibrant as can be, which suggests that maybe putting aside a bottle or two of this vintage might be a good idea. The local specialty of Fronton, negrette shares some genetic material with malbec, though the relation seems distant. Whereas malbec from nearby Cahors is often be heavy and tannic, negrette feels fresh and bright enough to be possibly confused for something from the Loire Valley. Though richer and darker than a Provençal-style rosé, these were equally as refreshing, with abundant strawberry, grapefruit, and a sprinkle of black pepper. A perfectly pleasing patio-pounder, this also makes a great accompaniment to a cheese plate, especially one that features a brebis (sheep's milk).
appellation: Pfalz, DE
grape varieties: dornfelder
Two German wines in the Pass for the first time this month, and both from the Pfalz, no less! Chillable red alert! For whatever reason, dornfelder has failed to make any significant impression on drinkers outside of Germany, thus the lack of mention of the grape anywhere on this bottle. In fact, much about this particular wine is shrouded in mystery. Most significantly, who made it? While we ponder these and other existential questions, we'll mention that this is a full liter of wine. 33% more fun per bottle.
appellation: Tenerife - Abona (Canary Islands), ES
grape varieties: castellana negra, cabernet sauvignon, listan negro
Tenerife is the largest and most populous of the seven Canary Islands, an archipelago off the Moroccan coast belonging to Spain. A fascinating grape varietal landscape exists throughout the Canaries. There is a long history of producing wine here for export, though these days most of the wine produced has been consumed by visiting tourists, until a recent surge in renewed international interest. Here we have a red blend with a recognizable "island wine" feel, which is to say generous and juicy on the mid-palate, with a well-defined, breezy acidity. Look no further for a red to pair with seafood!