This month, no matter where you are on your search for love, take a moment to celebrate the woman that made you who you are today. At the very least, she gave you the chance for a vibrant life and there’s no greater gift than that.
I’ve selected the following wines not only for their celebratory character, but also for the fact that behind the success of the winery a mother, sister or daughter is hard at work.
1. ONE WOMAN
Head winemaker Claudia Purita grew up on her family’s farm in Calabria, in southern Italy, where she developed a strong attachment to the land. Once relocated to Long Island, Claudia tried her hand at the restaurant industry, but eventually found her way back to her proverbial and quite literal roots. Her Sauvignon Blanc is bright, clean and crisp with notes of lemongrass, and tropical fruit.
2. CA’ DEL BAIO
Three sisters run the show at this exquisite family-run operation in the heart of Barbaresco, in northern Italy. When not in the cellar, Paola, Valentina and Federica are visiting their clients’ distributors, hosting importers and traveling the world to deepen their own oenology knowledge, and to share their work with others. Try one of their signature Barbaresco crus: Pora, Marcarini, Valgrande and Asili. Made from the noble Nebbiolo grape, Barbaresco is often considered ever so slightly more feminine in style than wines from the nearby Barolo region (although much depends on the vineyard’s placement and cellar techniques). The ladies effuse most lately over their passion project, a dry Riesling. Quaint and quietly elegant, this wine not only exudes terroir of this particular corner of the Piedmont, but represents a beloved family passion project.
Born into a family of Brunello producers in Tuscany, Donatella went to school for Medieval Art before returning to the family business. Not only does she produce one of Italy’s top-rated wines, but she has dedicated much of her career to advancing women in the wine business as well. She staffs one of her properties, Casato Prime Donne, entirely with female employees, and heads up important positions within associations like Enoteca Italiana, Donne del Vino (Women of Wine), and her local producer’s consortium. Her Brunello is made from 100% Sangiovese grapes and has all of the traditional aromas associated with the infamous DOCG – rustic earthiness, ripe red cherry and baking spices. More evolved vintages display forest floor, leather and tobacco among a myriad of other notes. These wines best accompany a juicy brisket or otherwise indulgent roasted red meat.
4. MAISON DUVAL-LEROY
The Veuve (widow) Cliquot reigns as the most famous dame in Champagne as there are still very few leading women on this scene. One of them is Carol Duval-Leroy, who took over the business when her husband passed away. When she married into the Champagne-making family she took an active role, but it wasn’t until her husband’s passing that she took the full reigns of the company, surpassing everyone’s expectation. She doubled sales and increased distribution, and also raised the reputation of the family’s production in France and abroad. Enterprising and experimental, among her many projects are a plastic cork replacement, organically-grown single vineyards, and an off-dry Champagne lines to compliment dessert. She was the first woman to be elected president of the Association Viticole Champenoise and maintains a staff that is around fifty percent female. Celebrate your mother’s accomplishments with a glass of Duval-Leroy Brut, a dry and classic Champagne with sturdy perlage and delicate notes of sweet spice and slate.