Monthly Pass – January 2015

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!

FullSizeRender (7)Schreckbichl-Colterenzio “Weisshaus”

appellation: Alto Adige, Italy
grape variety: weissburgunder (pinot bianco)

The province of Alto Adige is Italy’s smallest and most northern reaching wine region, sitting high in the Tyrolean Alps on Italy’s border with Austria. The steep, granite-rich Alpine slopes are perfect for growing a variety of white grapes, and yield crisp white wines characterized by bright fruit and bracing minerality. Schreckbichl-Colterenzio is a cooperative winery based in the village of the same name (Schreckbichl in German, Colterenzio in Italian) in the northern part of the province. Established in 1960 by 30 small growers, the cooperative now has 300 contributing members, and produces an array of wines, primarily white. This pinot bianco is sourced from one estate’s  particular parcel of 40-year-old vines, called “Weisshaus” (white house). Fermentation takes place in stainless steel and neutral oak barrels, and then the wine is blended before aging and bottling. This white is aromatic and bright, and it’s subtle structure make it a white that can easily stand up to richer dishes, like pork or creamy cheeses.

FullSizeRender (12)2013 Abadia de la Oliva Garnacha Blanca

appellation: IGP3 Riberas
grape variety: garnacha blanca

A few months ago we introduced you to the red sibling of this wine, made by Cistercian monks of the 12th century Monasterio de la Oliva in Novara, just east of Rioja in northeast Spain. The oldest continuously operating winery in Spain also makes a riveting white wine from garnacha blanca (grenache blanc). Like the red, it is fermented in the traditional way in cement tanks, with native yeasts. The result is white that is naturally full-bodied and aromatic, with fleshy, succulent aromas of ripe pear and melon. Pair this white with bigger winter fish dishes like salt baked bass, or a plate of Spanish cheeses and marcona almonds.

FullSizeRender (9)2013 Domaine de Pallus “Messanges Rouge”

appellation: Chinon, France
grape variety: cabernet franc

Bertrand Sourdais is the fifth generation of winemakers at his family’s estate in Chinon, but he cut his teeth far away from the Loire in Spain’s Ribera del Duero, making wines with nearly extinct clones of tempranillo. In 2003, he returned to the Chinon to take over the estate upon his father’s retirement. Since his return, he has worked to convert the estate’s 18 hectares of land to organic and then biodynamic practices, and focuses his cuvées on the terroir of his various vineyard sites. The grapes used for this cuvée are macerated for five days and aged in concrete for six months. The result is a  soft, almost chewy wine, with abundant bright red fruit and a clean, stony finish that make it dangerously easy drinking. Pair this cabernet franc with chalky Loire valley goat cheeses,  or lighter proteins like roast chicken.

FullSizeRender (10)2013 Ampelaia “Unlitro”

appellation: Costa Toscana, Italy
grape varieties: alicante

We’ve long followed the wines of Elisabetta Foradori from her family’s estate in Dolomite Alps of Trentino. Elisabetta and two friends founded Ampelaia ten years ago with the idea of exploring the terroir of Maremma, and a particular focus on the handful of red grape varieties which Elisabetta describes as “natives to the Mediterranean Basin” (the coastal areas of Italy, France and Spain) – namely alicante bouschet, mourvedre, carignan, cabernet franc, grenache, and sangiovese. “Un Litro” is Ampeleia’s table wine, meant to be charming and fresh, full of all the inviting flavors that grenache(alicante) and carignan are so loved for. Biodynamically farmed fruit, fermented and aged briefly in cement before being bottled in its own adorable squat liter bottle. Pair with pizza and a table full of friends.

FullSizeRender (11)2011 Später-Veit Piesporter Goldtröpfchen Kabinett

appellation: Mosel, Germany
grape variety: riesling

Heinz and Silvia Welter farm 7 hectares in and around the famous village of Piesport in the Mosel, mostly on steep slate slopes. The winery’s name is a combination of Silvia’s maiden name (Später) and that of her mother (Veit), one of Piesport’s oldest winegrowing families. Heinz took over winemaking from Silvia’s father in 1988 and has continued the tradition of domaine-bottling wines from top sites such as Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, Domherr, Grafenberg and Falkenberg – all from the grand Piesport slope. The dominating feature of the Piesport vineyards is their Devonian, finely-weathered slate, which gives birth to opulent wines that are finely balanced by generous minerality and acidity. The amphitheater-shaped Piesporter Goldtröpfchen’s vineyards all enjoy southeast-to southwest-facing expositions, with deep clay and slate soils before reaching rock. “Lots of underground springs run throughout it,” says Heinz. He prefers spontaneous fermentation and all wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks before spending a short time in traditional Fuder before bottling, to help settle the wines and provide a touch of roundness.

FullSizeRender (8)2012 Domaine de la Damase Grenache

appellation: Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, France
grape variety: grenache

This wine took a circuitous route to find its way to our shop, starting in the village of Violès, a small village in front of the iconic Dentelles de Montmirails in the southern Rhone Valley. Sonoma-based winemaker Kenny Likitprakong of Hobo Wines (Camp, Folk Machine, Banyan, etc..) somehow befriended the young fifth generation winemaker Sébastien Latour, who spent a year working for Likitprakong in Santa Cruz. Likitprakong now imports this wine to California, from where it is shipped to Massachusetts along with his own wines. The modern-looking label is a departure from the traditional (read: terrible!) labels adorning Damase’s domestic releases, and is a direct result of this import relationship. We’ve been on this wine for a couple vintages now, and keep coming back for its deep, high-impact texture without the slightest hint of overripe fruit.

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