Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Women's Favourite Wineries


Thanks to a wine/food writer Denise Medrano who introduced me to Women Wine Writers & Bloggers, I managed to gain some insights into what characteristics of wineries can seduce ladies..............

Because my friend asked me "what attracts women to the world of wine?"  therefore I asked ladies on the Women Wine Writers & Bloggers, if they could kindly name their best 5 wineries of the world, and why.   

I am writing this post purely based on the choices given by other female bloggers - many of them are based in U.S.  I also considered websites, on-site hospitality, and other things mentioned by ladies as to why they like those particular wineries.  

Styles of wine were surely considered but some are not available widely or at all in the U.K, so I did my best.   

It reveals obvious and surprises................... 





This is one of Alana Gentry's (Wine Writer/Branding, Marketing, Messaging at Global Wine Writer) choices.  

I have come across with their fresh & aromatic Torrontes Serie A - I have tasted many Torrontes of the same price range, and Zuccardi Serie A stood out.  It was well balanced lots of floral bouquets, lime and lemon zest with a hint of Orange.  There was a fair amount of minerality with good acidity, leading to relatively long finish.  It was in 2010, when I met Zuccardi's Trrontes through Alliance Wine.    

Zuccardi Winery is a family ran - Of Italian root, the Zuccardi Family, has started its history of wine making in Argentina in the fifties.  With their strong sense of family, they have continued their success until now.

From 1950's Zuccardi achieved so much for Argentina - innovation of Perrel Zuccardi conduction system,  sustainable viticulture system back in 1980's, first to achieve the quality Tempranillo varietal wine in Argentina 1997.
Zuccardi was the first one to open its own visitor centre in Argentina in 2001.  They offer truly wide range of entertainment to their visitors, and this part of the winery is a solid tourism enterprise itself.   

Together with usual suspects of Malbec and so on, they also produce unusual varieties of the following:

Caladoc (pioneered by Zuccardi in 1998, crossing between Grenache & Malbac)
Ancellota (variety from Emilia Romagna)
Aninarnoa (crossing between Merlot and Petit Verdot created in Languedoc - Roussillon ) Marselan (crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon & Grenache near French town of Marseillan)

Diversity of their production is endless.   
Breath taking view 
Their web site is highly visual with lots of beautiful pictures.  Their wines have modern packaging with high quality contents.  Very outspoken focus on the quality, terroir and people - somewhat this winery gives very clean but warm feeling.The pictures of vineyards look magnificent! 

However, I guessed Alana chose Zuccardi for their successful family history of quality wine production & continuous self-improvement based on real passion and humanity. 
(Alana, please correct me if I am wrong.) 
Please enter Alana Gentry's blog from Here. 

It was mentioned by Catie McIntyre Walker as one of hers - CEO at Walla Walla Wine Women.  She recommended a few wineries from her local & strong emphasis on intuition and revolution!  (I thought....)
Needless to say, it is a beautiful, unimaginable scaled vineyard with astonishing ambition in Washington State in U.S.A.

Allen Shoup, the person known as the father of Washington Wine, made his dream flourish by creating this unique collaboration of world famous flying winemakers from many parts of the world.  Those include Michel Rolland, Randy Dunn, Armin Diel, John Duval, Philippe Malka.....etc..This collection of vineyards is an encyclopaedia of Washington sauced grapes.

Due to the Great Missoula Floods 20000 years ago, the vineyard has 27 naturally created benches at different elevations.  750 acres of vineyard is divided into more than 60 different blocks producing 15 different grapes.  

The difference in elevation is as big as 400feets - all firmed sustainably, of 150acres are biodynamic.  

Here, there is a collection of outrageous scale of achievements.     

I happened to have a look at their news and events section on their website - Food and Wine Cruise from Venice to Athens...........you can cruise together with world best winemakers............

Long Shadow winery is significant for the local community as It is an Iconic land for many wine makers as well as huge tourist attraction.    

Forgeron Cellars was another winery nominated by Catie.  The winemaker is Marie-Eve Gilla.  She is an expert of classic wine making as she was born and raised in Paris & trained in Burgundy.  She also has a Master in the Viticulture. 

Marie-Eve Gilla

This winery is in Walla Walla Valley within Washington State in the U.S.A.  Walla Walla Valley extends itself partly into the Northeast of Oregon.  The entire wine region actually belongs to the larger valley of Columbia AVA.  

I would like to briefly go though details of Walla Walla Valley.  The region was named Walla Walla, meaning rapid stream or many water, after the Walla Walla people - they used to live on the shores of the junction of Walla Walla River, Snake River and Columbia River.  
The soils of the Walla Walla Valley is mainly loess, which provides very good drainage for the vines.  It consists of hot days and cool night.  

The word "Forgeron" means Blacksmith (Maker of horseshoes) in French as well as artisans who gain their network by chaining their expertise and experiences in trade.    

This winery was found in 2001 by the group of investors.  They have many but carefully selected contracted vineyards over Yakima and Columbia Valley.  

Marie's aim is to be: 

"crafting complex, food-friendly wines from vineyards chosen for their maturity and flavour profile."  

Catie indeed mentioned that Marie-Eve Gilla "brings an elegance and a feminine touch to the wines of Walla Walla in the middle of many large tannic monsters."  

I think Marie's expertise to adopt old world into new world, creating distinctive wines from others in the region, stirring the local tradition into some kind of eye-opening new trend, is indeed very significant.   

Please entre Catie Mclntyre's blog from here!        

Ilona Koren-Deutsch who is wine blogger/writer from San Francisco, California.  I found her choices very much romantic rather than dynamic and masculine.  

Clouds Rest Estate, this rather special estate specialises in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay & Sauvignon Blanc Masque.

The native Americans lived here in the past & passed many dramas during long history.  It is now the vineyard of Clouds Rest, where drifting clouds, through Petaluma from the Pacific Ocean, form blanket just underneath the vineyard fence & rest at night - at 1250meter high in altitudes.  

Their new history as Clouds Rest Vineyard started in 1999, when they started digging all the rocks underneath to plant Pinot Noir.  The soil is volcanic & firming is done 100% by hand.
Simple Appealing Label Design
Clouds rest under
It puts you under the spell as they use words like, "spiritual", this vinyard "touches prople's

 life", wine is "alive" & there is "energy", with beautiful pictures of misty vineyard...... 

The below is the quote of Ilona's friend.

 "At SF Vintner's Market we went first to Cloud's Rest's table. 

she later said to them (when we went back), 
"Damn Ilona. She took me here first, and then nothing else was as good all day." 

These people make simply gorgeous Pinot Noir. 

They aim to make each year's wine the best expression of that year, rather than always wanting the same wine, so it's exciting to see what you'll get."

Ilona also stated that the property itself is also fabulous with warm, generous people making only just extraordinary wines.

They associate themselves with Burgundy wines but with appealing marketing in fluent English and modern bottle design.  

They are so approachable and open to talk about their own wines.  Their tasting notes consist of words like "charm", "lingering finish", "seductive",  "austere finesse"....... words of art, really.

They do produce other grapes but their signature wine is Pinot Noir & its production is tiny.     

I would happily drink it....delicious for sure as well as so mysterious and romantic!  (I believe their wines are not available in the U.K.)......I hope to taste their unique wine one day!

Please entre Ilona's blog from here!

This is chosen as one of Denise's 5 best.  Denise's choices were interesting in a way that there were many different kinds of wineries in it.

First one is this spectacular winery from California - Darioush. 

This winery is in Napa Valley, Mt. Veeder and Oak Knol, California, U.S.A.  It produces Bordeaux styled estate wines.  

Darioush is quality focused winery with old-world labour intensive micro-management in the vineyards.  The owner proprietor Darioush Khaledi and winemaker Steve Devitt, direct their wine production with precision & quality.

Darioush Khaledi was originally from Iraq, grown up with his father making wines as his hobby in Shiraz (Wine making region in Iraq until Islamic revolution.)   He was a passionate fine wine collector.  Following his great success with his grocery business in the U.S,  a passionate wine lover turned into producer with his hard work and fortune.   

Spectacular Winery
Mr Darioush 
There isn't much of outspoken women power involved according to their website, but I do not have to wonder why Denise has recommended this winery to me - This estate has such opulent architecture, simply is gorgeous! 

Special light yellow stone (travertine-stone) is used for its architecture, creating glamorous Persian scheme. 

I do feel that their website can be designed better to show-off its spectacular sense of space.... 

Again I believe their wines are not available in the U.K, but it is not difficult to see why Denise picked Darioush as one of her best 5 wineries of the world.......   

Champagne Ployez-Jacquemart, Champagne France by Denise Medrano

In such a contract to the entry of Darioush, I am brought back to this rather charming but serious grower champagne house by Denise Medrano.  

Charming chateau with the windmill
This is the small grower Champagne house.

"a small grower house run by the energetic Laurance and her husband, she does triple duty

 as wine grower, maker, Bed&Breakfast innkeeper and general hostess. Also makes a 

rocking pure and intense champagne, I love them!"
Simple, elegant & traditional design
I could feel that Denise loves them not only for their Champagne, but also energetic & warm personalities. 

Laurence Ployez is a lady mentioned above in Denise's quote, who is actually a grower of Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier (all are done by hand), Champagne maker who closely overlook the Champagne production of the estate as well as B&B keeper.  

Chardonnay is bought-in, but only from very much trusted source.  Only the first press must is used to make their champagne.  

Low dosage allows them to make beautiful extra-brut that is pure and full bodied.   
Their website is very simple and honest.  There isn't any Flash, but good explanations of their history, wine making & products.   

I clicked on their Bed & Breakfast page - very beautiful.
Room in B&B
The rooms are not modern, of course, but you can see all are very well maintained with full of period features. 

I could not help myself from feeling the warmth of mothering nature from this Champagne house.  Well looked after estate, very much cared champagne produces, great welcome to the guests..........................

By the way, I googled of Ployez-Jacquemart, then I happened to find plenty reviews on their B&B all achieving 4-5 stars!  Almighty lady Laurence wins the world over!
More details can be found on Denise's blog here.

I have more wineries to come on the next post...........


  1. Can't wait to see the rest of them! Very interesting to see what wineries interest us and why! Thanks Honami!

    1. Thank you Denise, I am so happy you enjoyed! You ladies are wonderful!