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. On to the wines!
2015 Domaine Philémon "Perlé Nature"
appellation: Gaillac, France
variety: loin de l'oeil
Mathieu Vieules’ 20 hectare farm is centered around the village of Villeneuve-sur-Vere, a small village in the northeast quadrant of the Gaillac appellation, which sits about an hour northwest of Toulouse in the southwest of France. His family has had vines here since 1804, and today he continues to focus on the area’s traditional grape varieties, like loin de l’oeil, mauzac and muscadelle for the whites, and braucol (fer servadou), duras and jurancon noir for the reds. This white is made of equal parts loin de l’oeil and muscadelle. It has a light spritz, achieved by capturing some of the CO2 produced during vinification. Aromatic and bright, with clean white fruit notes and pleasant prickly mouthfeel, this makes a lovely aperitif wine with a cheese plate before dinner.
2015 Rojac Malvazija
appellation: Slovenska Istra, Slovenia
variety: malvasia istriana
Uroš Rojac inherited his father Bruno's ambition and passion for the wines of his homeland, and took the reins when his father sadly passed away before the age of 50, in 2005. Istria is the largest peninsula in the Adriatic, occupied by Croatia, Slovenia, and the eastern most tip of Italy. The white grape of choice, regardless of national allegiance, is malvasia istriana, a variety with no ties to the malvasia most commonly found in mainland Italy, malvasia di candia (though we won't go too far down that rabbit hole). Wines made of this malvasia are pure, forthright, sapid, and saline. Orange wine (skin macerated) has a long tradition here, though this version takes the more modern approach of taking the juice off the skins, allowing for more levity and transparency. Shellfish or octopus are natural pairs here, though cured meats and long-aged cheeses work well, as would a simple pasta...getting hungry!
2015 Carl Loewen Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett
appellation: Longuich Herrenberg (Mosel), Germany
The Loewen estate has been in existence since the early 1800’s, since the secularization of the Mosel under Napoleon’s rule, when they acquired. Carl prides himself in seeking out and resurrecting vineyards that have been forgotten or overlooked, including several vineyard sites like Laurentiuslay and Thörnicher Ritsch. It was his decision to make dry riesling the house style, a decision that turned heads from many of his peers - today the Loewen estate is reknowned for them. In the cellar he has a delicate touch, he even favors a pitchfork over a pump for transferring the grapes to the crusher! This cuvée is from 100 year-old vines from the Longuich Herrenberg vineyard. Verve-y and bright with bombastic aromatics, delicate body, and a positively rip roaring acid-driven finish, this riesling is incredibly versatile with spicy cuisine, from classic asian to middle-eastern flavors.
2015 Domaine de Colette Régnié
appellation: Régnié (Beaujolais), France
Jackie Gauthier is the 4th generation of winemakers in his family. He started young, at the age of 17, when he took over his uncle's estate while in school, and then taking over for his parents when the retired, making the domaine what it is today. Domaine de Colette sits on the highest hill in Lantignié, in the cru village Régnié. They also own small plots in Morgon, Moulin-à-Vent, and Fleurie. Their Régnié vines are the oldest of the estate, averaging around 50 years, with one parcel over 80 years old. The pink granite of Régnié's hillsides yields gamay that is bright and soft, with beguiling red berry fruit and violet notes, and a refreshing mineral finish. This a wonderful Thanksgiving wine, perfect next to turkey and the richer side dishes of the meal - that is, if you can wait until then.
2014 Marenas "Cerro Encinas"
appellation: Córdoba (Andalucía), Spain
variety: monastrell (mourvèdre)
The natural wine world seems to be expanding exponentially at this point, and here's an example where it's bringing us to an entirely wine region. Marenas is the mission of José Miguel Márquez, a native of the town of Montilla in Cordoba, in the northern, inland stretches of Andalucía (about a two and a half hour drive from Jerez). The young Márquez is just the shot in the arm this once proud wine town needs, and his approach is one that resonates in today's natural wine scene: native varieties, no oak, no additives. Our first wine from Marenas is his juicy, funky monastrell. It's ready to party. No food necessary, but it will play nice with most things.
2015 Château de Peybonhomme les Tours "L'Atypic"
appellation: Blaye - Côtes de Bordeaux, France
varieties: malbec, cabernet franc
Chateau Peybonhomme, one of two chateau’s owned by the Hubert family (Ch. La Grolet) and is among the most important producers in Premieres Cotes de Blaye. One stormy night in December 1999 was the impetus for Jean-Luc and Catherine Hubert to convert their two vineyards to organic and to use biodynamic methods. The storm had winds up to 200 km/hr, uprooted many trees and even damaged the tower of the castle they call home. Jean-Luc describes it as “apocalyptic” and as they listened to the winds howl, the next year they stopped using chemicals and started the transition to biodynamics. We've often featured their estate wine on our casual cart, as it out-classes just every other petit château Bordeaux on the market today. This wine is a more recent development, and it features malbec and cabernet franc, two varieties typically occupying the third or fourth chair in the "typical" Bordeaux blend. You've got your oven up and running by now, probably, so why not roast something to pair with this sturdy, ample red. Turkey? Tenderloin? Turnips?