In this months wine club we focused on female wine makers. In an industry that is predominately male, it is intriguing to discover the dedication, passion, and finesse that female wine makers have brought to the industry. After lots of research, we ended up completely in Italy. Never a bad thing if you ask us! Cheers to the Italian female wine makers! Grateful to the beauty they bring to our glasses. Embracing the terroir of their regions and showcasing the native grapes keeps our glasses and hearts full!
P. & E. Mullins
2014 Elena Walch Pinot Bianco
Elena Walsh started her professional life as an architect. While working on a project for one of the oldest and most significant wine families of the Alto Adige region, she fell in love. Her husband, Werner Walch, ran his family's historic Wilhelm Walch winery in Termeno.The vineyards and cellars, full of hand-carved oak casts dating to the winery’s founding in 1869, were stunning. Although, over time, the family just blended their estate grapes with scores of grapes from other vineyards and quality of the wine declined. Elena said to her husband, “beauty must go with quality. If you have wonderful vineyards, you must have wonderful wines.” With the volume of his business, he didn’t have time to take on Elena’s advice, but offered her the estate grapes to start her own label. Which she did. She launched the Elena Walch label over 30 years ago now. Elena has achieved stellar success with her distinctive wines. The story continues on now as she has turned over her business to her two daughters, Julia and Karoline Walch. They've continued their mother's quest for a sustainable operation. It is the focus of Elena Walchs’ philosophy. The estate is dedicated to its terroir.The idea that wines reflect their soil, climate and cultivation in the vineyard and that this must be maintained to preserve it all for the next generation. Elena’s Pinot Bianco is a bright clear straw yellow in the glass, the nose is fruity with fresh apple notes and an herbaceous bouquet. The palate is elegant with deep minerality, lively acidity and a fresh finish. Elena is making some of the top whites in Northern Italy. The pinot Bianco may be the best we’ve had.
2016 Occhipinti SP68 Blanco
As a wine club we have introduced Arriana Occhipinti before. When we speak of female wine makers it’s hard for us to not to her bring up. Arriana is one of the youngest most well-regarded female wine makers in the World. She released her first vintage when she was just 24 years old. After spending her teen years assisting her wine maker Uncle Giusto Occhipinti whose wines are undisputedly amongst the very best of Sicily, she attended university to study viticulture and oenology. This quickly proved to be counter-intuitive, since everything she had learned from her uncle (organic viticulture, hand-harvesting, native yeast fermentations) clashed with what she was being taught in school. Undeterred she started making her own wine at just 20 years old focusing on natural wine making. She decided her style would be one of finesse and elegance. "SP68" is a road near Arianna's Vittoria estate which lends its name to her flagship white and red. The Occhipinti SP68 Bianco is 60% Zibibbo and 40% Albanello. These two varieties are native to Sicily. Zibibbo is more widely known as Muscat of Alexandria, it’s grown on red sand soils over limestone rock. The grapes are fermented together and aged in concrete tanks. Bottled unfiltered. This is an earthy, intriguing white that offers aromas of dried wild flowers, dust, orchard fruit and aromatic herbs. The floral nose follows through to the mineral-driven palate along with dried peach, candied nectarine and sage.
2016 Foradori Morei Teroldego
In the foothills of the Dolomite mountains, in the village of Campo Rotaliano, a wide plain in Trentino, a girl was born. Elisabetta Foradori was born in the family winery. The home her parents lived in was actually the same building where the wine was made. Sometimes in life the journey is not chosen, it is something we fall into and that is what happened with Elisabetta. Her grandfather was a viniculturist and her father was stepping into the role but sadly passed away quite young. Elisabetta, being the only child, was the one to continue on the family business. She studied oenology and viticulture and at 20 years old was in charge. At first, this wasn’t what she thought she wanted, but thought it was what she had to do. As time passed she realized it had always been part of her. As a young girl she always loved nature. She loved the woods, working in the garden, collecting flowers to dry and study. The passion of her vocation grew when she began she began making wine with the goal of honoring the local grapes, being respectful of the soil and using techniques she found less invasive and more interesting. Before Elisabetta took over the winery, the wine culture in the area had become largely industrial. The dominant clone of teroldego (the predominate grape varietal of the region) had been selected to emphasize the yield instead of the quality. It resulted in basic and uninteresting wines. When Elisabetta took over the vineyard she changed the way the vines were planted and also replanted the vineyards without clones. Today all the Foradori wines are farmed with certified biodynamic practices, hand harvested, fermented with indigenous yeasts. Elisabetta Foradori has become one of Italy’s superstar winemakers and by far she is the finest producer of wines made from the indigenous Teroldego grape. Dating back to 1383, the teroldego grape has some genetic similarities with Syrah. Elisabetta’s Teroldego is a dark garnet in color. The nose has dark fruit and layers of earth and smoke. The palate is fresh and lively. A silky texture lingers on the finish. You won’t find this wine being made just anywhere. The special terroir it is grown in and the patience and initiative are unique, just like Elisabetta herself.