Monthly Pass – May 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!


2012 Stefano Antonucci (Azienda Santa Barbara) “Pignocco”

appellation: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Italy
grape variety: verdicchio

Stefano Antonucci was difficult to miss at VinItaly with what might be the loudest rainbow-plaid sports jacket ever made. The philosophy of his estate seemingly couldn’t be further from his outlandish appearance. They work with the premise that nobody has innate knowledge of winemaking, and that every vintage represents a new learning opportunity for all involved. They are committed to the favored local varieties of the Marche region, namely verdicchio and montepulciano, but they also enjoy exploring the possibilities of French grapes, and have planted cabernet, merlot, and syrah, among others. To the west of The Castle of Barbara, on the top of a hill, surrounded by vineyards, there is a little church with dazzling white plaster baroques. There by its side stood a towering pine with a rounded mane of foliage, known in local lore as the “Pignocco”.  This subtle, mineral-driven verdicchio makes friends easily with anything from the sea.


2014 Domaine Petroni Rosé

appellation: Corse, France
grape varieties: niellucciu, sciaccarellu, grenache

The Corsican dialect might throw you off, but the island’s sun drenched, wind-swept hillsides yield wines that are both charming and characterful. This rosé is from Domaine Petroni, located along Lake Diana on the islands’ east coast. It is a blend of Niellucciu (sangiovese), Sciaccarellu (mammolo – another central Italian grape), and Grenache. Like much of southwestern France, Corsica is known for its Maquis, the hardy shrubs that cover the rocky countryside – including wild lavender and thyme. Those same subtle herbaceous aromas come through in this rosé, complimenting its flavors of wild strawberries and salty mineral finish. For a real Corsican pairing, try this with Saveur du Maquis, a semi-soft Corsican sheep milk cheese whose exterior is rubbed with dried lavender, thyme, and rosemary.


2014 Domaine de Pallus Messanges Rosé

appellation: Chinon, France
grape varieties: cabernet franc

We included a red Chinon from Bertrand Sourdais in the pass a few months ago, but we couldn’t resist offering you rosé, which arrived conveniently just in time for spring! Like all the wines made at Domaine de Pallus, his family’s estate in the central Loire valley, this rosé is made from 100% cabernet franc. Since he took over after his father’s retirement in 2003, Bertrand has converted the estate to biodynamic farming practices, and bottles his wines according to each particular vineyard site. Tart and lively with stony minerality and a satisfying note of strawberries and watermelon rind, this is a rosé for lighter goat cheeses, grilled spring vegetables or mediterranean white fish like sea bass.


2012 Castel Sallegg Bischofsleiten

appellation: Alto Adige, Italy
grape variety: schiava

Castel Sallegg has produced wine commercially since the middle of the 19th century, on the slopes of Alto Adige, in full view of the majestic Alps. This month we feature schiava, a light red with pleasant, subtle strawberry and raspberry aromas. Schiava finds its greatest expression on the western side of Lake Caldaro where, trained in the traditional pergola system, grapes can achieve maximum ripeness and expression. The wine undergoes twelve days of maceration and fermentation in stainless steel followed by six months aging in large Slavonian oak. Bischofsleiten, or Bishop’s Slope, is a vineyard named for its founder, the Bishop of Trento, and is considered by many area producers to be the zone’s best site. Try schiava with a slight chill, paired with light, warm-weather dishes.


(2013) Charles Helfenbein “La Syrah.”

appellation: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes, France
grape varieties: syrah

Syrah reigns supreme on the steeply terraced, granite rich slopes of the northern Rhone river valley. This terroir is to syrah what the village hillsides of Burgundy are to pinot noir (and these days the wines can be just as expensive). Charles Helfenbein is a newcomer to the area and a welcome addition, with his delicious, naturally-made, reasonably-priced reds. Helfenbein took over his uncle’s holdings in the Ardeche after completing his oenology and viticulture degrees, making his first vintage in 2007. He bottles four different syrahs from parcels in the Brézème, St. Julien-en-St. Alban, Drôme, and Collines Rhodaniennes appellations, as well as a single Viognier. This bottle is full of the variety’s hallmark floral aromas and easy drinking purple fruit.  Versatile for all sorts of proteins, and light enough to enjoy with firmer cheeses and salumi.


2011 Quinta do Infantado Douro Tinto

appellation: Douro, Portugal
grape variety: tinta roriz, touriga francesa, touriga nacional

Prior to 1986, the British monopoly on Port required that all exported Ports be sent in bulk to Vila Nova de Gaia, 60 miles west of the Douro Valley, where they were bottled and shipped. This practice effectively prevented small private producers from exporting their wines, since the cost of running an operation in another town was prohibitive for these vineyard owners. In 1986 the laws were changed and Quinta do Infantado, who were already making their own wines, were amongst the first to begin exporting their wines. Here we have the somewhat modern phenomenon of a dry table wine made from the same steeply terraced vines that produce the estate’s flight of Ports. All work in the vineyards is done by hand, and they remain committed to the old, labor-intensive method of stomping the grapes by foot in stone lagares. This is a hearty, full-bodied red that’s primed and ready for the first barbecue of the year.

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