During March, around the world people celebrate the accomplishments of women and recognize the challenges that women face, with March 8 set aside as International Women’s Day. Which also means that in March, here on Wine Predator, we focus as we can on women influencers — whether they are winemakers, owners, or otherwise important women in wine.
“Our wine’s, alive from earth to heaven.” Anne Graindorge
This coming weekend, I’m going to settle in with a good book from 2008: Tilar J. Mazzeo’s best-selling The Widow Cliquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It. In it, Mazzeo shares the story of a woman who lived during Napolean’s time, and how the widow Cliquot sheds her weeds to build an empire and a legacy. Sounds exciting doesn’t it!
I’ve been spurred to read and write about Clicquot for two reasons: it’s a great reason to open a bottle of bubbles on a Friday to toast Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, but also to prepare for next Saturday’s #Winophiles prompt from Julia Coney to write about the Women of Champagne. In addition to writing about Madame Cliquot and her wine next week, we will be opening and discussing a bottle of AR Lenoble, a company owned by Anne Mallasagne and her brother Antoine.
Women are well know for being team players, and it also could be that more opportunities are available to women when we are part of a team — whether it be a sibling, a parent, or a spouse.
I have noticed many husband and wife partnerships in the wine business, and so for tomorrow’s Wine Pairing Weekend post, I’ve got four Cabernet Francs made by husband and wife teams — three from California, and one from France.
Later this month, we’ll have features about New Zealand’s Erica Crawford, who with her husband Kim own Loveblock; they formerly owned Kim Crawford.
To close out this post, we have a bottle biodynamic cremant from Loire to recommend: Les Quarterons from DOMAINE XAVIER & AGNÈS AMIRAULT. It’s made by Xavier and Agnes Amirault, a husband and wife team working biodynamically. We opened it before the Cabernet Franc for tomorrow’s post (come back tomorrow for more about the foods, recipes, and those pairings!)
From the website’s page about their philosophy: “Our wine’s alive from earth to heaven.” Anne Graindorge
I emailed Xavier with a few questions, and he wrote back to tell me that they have twelve people who work on the estate full-time, and for six generations going back, the estate has been managed and wine made by husband and wife teams working together:
“Each one is the back up of the other,” says Xavier. “This is classic way of how small farms are managed in France. Agnes and I are able to work in the vineyard, at the winery, taste and decide the wine process, manage people, make presentations to the customers, do administrative paper works and much more.”
Located in Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, they farm according to the principles of biodynamics; the estate is 100% certified organic by Ecocert and certified biodynamic by Demeter.
While the estate grapes are certified, the Crémant les Quarterons that we tasted includes grapes that, while carefully selected, aren’t all certified, so they don’t have the logos on the bottles.
For those seeking only certified wines, he says, “We have another Crémant, called Crémant Amirault. This crémant comes from our vineyards that have the organic EU label. We are in the process of getting the Demeter certification but we are still making adjustments to adapt to their requirements; for example we use an organic yeast but it is required to use an organic yeast coming from our own vineyards. As you must well know it is a very complicated matter as our requirements in France differs from the ones you have in the US for instance.”
this wine was sent to me as a sample for my review purposes
blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay
- Color: Platinum, with delicate bubbles rising up to the top of the glass from a bit larger bubbles at the bottom sending them off. Mesmerizing.
- Nose: Grass, yeast, brioche, citrus.
- Palate: Lively, bright with acidity, lemony citrus, clean and playful, lemon lime on the finish.
- Pairing: Really likes the richness and sweetness of the crab dip. So nice with the goat cheese and the jasmine confit. The wine was beautiful with a simple toasted almond. Sue could imagine this wine with a trout almondine which is not surprising as this is a dish from the region. Paired well with simple green salad (that we added the leftover cherry tomatoes on rosemary skewers with added crunch from a blend of roasted nuts with red pepper flakes), and even better with roasted pumpkin soup. Refreshing with a dessert of a pear and blueberry galette.