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!
2015 Andrea Felici Verdicchio
appellation: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore (Le Marche), Italy
grape variety: verdicchio
After spending his early career working in stellar restaurants in London and Florence, Leonardo Felici returned to his family’s farm nine years ago. Upon taking the winery’s reins, Leonardo quickly moved to converting the family farm to organic viticulture, with the aim of building a name for their classic Marche wines, based on the white grape Verdicchio. The winery produces just two wines, a Classico and a Riserva, the latter of which has earned Tre Bicchieri each year of its release. Ample and bright, Felici’s flagship wine carries the varietally typical notes of lemon and almond, and a lovely balance of creamy texture and lively acidity. This is a quintessential food wine, from fish, to fall vegetables, to roast chicken.
2015 Eisacktaler Kellerei / Cantine Valle Isarco Kerner
appellation: Alto Adige / Sudtirol, Italy
grape variety: kerner
A visit to this cooperative winery earlier this year brought a new appreciation for the Alto Adige region. Its situation deep into the Tyrolean Alps and into the Germanic cultural surroundings reminded us that the Alto Adige has more to do with Vienna than Florence. A stop at neighborhood restaurant perched on a mountainside overlooking the valley, serving plates of comically large canederli and pasta with speck and alpine cheese, cemented this notion. Winemaking here is a heroic undertaking, making it clear why cooperatives are the norm. Managing a vineyard of steeply terraced vines means working entirely by hand, limiting most vineyard owners to one or two hectares, and a crop to small to commercialize alone. Eisacktaler Kellerei is a beautifully modern and immaculately managed facility owned by its 150-or-so farmers, with a full range of local varietal wines. Kerner, which is an old cross of schiava and riesling, is planted at the highest elevation, some 900 meters above sea level. Surprising and beguiling aromas of red fruits lead to a cool wash of mineral and bracing acidity on the palate.
2015 Später-Veit Riesling Trocken “Blauschiefer”
appellation: Piesporter Falkenberg (Mosel), Germany
grape variety: riesling
Hans Welter and his young son Niklaus are winemaking giants. They both look like they’d be just as likely to make wine as to have a career in professional football. This is surprising to us because of the winery’s quiet stateside reputation and unassuming wine labels. Then again, they are farming and producing riesling (and some stunning pinot noir) in Piesport, one of the most historically significant places in the world of wine. Here we have a trocken (bone dry) bottling from a plot growing on the famous blue slate, which produces one of the most distinguishably Mosel of all rieslings. Much is being said about the 2015 vintage, as the stars seem to have been aligned, and we offer this wine as exhibit A to the vintage’s potential. Its mid-palate weight is impressive for a trocken, providing just enough extract to withstand the acid attack without the need of a mouthguard.
2013 Lucien Lardy Fleurie “Les Roches”
appellation: Fleurie (Beaujolais), France
grape variety: gamay
The Lardy family came to Beaujolais from Burgundy a few generations ago, purchasing vineyards planted on the decomposing pink granite vineyards of Fleurie. Fleurie is often spoken in terms of its floral aromatic, which shows most obviously early in the life of the wine. We’re seeing Lardy’s “Les Roches” bottling with an extra year in the bottle, when the young fruit and violets give way to the wine’s mineral core expression. It’s at this point in its development when gamay begins to more closely resemble Burgundian pinot noir. When pairing, think of exploring umami flavors, especially if you come across some fresh wild mushrooms.
2014 Domaine Barou Syrah
appellation: Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes (Rhone), France
grape variety: syrah
Emmanuel Barou’s grandfather established his family’s farm in the Drome in 1928, when a combination of agriculture, livestock, and viticulture was a typical way of life. Emmanuel’s father Alexis took the unusual step back in 1971 to commit the farm to the organic principles, eventually achieving organic certification twenty years later. When Emanuel took over in 1997, he put more of the farm’s focus on viticulture, expanding their plantings into the nearby famous appellations of Saint Joseph and Condrieu. These days he farms 25 hectares of vineyards, incorporating biodynamic practices into the mix. This syrah is a classic, with a dark nose of garrigue and purple flowers, a warm, expansive palate and supple tannic finish. Pair this wine with fall leaves, a fireplace, and a blanket, and perhaps a cassoulet.
2015 Agostino Pavia “Blina”
appellation: Barbera d’Asti (Piedmont), Italy
grape variety: barbera
The Pavia family own 17 hectares in Asti, near the village of Agliano Terme, and their life’s work is dedicated to exalting their local grape – in fact 95% of their tiny annual 5,000 case production is Barbera. “Blina” is named for its single vineyard provenance, produced in stainless steel to capture all of barbera’s fresh crushed raspberry and cranberry fruit and bombastic acidity. Pair with pizza, or pasta, or a Netflix and… you get the idea. This wine goes with everything.