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!
2014 Buil & Giné “Nosis”
appellation: Rueda, Spain
grape variety: verdejo
Rueda is a landlocked appellation in the north-central part of Spain, situated along and just south of the steep slopes of the Duero river. Vines flourish here because the stony, sand and clay rich soils act like AC units for the vines, holding the cool air from nighttime temperature lows to help the plants survive the hot sunny days. The results are lively, fresh whites with fully developed fruit aromas, yet no baked flavors – just fresh, crisp palates with abundant acidity. The verdejo used to make this wine comes from a single vineyard of 35-year-old vines called Fuente la Miel (translates to “source of the honey” – isn’t that charming?). Lively and crisp, with tropical fruit aromas of passionfruit, and a clean, lip-smacking acid-driven palate, this white has the body to stand up to more substantial savory dishes, like garlicky shrimp, a hunk of manchego cheese, or a plate of jamón.
2015 Il Corzanello Rosato
appellation: Toscana, Italy
grape varieties: sangiovese, canaiolo
Originally from Switzerland, the Gelpke family settled in Tuscany in 1969, purchasing the Corzano estate, and five years later, the Paterno estate. A short distance south of Florence, the two estates make up around 140 hectares of stunning rolling hills. Management of the wine business is truly a family affair, with the patriarch’s daughter Arianna Gelpke making the wine and his nephew, Aljoscha Goldschmidt leading the work in the vineyards. Much criticism is made of foreign investors influencing the local Tuscan traditions, but with the current generation having been born and raised in these vineyards, the Gelpke clan should be considered immune. ‘Joshi’s wife Antonia Ballarin is locally famous for he production of cheese from the family’s flock of Sardinia sheep, which is reputed to be one of the best in the region, and is thus scantly divided among a small number of local restaurateurs and purveyors. This is our first vintage of “Il Corzanello” Rosato, which is a gentle, generous wine that ought to be enjoyed with some sheep’s milk cheese, olives, salumi…
2015 Lelièvre Gris de Toul
appellation: Côtes de Toul (Lorraine), France
grape varieties: gamay, pinot noir
Roughly half way between Champagne and Alsace, in a straight line between Paris and Strasbourg, is the Côtes de Toul. Though vineyards were first planted here by the Romans, winemaking rose to importance during the Renaissance, thanks to the Dukes of Lorraine and the Bishops of Toul. Competition from warmer regions, the Phylloxera epidemic, bad planting decisions, the Franco Prussian War, and the delimitation of Champagne (Lorraine grapes were previously allowed) all contributed to the almost complete demise of commercial winemaking. In 1998, promotion from VDQS to full AOC was granted, thanks to the work and perseverance of a handful of founding estates, including the Lelievre family. Now in its third generation, Lelievre is run by brothers Vincent and David, who tend to just less than 19 hectares. Both still and sparkling rosé are imported to the U.S., both predominantly gamay in cépage. As lush as a Provençal rosé with a bit more savory tang, we’d like to pair this with chicken or delicately flavored fish with fresh spring alliums like ramps and chives.
2014 Osvaldo Barberis Valdiba’
appellation: Dogliani, Italy
grape variety: dolcetto
Osvaldo Barberis is a tiny family estate in the Dogliani, an appellation in the western part of the Langhe in southern Piedmont. By tiny we mean tiny – just 7 hectares planted to dolcetto, the main grape of the Dogliani, and 2 hectares of nebbiolo and barbera. This dolcetto comes from the Valdiba’ sub-zone, which might be familiar to you, as the Valdiba’ from San Fereolo was a shop favorite for a long time until the distribution changed and the price went way up. Made in stainless steel, Barberis’ version is intentionally light and easy-going, with a charming nose of purple flowers, fresh plums and berry fruit. A clear winner for pizza, semi firm cow’s milk cheeses like Toma Ala and Fontina, or light pastas.
2014 Poggio Trevvalle “Passera”
appellation: Morellino di Scansano, Italy
grape variety: sangiovese
Umberto Valle was in town this week paying visits to some of his supporters, though his visits were a little shorter than normal. Weather conditions in Tuscany were nothing short of terrible, which meant that they decided to bottle only one Morellino di Scansano. This is obviously a financial hit to the winery, but one that a conscientious winemaker has to make in these circumstances. The silver lining, we believe, is that “Passera” has benefited from the incorporation of the fruit from the estates older vines, leading to a more developed aromatic presence. Still light and fresh, as it was only aged in steel and concrete before bottling, you wouldn’t guess that this wine is the result of such a bad vintage. Try “Passera” with a simple pasta with mushrooms or fresh fava beans.
2012 Château du Hureau “Tuffe”
appellation: Saumur-Champigny, France
grape variety: cabernet franc
We don’t have much to say about this wine, other than that it serves as another reminder that Loire Valley cabernet franc remains one of the most under-appreciated, undervalued wines in the world. Drink this with burgers, barbecue or baloney sandwiches.