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: Valdelajòn, Spain
grape variety: macabeo
Frontonio is named after Saint Frontonio, the patrón saint of Épila, a town in Valdejalón, North-East Spain, where the wines are produced. Legend has it that Saint Frontonio was beheaded by the Romans and his head was thrown into the River Ebro near Zaragoza. Miraculously, his head was later found going upstream along the banks of the River in Épila. An apt name for this limited production wines from a micro-winery that also goes against the tide, using only grapes from 35ha of low-yielding, un-irrigated vines from an almost unknown area – I.G.P. Valdejalón, vinified with the minimum of fuss using traditional foot pressing and indigenous yeasts, in concrete tanks in a garage in Épila, Aragón. Just under 350 cases of this 100% macabeo were produced. Try it with some upstream-swimming fish like salmon or trout.
What more is there to say about verdicchio? A mainstay in the shop, and a variety we've featured here on multiple occasions, we turn to it time and again for its ease, interest, and versatility. ColleStefano produces one of the best examples of Verdicchio di Matelica, from the province of Macerata. Farming organically for over 20 years, the Marchionni family has earned many accolades for their anything-but-basic white, including winning the prestigious Tre Bicchieri award five times. By now you probably know what to do with this green-tinged white, but for starters, you could do worse than pairing with clam shack seafood.
appellation: Touraine (Loire), France
grape varieties: gamay, cabernet franc, côt
Thierry Delauney manages his family’s 21 hectare estate just south of Tours, in the central Loire. Here, on the banks of the Cher river, Delauney benefits from a wide range of soil types in a small space. He takes advantage of this, growing his red grapes on the flinty clay soils, and his whites on the finer, less stony soils. He bottles according to vineyard sites to highlight this wide range of terroir, and the result is a lively portfolio of wines. This rose is make of roughly equal parts gamay, cabernet franc, and malbec (known in these parts as côt). Zippy and bright with loads of red currant aromas and clean raspberry fruit on the palate, this is just one more pink wine to fall in love with this summer. It's hard work, but someone has to do it.
appellation: Mâcon Pierreclos, France
grape variety: gamay
Helene Thevenet and her three sons manage her late husband’s small family estate in Pierreclos, a small village in the heart of the Mâconnais. In addition to tending their own 30 hectares of vineyards, which stretch around the village, the family also runs a small vine nursery, supplying high quality vines to many family run estates in Burgundy and Champagne. In this southern-most part of Burgundy, gamay is still widely planted and allowed by the local AOC. This bottling is 100% gamay, and a fine example of what a long, sunny growing season and “ripe” vintage and Burgundy can be, supple and concentrated, with clear bright red fruit and plump acidity.
appellation: Grignolino d'Asti (Piedmont), Italy
grape varieties: grignolino
Agostino Pavia’s estate is located in the village Agliano Terme, in the Asti DOC of the southern Piedmont. In a region where nebbiolo rules supreme, Asti is one region where barbera is allowed to shine. In addition to multiple versions of barbera (two of which we've featured in the shop), Pavia makes a fantastic bottling of another unsung local grape: grignolino. Thin skinned and delicate, but loaded with strawberry and rhubarb fruit, bright acidity, and easy drinking body, you could make the case that this is the Italian “ Beaujolais” - and we can’t argue. Chill for a few minutes, and put alongside your favorite slice of pizza.
grape variety: cabernet sauvignon
To help kick off barbecue season, we've included a gutsy Chilean cabernet. We'd love to tell you more about the producer or the vineyard he manages, but we've hit a brick wall on information. What struck us about this wine is its fresh blackberry and cassis fruit, left bare in this case -- no new oak, no razzle-dazzle, and no additives. In that sense, it's quite unique in the world of New World cabernet in general, and Chilean cabernet in particular. We still think this would easily make friends in an outdoor setting with grilled meats and vegetables.