INTERNATIONAL WOMAN’S DAY
To celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8), I have selected wines made by a dozen talented women winemakers across the world:
Tokaj, NE Hungary: VIVIEN UJVARI
Hungarian-born Ujvari (pictured above), who has worked in New Zealand, Australia and California, is now making a superb range of wines for a small artisan producer, Barta Pince, who revived the famous Oreg Kiraly vineyard near Mad village. Her introductory wine is an unoaked crisp mouthwateringly refreshing intense introduction to Hungary’s Furmint grape: Egy Kis 2020 Barta Pince (£14.95 Corney & Barrow).
Kamptal, Austria: GLORIA & BIRGIT EICHINGER
This mother & daughter winemaking duo work (Birgit pictured above) on volcanic loess soils in the little-known Kamptal – a side valley off the Danube west of Vienna. They create beautifully rich succulent pure fruited Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners. Their Riesling Heiligenstein Erste Lage 2019 Birgit Eichinger (£33 Justerinis) has a floral nose, deep lemony and stone fruit flavours with an intriguing saline finish.
Imereti, W Georgia: BAIA & GVANTSA ABULADZE
In Obcha village in rural Imereti, just a couple of hours drive inland from the Black Sea, these two sisters (Baia pictured above) make a fascinating style of amber wine. They use local Churi clay fermenting vessels, narrower than Kakheti’s Qvevri pots. With less must added and short maceration their style of wines is light and soft. Tsitska-Tsolikouri-Krakhuna 2020 Baia’s Wine (£22 Taste of Georgia) is an attractively rounded complex blend of three Georgian grapes.
Leyda Valley, Chile: VIVIANA NAVARRETE
For those who love Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir with a cool edge, Vina Leyda’s wines made by Viviana Navarrete (pictured above) are a revelation. With vineyards cooled by sea breezes just 3 or 4 kilometres from the Pacific coast and granitic soils, her Single Vineyard Garuma Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Vina Leyda (£12 Tesco; Fine Wine Musselburgh) is intense, herby, fresh cut-grass notes, crisply acidic with a salty note.
Alsace, France: CATHY FALLER
The Faller family at beautiful Domaine Weinbach (pictured above) have been seminal in instigating organic viticulture in Alsace. Initially father Theo, mother Colette and daughters Laurence and Cathy; now with Cathy in sole charge with her sons Theo and Eddy assisting. With prime land holdings, like superb grand Cru Schlossberg in Kaysersberg, Cathy’s wines are some of the best in Alsace. Try Riesling Cuvee Theo 2018 Domaine Weinbach (£25 Justerinis).
South Sakar, Bulgaria: MARIA STOEVA
Bratanov winery in southern Bulgaria near the Turkish border is owned by Tanya & Hristo Bratanov with talented French-trained Maria Stoeva (pictured above) as winemaker who likes making non-interventionist wines. Her most impressive white is single vineyard Tamianka 2019 (£18.50 The Old Cellar) – and best red is dense rich spicy velvet smooth Cabernet Franc Private Reserve 2013 Bratanov (£29 The Old Cellar).
Douro, Portugal: SANDRA TAVARES
Tavares (pictured above) divides her time between two projects, Douro-based Wine & Soul which she runs husband Jorge Serodio Borges in 2001 and her parents’ estate Quinta de Chocapalha near Lisbon; with a mere four hour drive between the two wineries. At Wine & Soul, the goal was to protect very old vineyards (50-125 yr old) which were being torn up and make wines which reflect the Douro’s old vines. Her Pintas Character 2016 Wine & Soul (£30 Corney & Barrow) from a 30-grape field blend has rich sweet blackcurrant fruits with baked plum and earthy finish.
Marlborough, New Zealand: ANNA FLOWERDAY
With husband Jason, winemaker Anna Flowerday at Te Whare Ra makes refined subtle style of Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc without the usual pungent aromatic overload. From a blend of three vineyards in two subzones in Awatere and Wairau valley part barrel fermented, Sauvignon Blanc 2021 Te Whare Ra (£14.50 Vinvm) has a fabulous fruit purity with apple, grapefruit and grassy notes.
Tokaj, NE Hungary: STEPHANIE BERECZ
Loire-born oenologist Berecz (pictured above) first came to Tokaj to work for Disznoko winery, but now runs her own 5 hectare estate near Tarcal with Hungarian husband Zsolt. Her Harslevelu-based wines are particularly impressive: Harslevelu Kassai Dulo Vineyard 2018 Kikelet (£20 Wanderlust Wine www.wanderlustwine.co.uk) has lifted tropical fruit aromas with papaya, mango notes, creamy rounded palate, juicy acidity and a touch of oak.
Swartland, South Africa: JOLANDIE FOUCHE
A name to watch in up-and-coming Swartland. Jolandie (pictured above) recently set up her unusually named winery, Wolf & Woman, making seriously good old vine Chenin. Her Chenin Blanc 2019 Wolf & Woman (£19.50 Justerinis) has honeyed spicy palate, subtle and elegant with a distinctive one eyed label.
Clare Valley, S Australia: STEPHANIE TOOLE
Winemaker and owner of the legendary Mount Horrocks winery in Australia’s Clare Valley, New Zealand-born Toole (pictured above) is married to another Aussie superstar Jeffrey Grosset of Grosset Wines. Toole’s Mount Horrocks Watervale Riesling 2021 (£21.90 Luvians; Fine Wine Musselburgh) is exquisitely bone-dry with lovely fragrance, lemon meringue notes, zesty grapefruit twist with a hint of flint.
Rias Baixas, NW Spain: PAULA FANDINO
Fandino (pictured above) at Mar de Frades estate believes Albarino is capable of supreme quality and longevity. Working with single vineyards, she scours Rias Baixas’ coastline for cooler microclimates and experiments with ageing Albarino. Her distinctive blue bottle Albarino Atlantico 2020 Mar de Frades (£16 Exel Wines, Harvey Nichols, Valvona & Crolla) has lime and apricot aromas, lemony zesty flavours with refreshing sea-breeze salinity across the palate.
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