Monthly Pass – July 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!

IMG_40042013 Bera “Arcese”

appellation: Piemonte, Italy
grape varieties: arneis, favorita, cortese, sauvignon blanc

Alessandra and her brother Luigi are the current generation of Beras to farm their family estate in San Antonio di Canelli, just east of Barbaresco in the historic heart of moscato country. The area was first planted to moscato grapes in the middle ages by the crusading Knights of Malta. The  Bera family has owned the property since 1785 and was the first to estate bottle their moscato in the Serra Masio area. Little has changed in the past two centuries, all of the vineyard work is organic, the harvest done by hand, and the fermentations done spontaneously with indigenous yeasts. “Arcese” is a blend of arneis, favorita, cortese, and sauvignon blanc (the name is a mash-up of the four). Crisp, aromatic, and bright, with pretty notes of pear, this white works well as an apéritif or with fresh summer vegetable dishes and light cheeses.

IMG_40062014 Château de la Selve “Maguelonne”

appellation: IGP Coteaux de l’Ardèche, France
grape varieties: grenache, cinsault, syrah

The towering Château de la Selve sits on the banks of the Chassezac river, one of the main Rhone tributaries that cuts across the Ardèche in the northern Rhone. The fortress was built in the 13th century as a border outpost of the French kingdom. Jean-Regis Chazellon and his wife purchased the property in 1990, and in 2002, their son Benoît took over management of the domain, restored the vineyards, and constructed the cellar. The estate has 40 hectares of vines planted to grenache, syrah, cinsault, merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and viognier, which are certified biodynamic since 2009. This rosé is a blend of 40% grenache, 40% cinsault, and 20%, made in concrete tank. Delicately pink with strawberry fruit aromas and a subtle flowery note, this is a great rosé for cheese and charcuterie, or grilled summer squash.

IMG_40052013 Clos Centeilles “La Part des Anges”

appellation: Pierrevert, France
grape varieties: cinsault, grenache, syrah, vermentino

Patricia Domergue is the intrepid lady behind the wines of Clos Centeilles, a small estate nestled in La Livinière, the vineyard jewel in the crown of Minervois, in the western corner of the Languedoc. Besides running her 14 hectare estate, she is the president of the board of the local Cru, and she is active in recovering and replanting lost Languedoc varieties like araignan blanc, reveirenc gris, and reveirenc blanc. She produces a total of nine different wines – mostly red blends based on old vine Carignan, as well as one white and this rose. “La Part des Anges” is Patricia’s retort to the ubiquitous pale rosés of southern France. Noticeably darker and heartier than the typical Provençal style, she calls it a “claret”, which is a somewhat archaic word used to describe a light red. It is made of two-thirds old vine carignan and one-third picpoul noir, another of the varieties which Patricia has almost single-handedly rescued and re-propagated. The wine spends one night under carbonic maceration, yielding its intense red hue while still keeping fresh, lively acidity and bright fruit notes. This is a rose for anything on the grill, especially stronger-flavored local fish like mackerel or bluefish.

IMG_40012014 Luyt “Pipeño” Santa Juana

appellation: Biobio Valley, Chile
grape variety: paìs

Before we talk about Louis-Antoine Luyt and his exploits in Chile, we have to talk about Chilean wine in general. There has been wine in this part of the world for centuries, in fact before there was wine in California, there was wine in Chile. We can then skip ahead to the end of the 20th century, when the American (and British) thirst for cheap merlot, cabernet, and chardonnay let to the planting of millions of industrial-farmable vines throughout the myriad valleys descending from the Andes. This is more or less what we now know as Chilean wine. Now to M. Luyt, a man of Burgundian descent who moved at age 22 to Chile to polish up his Spanish language skills. He worked in restaurants in Santiago, got the wine bug, and flew back to France to learn how to make natural wine with Matthieu Lapierre in Morgon, before returning to Chile to start his own venture. He has chosen as his muse the variety paìs, which is the grape first brought to Chile all those centuries ago. Remarkably, the vines for “Pipeño” are 150-200 years old. This truly unique liter of guzzlable red is perfect for warm summer night parties.

IMG_40022013 Domaine des Escavarailles “Les Sabliéres”

appellation: Côtes du Rhone, France
grape varieties: grenache, syrah

This family run estate is based in the Rasteau appellation of the southern rhone, just north of Gigondas.  It gets its name from the Occitan word for the scarab beetle, and also the cheeky nickname for the black-robed monks who inhabited monestaries in this region centuries ago. What sets the Ferran’s property apart from its neighbors is its high hillside position, and vine age, which average between 35-50 estate wide.  The estate’s steeply  terraced south-facing vineyards are positioned high up on hillsides, and their oblique exposition open the vines cooling breezes, allowing the grenache to ripen slowly and stay bright and balanced. This cuvee is 70% grenache and 30% syrah from more sandy soiled parcels. Vinification is done separately in stainless steel tanks, and then the syrah spends some time in barrel, while the grenache is aged further in tanks before blending. This is a heartier red, perfect for richer grill options like charred flank steak with flame roasted peppers.

IMG_40032014 Brack Mountain Wine Company “The Boatman”

appellation: California, USA
grape varieties: alicante bouschet, merlot, malbec, cabernet sauvignon, petit syrah

Brack Mountain Winery was established in 2008 as a “new generation” winery. They call themselves this because of their focus on sustainably produced, handmade wines with specific California personalities that each reflect their own terroir. They source their fruit from sustainably farmed vineyard sites all over the Sonoma, Napa, and Anderson Valleys, and the Santa Lucia Highlands. In total they produce 15 different wines, each under a different label. The fruit for the oddly named “Boatman” is sourced from the Sierra foothills, Mendocino and  Amador County, and Lodi.  Fermentation is spontaneous and done in temperature controlled tanks, after which the wine spends a short time in barrel before being bottled. The result is an inviting, medium bodied wine with appealing aromas of juicy berry fruit and flowers.  Perhaps this is the new go-to pizza wine?

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