Welcome to the latest installment of the Streetcar Monthly Pass. If you’ve already purchased a pass, thank you! If you haven’t, here's where you should go. Below you’ll find some information about each of this month’s six Monthly Pass selections. On to the wines!
2022 Quinta da Raza Avesso
appellation: Vinho verde, Portugal
Quinta da Raza has a unique terroir created by the gentle slopes and the magnificent exposure to the sun. The soil benefits from its granite origins with areas of schist and clay. This is very unusual in the Vinho Verde Region. The estate has a microclimate created by the mountains in the west and the valley of the Tamega river which, unlike the other rivers of the region, does not run from East to West, but from Northeast to Southwest, which together prevent the influence of the Atlantic winds. Therefore, there is less rain and a greater temperature range at Quinta da Raza than is the case with all the other growers of the area. This means that Raza's vineyard is subject to more sun, which is an important factor for the development of the vines. Moreover, the average altitude of Quinta da Raza is 250 meters, which corresponds to the best average altitude suited for growing grapes. Avesso is a key ingredient in the typical white blend found in Vinho Verde, isolated here to show off its lush texture and stone fruit aromas. Try it with scallops or lobster rolls!
2022 Cantina LaSelva Vermentino
appellation: Maremma Toscana, Italy
Cantina LaSelva is in southern Tuscany’s Maremma region. The modern underground winery was built in 2002, but the agricultural company has been farming organically since 1980. They grow vegetables, fruits and vineyards over an agricultural area of around 743 hectares, in addition to cereals and fodder for animals, which are essential for fertilizing the soils of their closed-cycle farming system. They cultivate native grape varieties such as vermentino, ciliegiolo, sangiovese, malvasia nero, and pugnitello. Only indigenous yeasts are used in the cellar and minimal to no SO2 is added to the wines. This elegant and easy vermentino ferments in stainless steel and spends six months aging on the lees, resulting in a soft refreshing white with a little creaminess and subtle floral character. Drink with seafood, a lighter pasta or risotto, or pizza bianca hidden under a pile of peppery arugula.
variety: lambrusco di sorbara
appellation: Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Though this is our first time including a lambrusco in the monthly pass, we’ve long been smitten, and since we can’t manage to keep enough bottles on our shelves we know you love it too. Like many stories in the vast world of wine, lambrusco’s reputation suffered from mass production of the cheap stuff (and the cringeworthy commercials to match) — don’t worry, this isn’t your grandparents’ lambrusco.
Cantina Paltrinieri lies north of Modena in the center of the Sorbara DOC. Alberto Paltrinieri and his wife Barbara run the estate founded by Alberto’s grandfather in 1926. In contrast to the familiar dark, deep grape-y juice most associate with the style, wines made from their local lambrusco di sorbara variety are delicate in color with bright acidity, minerality, and floral notes. However, lambrusco di sorbara is unable to flower in the vineyard and needs to be planted alongside the darker colored, more intense lambrusco salamino grape in order to pollinate. Traditionally this mixing in the vineyards led to mixing in the cellar. Under Alberto’s lead, Paltrinieri began to experiment and became the first producer to separate the two grapes in the cellar and produce 100% sorbara wines. It works great as an aperitif, with salty fried snacks, as a pizza wine, or brunch companion. Chill it and enjoy this oh-so-lovely dry, pale red frizzante without too much fuss.
2020 Vina Maitia "Weon"
variety: carignan, pais
region: Maule Valley, Chile
As a young winemaker, David Marcel made his way from the French Basque country all the way down to Chile seeking to explore new terroir. While working for some of the larger Chilean wineries, he met his wife Loreto and decided to stay for good. Twenty years later, they were able to start Viña Maitia, producing delicious, value-driven wines made primarily from old país & carignan vines. David has been at the forefront of the modern país revival with his successful 2013 vintage causing many to see the potential of a grape typically sold off for bulk wine production. His carignan wines have also made a splash and we’re featuring his 2020 vintage in this month’s pass. Organically dry-farmed from 60 year old vines and aged for 6 months in concrete, this is an inviting winter warmer with spice and rich dark fruit. There are more tasting notes and pairing suggestions on the back label but to save you a few seconds: meat! (roasted, smoked or cured).
2022 Cincinnato "Argeo"
appellation: Lazio, Italy
Cincinnato is a very forward thinking cooperative based south of Rome in the village of Cori. It consists of 130 local growers organically farming 100 hectares of vines. The company is deeply conscious of the importance of typicity and biodiversity, and for this reason has always been committed to regenerating and showcasing native grape varieties such as nero buono, bellone, and cesanese. For over 20 years it has invested substantial human and economic resources in a challenging quality project, aiming to improve the product and advance the winery. The production protocol adopted involves meticulously defined vineyard procedures, a harvesting calendar, and scrupulous vinification processes. The winery is renowned for its environmental efforts including organic methods in the rows, a photovoltaic system ensuring independent power generation, and local distribution using natural gas-fueled vehicles. This wine, made with the late ripening cesanese grape, is full of bright cherry fruit and unsurprisingly pairs rather well with pizza and pasta and the like, or anything you might drizzle their delicious olive oil upon!
2019 Bonavita Rosso
varieties: nerello mascalese, nerello cappuccio
appellation: Faro (Sicily), Italy
Bonavita is the name of the wine produced by Giovanni Scarfone and his family at the north-facing eastern tip of Sicily in Messina. The devastating earthquake of 1908 is the defining event of this corner of the world, as it destroyed 90% of the buildings and killed 100,000 people, including most of Scarfone's ancestors. His great-grandfather was one who survived, and is the only reason these vineyards still exist. He and Giovanni's father and grandfather maintained their cultural heritage for the benefit of their family and their neighbors more than for any commercial benefit. Giovanni made the odd decision to become a professional winemaker at the age of 20, shocking his friends and family, who saw no future for these desolate, maritime, wind-swept vineyards on the edge of an island. The inaugural release of Bonavita was 2006, the 3,000 bottles of which were sold domestically with some acclaim. This blend of varieties in the nerello family (mascalese, cappuccio, etc.) exudes the quiet wilderness of this far corner of the world. We recommend drinking half the bottle with saffron risotto and the second half the next day with arancini.