International Women’s Day on 8th March

Some of the leading ladies in the world of winemaking have been challenged to answer questions on the industry and their experiences

Vitalie Taittinger - Champagne Taittinger

Vitalie Taittinger - Champagne Taittinger

Une journée chez Jean Luc Colombo le 1er octobre 2012.

Laure Colombo - Winemaker at Colombo et Fille

Eva de Benito – Winemaker at Viña Real

Eva de Benito – Winemaker at Viña Real

Maria Larrea – Chief Winemaker at C.V.N.E

Maria Larrea – Chief Winemaker at C.V.N.E

Helen Morrison – Chief Marlborough Winemaker at Villa Maria

Helen Morrison – Chief Marlborough Winemaker at Villa Maria

Catherine Corbeau Mellot – President of Joseph Mellot

Catherine Corbeau Mellot – President of Joseph Mellot

Audrey Braccini – Winemaker at Domaine Ferret

Audrey Braccini – Winemaker at Domaine Ferret

Vitalie Taittinger – Champagne Taittinger

What advice would you give to women considering or beginning a career in wine?

I would tell them to consider this choice as a life choice! The way of getting into wine is very long. You have many things to learn and to understand. It really has to be a passion! It is a fabulous world, working with nature, time and people, it is very exciting!

What is your ultimate wine and food pairing?

My ultimate food pairing would maybe be a flute of
Prélude Grands Crus with oysters… the minerality of this Champagne, its pureness and its energy really does match the saltiness and texture of oysters. I love the simplicity!

One of Taittinger’s best champagnes: Taittinger Prélude Grand Crus NV
Stockists: Majestic Wine and John Lewis with an RRP of £54.35

Editor Peter Morrell’s notes about Taittinger Prélude Grand Crus NV:

“This 50/50 Chardonnay/Pinot Noir blend made with grapes from the best vinyards shows great elegance. On the nose there are floral aromas combined with strong yeasty brioche tones developed during its 4-5 years on the lees (yeast sediment). As it moves to the palate it continues to show its floral character which is joined by citrus and elderflower with hints of spice and soft fruit. The finish is bright and long.

I would agree with Vitalie’s food pairing of oysters and add delicate white fish as an alternative. This champagne would also be the ultimate luxurious aperitif.

Laure Colombo – Winemaker at Colombo et Fille

What has been a key/memorable moment in your career so far?

The first time someone said “Jean-Luc Colombo is the father of Laure Colombo” and not being recognized as the “daughter of”, but for myself!

Who has inspired you in your career?

Jean-Michel Comme from Pontet-Canet! He taught me the fact that the vines are living beings. It needs to breathe, to feed from the earth, in order to open up.

One of Colombo et Fille’s best wines: Jean-Luc Colombo Saint Péray Belle de Mai 2016
Stockists: Pennistone Court Wine Cellars and Hedonism Drinks with an RRP of £23.25

Eva de Benito – Winemaker at Viña Real

What has been a key/memorable moment in your career so far?

The moment that I started working for CVNE and managing Viña Real, one of the emblematic brands of Rioja.

If you could live in another woman’s shoes for a day, whose would you choose?

In general, I admire women who, with their passion and willingness to improve, have been able to break myths and barriers – not only in the wine trade but also in any profession or aspect in life.

One of Viña Real’s best wines: Viña Real Gran Reserva 2011
Stockists: Hailsham Cellars, D.Byrne & Co, Planet of the Grapes, The Whalley Wine Shop, Luvians Bottleshop, Wimbledon Wine C llears, The Solent Cellar, Old Chapel Cellars and Taurus Wines with and RRP of £27.70

Editor Peter Morrell’s notes about Viña Real Gran Reserva 2011:

This wine is big in every sense, it’s made with 95% Tempranillo and a dash of Graciano grapes from the better vineyards of the Rioja Alavesa. The wine is dark red, almost maroon and has an abundant of cherries in the bouquet with strong aromas of vanilla and chocolate. In the mouth the well structured tannins make it is silky smooth and there are tones of leather and cedar. The finish is very long and persistent.

Match this with steaks, casseroles and strong cheeses.

Maria Larrea – Chief Winemaker at C.V.N.E

What advice would you give to women considering or beginning a career in wine?

It is important to surround yourself with a good work team, observe the vineyard, study about other viticultural areas of the world. In short, always learn, enjoy work and always try to make the best wine.

What has been a key/memorable moment in your career so far?

Undoubtedly the best moment was the award we received with Imperial Gran Reserva vintage 2004 as the best wine in the world for the Wine Spectator. It really was a prize for the long history of Imperial, more than 100 years as a wine of great quality.

One of C.V.N.E’s best wines: Imperial Reserva 2012

Stockists: Majestic Wine, Wine Rack, Coop, Waitrose and Tesco with an RRP of £26.00

Editor Peter Morrell’s notes about Imperial Reserva 2012:

This highly complex wine is made with the best grapes from the Rioja Alta vineyards, the blend is 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo. The nose is intense with cherries and blackberries and there is a potpourri of aromas, liquorice, cloves and thyme are just a few. On the palate the wine is rounded and smooth with additional notes of vanilla and tobacco from the extensive oak ageing.The tannins are soft and pliable and the finish offers a range of long lasting tastes.

This wine would be an excellent pairing with strong meat like venison and pheasant and a good stilton or stichelton, its unpasteurised rival.

Helen Morrison – Chief Marlborough Winemaker at Villa Maria

What has been a key/memorable moment in your career so far?

As a winemaker 2017 was the hardest vintage I have ever experienced, so the reward of seeing the quality of the wines we managed to craft from this challenging season is truly memorable.

If you could live in another woman’s shoes for a day, whose would you choose?

Right now in New Zealand it would be fascinating to be Jacinda Adern for a day, as our recently elected Prime Minister, the youngest prime minister in 150 years, un-married, and a strong supporter of women’s rights and now she has recently announced her first pregnancy. What a great series of firsts to be experiencing, but also some very interesting challenges and adversaries she must be facing (even in this modern era).

One of Villa Maria’s best wines: Villa Maria Private Bin Riesling 2017
Stockists: Majestic Wine and Wine Rack with an RRP of £10.95

Catherine Corbeau Mellot – President of Joseph Mellot

What advice would you give to women considering or beginning a career in wine?

You will need to be very strong and be able to face lots of challenges. Passion and the wish to be successful are key. Go for it!

What is your ultimate wine and food pairing?

A two-month Crottin de Chavignol (our local goat cheese, which is AOP.) with a glass of Sancerre la Chatellenie!

One of Joseph Mellot’s best Sancerre La Rabault Rosé 2015
Stockists: The Shenfield Wine Company, Refreshers and Park Lane Wine and Deli with an RRP of £22.60

Audrey Braccini – Winemaker at Domaine Ferret

What has been a key/memorable moment in your career so far?

It was two or three years back. When I started working in Fuissé ten years ago, the welcome from the other producers was a little bit cold… and this continued for some years after. You can imagine my joy when some of them came to me and said, with kindness in their eyes, ‘good job, great wines, it is a good thing you came!’

If you could live in another woman’s shoes for a day, whose would you choose?

Marlène Soria – a pioneering organic winemaker from Languedoc.

One of Domaine Ferret’s best wines: Domaine Ferret Pouilly Fuissé 2016
Stockists: North and South Wines, Taurus Wines, Penistone Court Wine Cellars, Luvians Bottleshop, Planet of the Grapes, Handford Wines, Eagle Wines, Partridges of Sloane St and Loki Wines with an RRP of £33.40

Share