Women Winemakers Dinner

This summer we were drinking some Turley wines and my friend commented that women make better wines because they have better palates. She decided to create a dinner in the fall build around wines from women vintners.  The party took place in the basement tavern of the 1770 House in East Hampton

White wine
We kicked off the meal with a white from the Lopez de Heredia Tondonia Winery in Rioja.  The winery has been in the family since the middle of the 19th Century.  The current winemaker is Maria Jose Lopez de Heredia, the grand-daughter.  What was interesting about this wine is that over the course of just 20 minutes the wine changed in taste and texture. 

I enjoyed my wine with a half a dozen oysters. 

The next two wines we had were paired side by side.  There was one wine from the Burgundy region, Gevrey-Chambertin.  Having a hard time reading the label.  The story goes that this family had a very successful wine business for years.  The father and then the son took it over and their wines were just not that good.  They gave the daughter a shot and the entire business changed.  This particular wine was really good.  Clean, flavorful and just easy going down. 

We had this next to a pinot noir from Penner-Ash.  The winemaker, Lynn Penner, had always had a passion for making wine.  She worked at Stags Leap and the Rex Hill Winery in Oregon before opening up her own winery.  A rich wine that definitely got better once it had opened up. 

Had a few spicy green chili chicken wings for the table to share.

The burger is the thing to get in the tavern. 

We also had the menu from upstairs to choose from.  Little too heavy for me, at least that night.  I had the suckling pig with celery root puree, roasted carrots, cabbage and a spicy jus.  I could have easily shared this.

More wines. Olga Raffault, 2007 Chinon.  Located in the Savigny-en-Veron district.  Originally run by Olga who died a few years ago is now run by her grand-daughter Sylvie and her husband. 

Martinelli.  This vineyard sits next to the Turley vineyard.  They became friends and now work together.  Helen Turley makes amazing wines.

Nothing like a cheese plate at the end of the evening.  I could just keep it to myself.

Of course a little ice cream with candle in it for the birthday crew.  Fun event.  Didn't love any of the wines but had a great time and loved the whole concept. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    I know (and have blogged on) many women winemakers, most from Europe. And many come from generational wine making families.I love that the gender bias is mostly gone, and It is true even into Eastern Europe, but I question the palate premise though.I’m a believer, as you many know, of drinking wine as a story through taste. Part of that story is w/o a doubt the winemaker. Part of that is personality and dna. And part of that is gender of course.You tasted some great wine.The Lopez Rioja is a great bottle. Need to check the C02 count as that might attribute to the change over time, That wine, which I know, is very natural in its production and does evolve visibly in my experience.Talking wine. You might enjoy this post from my recent trip to Etna. The second piece which I’m writing this weekend will include the winemakers, some of which are women.Under the volcano in Etna http://awe.sm/d6tFS

  2. Laura Yecies

    One of my absolute favorite wines is made by a woman – Mia Klein. She makes a terrific Sauvignon Blanc called Selene. Dry, crisp with some fruit – European Chenin Blanc style. It’s not super expensive (like her better known wine Screaming Eagle). There is also a Selene Merlot that is good.

    1. Gotham Gal

      very cool. i might buy a bottle from each of these ladies.

  3. William Mougayar

    That was a great concept. I had no idea there were so many great women winemakers.

    1. Gotham Gal

      The wines are really good too!

  4. edzimmerman

    Great post. I have numerous friends who are women winemakers (Jen Williams, Helen Keplinger, Laurence Feraud, Annie Favia, Isabel Ferrando, and many others) whose wines are great. I’ve long thought whether the wines they make are different. Critics often call wines “feminine” or “masculine” and there’s some controversy around assigning genders to these, especially if you do so based on the gender of the winemaker. I do know that Helen Keplinger’s “Sumo” or Laurence Feraud’s Cuvee da Capo, for instance, are really hard to think of as “feminine” wines. What’s been interesting to me is how different my female winemaker friends are when they taste and talk about wine. Their vocabulary is different and I find their insights to generally be more enlightening, at least to me. A few years ago, I was able to do something I’d really wanted to do for years — I brought together a co-ed group of winemakers I really respect and whose wines I love and we traveled to Burgundy for cellar visits and tastings. The group is multinational and most of them originally knew each other by wine only (in other words, they’d not met or spoken). The exchange of ideas, perspectives and tasting knowledge was fantastic and the friendships that evolved as the trip has been recreated (this past year, we hit Champagne and Burgundy) have been really great to see. I’ve been to too many “wine dinners” where all the tasters/attendees are male. I highly recommend to the men in the crowd that you think about your invite list for your next wine dinner and strive to get to a minimum of 33% female around the table. You’ll benefit tremendously from the insights of your mixed group; in my experience it does change the dynamic…and in a good way. And women, if you love and know about wine…ping your male friends about those dinners they’re doing with you…please ping me.Final note: Joanne, if you didn’t love those wines (and I know you prefer white wines generally), I can point you to some others that I’m guessing will hit the spot. ThanksEd

    1. Gotham Gal

      thanks ed. i think every situation benefits from a mixed crowd. women and men think, taste and talk differently.