All posts by Charli Truelove

Women In Wine

In organoleptic experiments to test the wine tasting ability of men and women, female participants consistently come out on top. Their superior palates and tasting precision are well documented in scientific papers and journals, which explains why the female success rate in the Master of Wine qualification is now higher than male.

This is now being reflected in wineries and cellars around the world as female winemakers take the helm in a traditionally male environment. We are proud to represent some of the best female winemakers in the world, and we truly believe that the wines crafted by these talented women – from Japan and South Africa to Italy and France – are some of the very best in the Hallgarten portfolio.

Lucia Minoggio, Castello di Nipozzano, Italy

Lucia’s family has always been linked to wine. Her mother, grandfather and her great grandfather were wine-growers in Piedmont. Lucia herself developed a passion for dance at a young age winning a scholarship at Balletto di Toscana in 2003 in Florence where she danced for 5 years. Meanwhile, she started studying winemaking.  In 2008 Lucia left her ballerina career, to pursue her winemaking dream. Lucia’s first encounter with wine, after her graduation in 2011, was in the heart of Chianti Classico where she worked for two years in many different sectors of production in the cellar and lab. Dealing mainly with red wines, she was introduced to the wine industry under the guidance of leading consultant winemaker, Franco Bernabei. In 2013, she travelled abroad to learn more about wines around the world which helped broaden her skills and knowledge. She started working as winemaker for Frescobaldi at the beginning of 2016.

Valeria Antolin, Piattelli, Argentina

It is hardly a surprise that Valeria Antolin became a winemaker. Her father was a famous sparkling winemaker in Mendoza and she followed in his footsteps, taking a degree in Agronomy from Universidad Nacional de Cuyo before working her way up at Piattelli. She has been with the estate since it was founded in 2002 and is now the principle winemaker at its Mendoza and Cafayate (in the Salta Province) wineries.

Samantha O’Keefe, Lismore Estate Vineyards, South Africa

Samantha O’Keefe’s is an amazing story. Berkeley-educated Samantha O’Keefe left her native California and an executive TV job, in search of a simpler life. She settled into her own sliver of paradise in the form of a 600 acre former dairy farm in Greyton, South Africa. Nothing seems to faze her, she shares her property with a troop of baboons and a leopard. She has made her mark since her inaugural vintage in 2006 with a string of stunning cool-climate wines that have wowed customers and critics the world over.

Estelle Roumage, Château Lestrille Capmartin, France

Estelle Roumage embodies this outstanding family domaine in Entre-deux-Mers, close to St Emilion in Bordeaux. Her wines are delicate and precise, and consistently punch above their appellation. She manages to blend respect for tradition with a modern outlook to vine management and winemaking techniques. On top of this Estelle has a real passion and talent for bringing her wines to our customers to share, to taste, to learn, to engage, in a way that really ignites their taste buds.

 

Sonia Spadaro, Santa Maria La Nave, Italy

Born in Augusta, on the Ionian coast of Sicily, Sonia grew up in the orange groves of Lentini, watching Mount Etna erupt. Sonia discovered the world of wine by chance and decided to start tending to the family vines and work in the cellar on the vinification processes. After graduating in economics, she completely devoted her life to wine and became the owner at Santa Maria La Nave as well as becoming a sommelier. Santa Maria la Nave is a small boutique winey on Mount Etna, specialising in wines from autochthonous varieties.

Stefanie Weegmuller, Weingut Weegmüller, Germany

Stefanie is one of the first women to have worked in Germany’s male-dominated wine industry. She has supremely mastered the technical aspects of winemaking, and – crucially – brings heart and sensuality to her work. She has been making the highest quality Pfalz wines for more than 25 years, assisted by a largely female team at the winery and behind the scenes. Her clean, pure wines have a delicate Pfalz spice and are very generous in fruit and length.

 

Chloe Gabrielsen, Lake Chalice, New Zealand

Raised in Turangi on the shores of the mighty Lake Taupo, Chloe’s early exposure to viticulture began with helping her parents pick out wine from the local store (they were fiends for a big Aussie red). After finishing College in 2001, Chloe moved to Marlborough to pursue a Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology degree through Lincoln University, completing her first harvest at the Saint Clair Family Estate in 2006. Now more than ten vintages later, Chloe is the winemaker at Lake Chalice, producing the very best results for this superb winery… that is, when she’s not being a Mum to Asher, member of multiple sports teams, performing in Kapa Haka (Māori performing arts), being a cross-fit addict or cooking a mean kai (kiwi food)!

 

Ayana Misawa, Grace Winery, Japan

It’s fitting that Ayana makes wine in Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture from the revered Koshu grape, as her father Shigekazu Misawa is regarded as Japan’s Koshu pioneer. Ayana has studied winemaking on three continents, at the Institute of Enology and Viticulture in Yamanishi, the Faculty of Enology of the University of Bordeaux, and South Africa’s Stellenbosch University. She has also made wine at some very well-known wineries, including Cape Point Vineyards in South Africa, Catena Zapata in Mendoza, Errazuriz in Chile and Mountford in New Zealand. She has now returned to her homeland and works for Grace, one of Japan’s most prestigious wineries.

The Annual Tasting… From the inside

Charli Truelove, Hallgarten Marketing Coordinator, was at the forefront of annual tasting logistics when we took to One Marylebone for the first time this year. Below she provides her perspective on what it is like from the other side of the tasting glass.

Arriving at the venue on Sunday to get ready for the two days ahead and prepare for what was our first annual tasting at One Marylebone; nearly 750 wines, from 152 producers, based in 23 countries were set to be on show for customers, press and those in the trade to taste. As soon as I stepped out of Great Portland street tube on that sunny Sunday I was wowed by the view that greeted me – One Marylebone. What is the first thing you should do in this situation? Take a picture of course…

Out of curiosity, I had a sneak peak of the venue on Google street maps before arriving, but was not expecting it to have quite this impact! The Grade 1 listed ex-church built, in 1826 is absolutely stunning. Pumped and ready to start the work ahead (unboxing, carrying, lining-up wines and generally making everything looked shipshape) I am even more bowled over as I step inside; up the stone steps through the impressive doorway into the beautiful wooden herringbone floored, stained glass magnificent venue.

The main task at hand on the Sunday was to simply make sure everything was in place for the two day tasting ahead. Wines numbered and on the table, boxes away, point of sale and signs in place, tasting books primed, pencils sharpened, all set up and ready to go.

On the morning of the first day of the tasting it is my responsibility to direct our suppliers to their designated table and it’s a pleasure to see the excitement on their faces as they walk into the venue and experience the new set-up for the first time.

As the tasting gets underway, by 11:30 I can’t help but notice a queue forming to get inside – ‘this is going to be a busy one!’. The day gets off to a flying start; corks were popping, laughter and chatter filled the building. No matter who you are in the trade, it is always a wonderful experience to taste wines poured by winery owners, winemakers, grape growers and wine experts, who embody the wines and it is clear to see the love and passion they have for what they do.

This year, the organising team decided to take our even catering to a whole new level – street level.  KERB is one of London’s leading street food organisations, whose sole goal is to make events taste better. We welcomed three different and exciting street food vendors, paired with wines from the tasting, to park up and serve their culinary delights to our guests.

  • Growlers – Portuguese rolls filled with hangar steak
  • Nazari – Inspired by Al-Andalus Moorish Spain
  • Hanoi Kitchen – The freshest Vietnamese street food straight out of Hanoi

My favourite was the Pregos – how can you argue with a steak sandwich on a Monday?

The new venue, new wines and new producers seems to be going down well with suppliers and guests alike. As I walk around taking photos and making sure everyone has all they need there is a positive buzz that fills the room, everybody is learning, pouring, tasting and generally getting excited about the wines and suppliers on show.

All in all a very successful annual tasting and my favourite venue so far. After three days, and almost 30,000 steps on my pedometer, I can’t wait to get planning next year’s!

“I don’t want to ever leave Italy”

Hallgarten Marketing Coordinator, Charli Truelove, recently took to the road with Sales Manager, Phil Brodie in the Midlands team, and a group of his customers to experience the culture, cuisine and of course the wine in Emilia Romagna with the team from Cevico.

 

Day one we arrived in Bologna, the home of Bolognese, and were greeted by Alida Sangiorgi, Marketing Manager at Cevico, and our bus driver, Mauro, who took us to our first stop – an incredible visit and lunch, cooked by Chef Paola Cucchi,  at Tenuta La Massellina,  in the Castelbolognese commune of Emillia Romagna. The estate is owned by one of our most important partners, Cevico, and is the source of some of the Emilia-Romagna wines in our portfolio.

Here we were joined by more of the Cevico team who shared so much knowledge with us over the coming days; Cristina Melandri, our guide from the Cevico team and Alberto Medici, co-owner of the family run Medici Ermete.

After the already action-packed first morning and lunch, we took to the road once again to visit Basilica San Vitale one of the most important surviving examples of early Christian Byzantine art and architecture in Europe. The walking tour unveiled of some of Ravenna’s historical monuments including Dante’s Tomb.

To finish the day, more food followed – it’s true what they say about how fantastic the cuisine is in this part of the world! A spectacular 7 course dinner awaited at Furfanti with the Cevico team. Both the food and wine were both unsurprisingly incredible… I am already thinking; “I don’t want to ever leave Italy.”

Day two, we drove along the coast to Rimini to visit Le Rocche Malatestiane, which takes its name from one of Rimini’s oldest noble families, the Malatesta family. We were given a tour by our guides, Elena Piva and Enrico Salvatori, where we were shown and told about its fermentation tanks, grape drying process and barrel cellar, followed by a wine tasting of three whites and three reds each more moreish than the last. Including the Antica Marineria Bianco, an oaked-aged white wine made from 100% Sangiovese. We talked everything from soils, fermentation, ageing and grape varieties – a very interesting tasting and visit.

Following this busy morning, we stopped for lunch at Trattoria Zaghini Santarcangelo where we were treated to a divine array of foods, and probably the best pasta I have even eaten (the wine was pretty good too), all set in a beautiful traditional Italian restaurant surrounding.

We were well in need of a walk after such an indulgent lunch, so stopped off at Santarcangelo, a medieval town 10km north of Rimini which had the atmosphere of a large village rather than a town.

The final evening of our trip of course involved more fantastic cuisine, with dinner on the canal at a seafood restaurant, Cesenatico. Alberto Medici toasted the evening with his Lambrusco – Medici Ermete ‘La Favorita’ Rosso Secco, Lambrusco NV – a chilled sparkling red, nothing like I have tried before, filled with an abundance red fruit flavours with a delicate finish. A truly spectacular wine!

Women with Bottle

In organoleptic experiments to test the wine tasting ability of men and women, female participants consistently come out on top. Their superior palates and tasting precision are well documented in scientific papers and journals, which explains why the female success rate in the Master of Wine qualification is now higher than men’s. This is now being reflected in wineries and cellars around the world as female winemakers take the helm in a traditionally male environment. We’re proud to represent some of the best female winemakers around, and we believe the wines crafted by theses talented women from Japan and South Africa to Italy and France – are some of the very best in the Hallgarten portfolio.
Let’s take a look at these women with bottle.

 

Ayana Misawa
It’s fitting that Ayana makes wine in Japan’s Yamanashi Prefecture from the revered Koshu grape as her father Shigekazu Misawa is regarded as Japan’s Koshu pioneer. Ayana has studied winemaking on three continents, at the Enology and Viticulture Institute in Yamanishi, the Faculty of Enology of the University of Bordeaux, and South Africa’s Stellenbosch University. She has also made wine at some very well-known wineries, including Cape Point Vineyards in South Africa, Catena Zapata in Mendoza, Errazuriz in Chile and Mountford in New Zealand. She’s now returned to her homeland and works for Grace, one of Japan’s most prestigious wineries.

Grace Winery, Koshu Private Reserve:
Japan Touted as a representative wine of Japan by Jancis Robinson, this wine is pure, elegant and authentic just like its winemaker Ayana. Fresh as Mount Fuji, the wine brings the perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, just like a refreshing breeze on a warm, sunny day. A wine with powerful expression of its terroir, minerality and a timeless grace.

Estelle Roumage
Estelle Roumage embodies this outstanding family domaine in Entre-deux-Mers, close to St Emilion. Her wines are delicate, precise and consistently punch above their appellation. She manages to blend respect for tradition with a modern outlook to vine management and winemaking techniques. On top of this Estelle has a real passion and talent for bringing her wines to her customers and engaging, in a way that really ignites their taste buds.

Château Lestrille Capmartin Clairet
This is a Bordeaux-British love story: Clairet wines were originally shipped from Bordeaux to England during the Middle Ages and known as French Claret. These dark rosé wines established the fame of Bordeaux as a wine-making region before the reds took most of the glory! Estelle shows her talents by making a wine full of fruit and finesse, refreshing yet characterful, pairing wonderfully with spicy food, roasted meats and barbecues.

Juliette Joblot
Juliette’s father Jean-Marc Joblot introduced her to winemaking on the family estate in Givry. She started making the wines herself in 2010 and has never looked back. “I learnt a lot from my father,” she says, “and now I make decisions.” She’s aware that little-by-little more women are entering the world of winemaking but is also quick to point out that in regions like Burgundy it can be difficult to be a women in the winery “because the Bourgogne men are very macho!” The young yet determined Juliette is further exploring her father’s approach of ‘lutte raisonnée’ in the vineyards, and is also looking to retain more freshness by limiting oxygen contact in the winery as much as possible.

Domaine Joblot, Givry 1er Cru ‘Clos de La Servoisine’
The Joblot family is world famous for their refined, fleshy, spicy and structured cuvées, “Justifiably recognised as one of the great producers in Burgundy” (Robert Parker). This wine has typical Pinot Noir aromas with attractive cherry fruit. Lots of ripe tannins in the mouth. The fruit flavours linger in the mouth finishing with a spicy edge and hints of leather.

Caterina Bellanova
Caterina is the queen of San Marzano and Primitivo is considered the king of Puglian grapes: this is certainly a winning marriage! Named European Producer of the Year 2015 in the Sommelier Wine Awards, Cantine San Marzano is one of the most professional, forward-thinking cooperatives in Southern Italy with a reputation for producing great wines. Trained biologist Caterina Bellanova, whose wines reflect the region and its native grape varieties, is at the helm.

Cantine San Marzano, ‘Talo’ Primitivo di Manduria
Ruby red colour enriched with violet reflections; a generous bouquet of ripe cherries and plums, with pleasant notes of cocoa and vanilla. This wine has a velvety texture, softened by the warmth of the Primitivo grapes; with persistant sweetness on the finish. Elegant but vigourous like a Southern Italian lady, this is one of the best value ‘3 Bicchieri’ wines available.

Francesca Pratesi
Born in Florence, Francesca Pratesi spent her childhood in the Tuscan countryside where she learnt plenty about vineyards and winemaking from her father and grandfather. She studied Agronomy at the University of Florence and began working for Marchesi Frescobaldi in 2004, first in the cellar then as the winemaker at the stunning Castello di Pomino estate where she makes still, sparkling and dessert wines, including the revered Pomino Bianco.

Castello di Pomino, Pomino Bianco, DOC
High altitude, endless light and a touch of femininity; a wine, made from Chardonnay and Pinot Bianco which is all style and finesse. A hidden gem coming from one of the smallest white wine DOCs in Tuscany and the Frescobaldi dynasty.

Eleonora Marconi
In 2005 Eleonora worked a vintage at Castello di Nipozzano as an intern assisting the winemaker in the cellar. Seven years later she joined the winemaking team full-time. In the intervening years she graduated from the University of Marche with a BSc in Viticulture and Oenology, made wine in Western and South Australia, and carried out further vintages at Nipozzano. “First and foremost, I want to be recognised as a winemaker,” she says. “But I also feel the position of women in the industry should be recognised.”

Castello di Nipozzano, Chianti Rufina Riserva DOCG
This is a sensational, savoury, complex red that represents the Chianti appellation at its best with a modern touch. A woman can be innovative without breaking tradition! Dark sour cherry and violet aromas combined with spices and a long lasting mineral finish.

Louise Chéreau
Chéreau-Carré has always been a family affair, and Louise Chéreau is the third generation to work in the winery which was founded by her grandfather in 1960. Alongside her father Bernard, she is heavily involved in the winemaking process, working the vintage from harvest to blending. “It is great to learn from my father as we build together a solid philosophy that will last until – maybe – a new generation is coming. We are a good team.”

Chéreau Carré, Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine
One of the oldest producers in the region, growing old vine Muscadet on some of the best soils . The grapes are hand harvested with a careful selection of berries, and are stored in small boxes to preserve the aromas until pressing. Louise makes clean wines with a crisp acidity and bright, fresh minerality.

Steffi Weegmüller
With 300 years of winemaking history and a gaze to the future, the Weegmüller sisters have excelled in making delicious Riesling. Steffi is one of the first women to have worked in Germany’s male-dominated wine industry and she has mastered the technical aspects of winemaking, and – crucially – brings heart and sensuality to her work. She has been making the highest quality Pfalz wines for more than 25 years aided and abetted by a largely female team at the winery and behind the scenes. Her clean, pure wines have a delicate Pfalz spice and are very generous in fruit and length.

Weingut Weegmüller, Riesling ‘Der Elegante’ Mandelring Kabinett Trocken
This delicious Riesling has amazing aromas and concentration of ripe fruit and fresh notes. This is an organically-farmed dry Riesling with luscious fruit and richness with characters of lemon and grapefruit and a lovely, dry and zesty finish.

Nadine Ferrand
Nadine Ferrand is the latest family member to take helm at the Domaine in the heart of Pouilly Fuissé. She has transformed the vineyard and winery since taking over in 1984. She and her daughters are clearly doing something right as the wines regularly receive high scores from Robert Parker. Nadine Ferrand has brought the domaine to the top of Pouilly Fuissé. Her wines with vivacious fruit notes, buttery roundness and appealing minerality have been recognised by the Sommelier Wine Awards as a jewel of the appellation

Domaine Ferrand, Pouilly – Fuissé
The Ferrard family philosophy is simple: ‘Chardonnay, expressing itself with a feminine touch.’ A well balanced and elegant wine with fresh yellow plum flavours and spicy notes that carry through to an invigorating mineral palate and buttery finish.

Samantha OKeefe
Samantha O’Keefe’s is an amazing story. A native Californian, Berkeley educated, she and her husband realised their dream and bought a mountain in Africa. But then her husband upped sticks and Sam was left to bring up two young boys on her own, 300 metres up a mountain, surrounded by wilderness (and baboons). But nothing seems to faze her and she has made her mark with a string of stunning cool-climate wines that have wowed customers and critics the world over.

Lismore Estate Vineyards, Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc
An attractive Sauvignon Blanc with a strong character, synonymous to its winemaker, Samantha O’ Keefe. The wine is barrel fermented with natural yeasts and spends 11 months in used oak giving it great complexity and freshness. Lots of bright citrus, herb and toasted nut characters.

Christine Vernay
“My name is Christine Vernay, this is the identity I was born with. As a child I was shocked to read mail addressed to my mother as Madame Georges Vernay, as if she didn’t have her own name!” Christine, with her feminist streak is known as “the popess of Condrieu” and produces wines with incredbile finesse and elegance. The domaine has certainly put Condrieu on the map. When Georges Vernay retired in the mid-nineties after more than 40 years making and growing Condrieu he asked his children – two sons and a daughter – if they were interested in taking on the estate. Only Christine was, and today she excels at making exquisite Condrieu and Côte Rotie. ‘Wine is a pleasure, but it also tells a story,’ she says.

Domaine Georges Vernay, Côte – Rotie, ‘Blonde du Seigneur’
A benchmark Syrah of smoky black olives with great power and structure. A smooth and elegant wine. Perfect to accompany game and mature cheese.

Sabine Mollard
Domaine Marc Morey was established in 1919 by Ferand Morey and is now run by the current young and talented winemaker Sabine Mollard, the daugher of Bernard Mollard and hiswife, who is Marc Morey’s daughter. Sabine took over the winemaking in September 2003 following the tragic death of her brother. Through hardwork, study and determination she has become one of the best producers in Chassagne. Her St Aubin ‘Les Charmois’ is her best kept secret – an unknown appellation – a small parcel giving birth to a graceful wine.

Domaine Marc Morey, Saint Aubin 1er Cru ‘Les Charmois’
This wine has flavours of lemon peel which combine with orange, vanilla and hints of smokiness. Medium to full bodied with more citrus on the palate. It has heaps of minerality and good acidity keeping the mouth lively. The finish is clean with buttery elements.

Séverine Lemoine
Having worked in finance, Séverine Lemoine was given the opportunity to buy a small parcel in Lirac and decided to follow her dream. Her domaine, Les Cigalounes, was born – now her pride and joy. The vines are grown using a traditional philosophy and are now certified organic. Domaine des Cigalounes is a small 7 hectare property, located on the rocky plateau between the villages of Tavel and Lirac on the opposite bank of the Rhône from Châteauneuf- du-Pape.

Domaine Des Cigalounes, Lirac
Attractive deep red. Aromatic and smooth with notes of fruit and spices. A soft and full wine with an extremely silky-textured finish. This wine is food friendly and a great alternative to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Isabelle Fort
The Durand family has owned the seven hectare estate of Château la Fleur Grands Landes in the Montagne district since the 18th century. In 1969, Mr Carrere, Miss Durand’s husband took over the estate. Since 1997, his daughter Isabelle Fort, wife of Jean-Philippe Fort, an oenologist from Michel Rolland’s team, has been running the estate.

Château La Fleur Grands Landes, Grands Landes Montagne St Emilion
Isabelle Fort took over from her father in 1999 and has evolved the style of the wines to retain more freshness and to extract the best fruit from the Merlot. The result? A well balanced wine, dark fruits with herbal, spicy notes and silky tannins.

Cecile Dupuis
Château Bonalogue was purchased by the Bourotte family in 1926. Since then, each family member that has run Bonalgue has been lucky enough to do so with complete freedom and independence. Today the estate is run by Jean-Baptiste Bourotte and the vineyard is in excellent condition, and the wines pay tribute to the exceptional terroir of Bonalgue. Impressed by the bright young intern who had been working with them for a few harvests, the Bourotte familly, the owners of the Chateau, apppointed Cecile Dupuis chief winemaker in 2009 when she was only 23.

Château Beausejour de Bonalgue, Pomerol
Cecile uses minimal intervention techniques, including using no herbicides in the vineyard. A traditional Claret with earthy and liquorice flavours and a just a hint of chocolate through to a rounded finish.