On top of our outstanding roster of female chefs, last Friday's "Women in Whites" gala spotlighted a range of wines from wineries that are owned by women or employ female winemakers. Curated by 2013 JBF Award winner Merry Edwards, these bottles are a snapshot of America's top wine talent. We're sharing their tasting notes below.
Domaine Carneros Brut 2009 / CEO and founding winemaking Eileen Crane
Hailed as “the vintage of the decade,” 2009 was an ideal year for Domaine Carneros: grapes grew slowly and consistently, building layers of elegant flavor. This superlative cuvée offers aromas of apple, lime zest, and honeycomb, plus a classic, brioche-filled palate with fine pinpoint bubbles and a rich, lingering finish.
Pellegrini Pinot Noir 2011/ Winemaker Lynn Krausmann
A classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, this garnet-hued red has elegant aromas of cherry fruit, rose petal, and spice; its medium-bodied palate is reminiscent of Bing cherries, with subtle spice and earth notes. Thanks to its bright acidity and soft, velvety texture, this versatile wine pairs effortlessly with a variety of dishes.
Lasseter Family Winery Enjoué Rosé Blend 2012 / Winemaker Julia Iantosca, Co-owner Nancy Lasseter
Crafted in the Bandol style, this crisp and refreshing rosé—a blend of estate-grown Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Grenache—recalls the wines enjoyed in Europe’s terrace cafés. The nose shows notes of strawberry, ruby grapefruit, and mango. A zesty acidity, supple texture, and lasting finish make this wine very food friendly.
Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc 2012 / Winemaker and owner Merry Edwards
The result of an unexpectedly bountiful crop, this flavorful Sauvignon Blanc teems with a heady perfume of orange blossom and elderflower, with fig, lychee, and ripe pear notes in the background. Barrel fermentation and intensive lees stirring impart fullness to the palate, which also has a lively acidity. Its finish shines with the flavor of tangy pink grapefruit.
Riverbench Reserve Chardonnay 2010 / Winemaker Clarissa Nagy, general manager Laura Booras Mohseni, Anne Jenks
Striking the perfect balance between acidity and toasty flavor, the 2010 Reserve Chardonnay is easy to enjoy. It begins with nutty and peach aromas on the nose, with notes of honeydew and citrus following on the palate.
Riverbench Mesa Pinot Noir 2010 / Winemaker Clarissa Nagy, general manager Laura Booras Mohseni, Anne Jenks
This lively Pinot Noir is made with grapes from the old vines of “the mesa”, a highly prized, four-acre plot on the Riverbench estate. Its palate begins with lush, silky textures, followed by vivid flavors of earth and red fruit.
Handley Cellars Pinot Noir 2009 / Winemaker Milla Handley
By blending grapes from cooler, coastal vineyards with fruit from warmer areas, Handley Cellars has crafted a complex yet food-friendly Pinot Noir. Its nose shows scents of cherry, Chinese five spice, carob, and orange peel; its rich and silky palate offers notes of black cherry, red plum, cocoa, and baking spices.
Staglin Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 / President Shannon Staglin, Founder and CEO Shari Staglin
This Cabernet Sauvignon presents classic aromas of cassis and black currant on the front of the nose, with an earthy background of black violet, olive, and green peppercorn. Its vibrant palate shines with black currant, anise, and plum, all held together with a strong core of acidity and well-formed tannins.
Quady Winery Essensia 2012 / Co-founder and owner Laurel Quady
Made with the orange variety of Muscat grape and aged for three months in French oak, the perennially adored Quady Essensia offers rich flavors of orange, apricot, vanilla, and honey, all energized by a fresh, brisk acidity.