Generally, I am not at all a fan of most gender-focused/themed wine experiences. I mean, yes, we certainly need to support and call attention to groups of people who have been historically underrepresented in any given sphere such as wine, BUT… in my mind, we have winemakers. Some happen to identify as men, some as women, and all in all who gives a sh*t if the wine is excellent?
And so I had a bit of trepidation in attending a session titled “Women and the New Era of Wine” during my recent media jaunt to Italy’s Collio. Jeez, aren’t we at the point where the gender discussion behind who is making a wine shouldn’t matter to us?
Well, we’re talking Italy here, folks, a relatively conservative (by western European standards) nation where, in 2021, a survey showed that only 10% of those identifying as women in the Italian wine business were in winemaking positions. That’s almost an embarrassingly low figure, and so maybe a bit of attention to women-led cellars was in order.
As will come as a surprise to almost no one reading this, the Collio wines crafted by women that we tasted were, in general, excellent. There’s no way (and I can hardly believe that I am actually typing this sentence in 2023) that any serious wine taster would have been able to discern any significant difference in these wines that could be attributed in any way to the gender of the winemaker. Good juice is good juice, and there’s a lot of good juice in the list below.
This producer boasts over a century of history in the region, and clearly know what they are doing. Poised and approachable, this PB is jam-packed with rose petal, perfume, citrus, mandarin, lime, pear, nettles, saline, and peaches; all in excellent balance. It comes off a bit like an Austrian white, but not as austere. There’s just almost nothing about a wine like this that I don’t like.
From small, hillside plantings on 22 ha, of vines ranging in age from 45 to 70 years old, this white is stony, grassy, flinty, fruity (apples, lemons, pears), fresh, and substantial. It carries its palate heft almost effortlessly, kicking major butt along every deftly executed step.
This Friulano is intense, folks. Almonds, flint, green and yellow apples, and a fair amount of citrus-like extract hit you up front. The palate follows in broad fashion, with textural astringency adding tension to the minerality throughout.
This is one of those rare odd birds that will actually appeal to almost anyone. It’s a bit like marrying Sauvignons from both New Zealand and S. Africa. TO wit: there’s pepper, nettle, lemongrass, starfruit, gooseberry, grapefruit, and wet stone all coming in assertive, fragrant fashion. You also get a heap of both fresh and dried herbs and asparagus with all the citrus flavors. It’s like Radiohead—at turns weird, but potentially popular.
This winery dates its history allllll the way back to April of 1499. This white is crafted from their best grapes, and wasn’t bottle until 2021. Blended from Friulano, Ribolla Gialla, and Sauvignon Blanc, it offers up citrus, tropical fruits, blossoms, pears, apples, toast, nuts, and a pleasant salinity. All of that is floating on top of a soft, juicy, delicious palate that takes a good, long time to say its farewells.