Women, Wine & A Getaway Flight
I’m thrilled to have curated this trans-continental flight for you with Marquis Wine Cellars. We’ve selected four different wines for your journey. I wanted to shine a spotlight on women in wine for this TTWC offering, so each of these drops has a woman involved in its making (be it as winery owner, winemaker or both).
Taking off in Spain, we zig-zag with stopovers in British Columbia and France before landing in South Africa, exploring completely different styles and regions along the way. But there’s a commonality here: all of these picks are the product of organic or “honest” winemaking.
Like any great flight, we’ll lift off with bubbles!
Wine 1: Parés Baltà - Brut Cava, Spain
I absolutely love this Cava. Certified organic and biodynamic, it’s made by women winemakers Maria Elena Jiménez and Marta Casas (wives of Joan and Josep Cuisiné – the 3rd generation family owners of Parés Balta). These ladies are bringing a fresh approach to this winery which has been around since 1790.
About sixty kilometres west of Barcelona, Parés Baltà is in the hilly Penedes region. This is Cava country. Maria Elena and Marta can take advantage of the influences of the nearby Mediterranean while sourcing grapes from five different regional vineyards with varying elevations and soils.
Made with the three typical Cava varieties (Parellada, Macabeu and Xarel-lo) it’s produced using the traditional method, like its cousin Champagne. The Parellada (which 64% of the blend) comes from the highest vineyard, bringing the fresh and floral character. This sparkler ticks all the boxes for me: dry; small lively and persistent bubbles; toasty brioche and citrus tones; delicate and elegant mousse; luxurious creamy mid-palate with a crisp finish. (11.5% abv)
It’s beautiful on its own and will go with any food. (Think eggs benny, truffle fries, salt and pepper prawns, smoked salmon, tapas, jamón, cheese and charcuterie, dessert).
Wine 2: Birch Block Vineyard - 2019 Éte Sans Fin Pinot Noir Rosé, Okanagan Valley
Together with husband Murray, Vancouverite and content creation specialist Sarah Bancroft is behind this pink rose label. Birch Block Vineyard is their family-owned 5 acre parcel in the small town of Kaleden (on the west side of Skaha Lake just south of Penticton) where Sarah and Murray planted their Pinot Noir Dijon clones in 2016.
Using organic practices, they seek to produce low intervention wines which reflect the terroir of their Skaha Lake-side land. This little pocket of the South Okanagan benefits from long days, cool nights and soils made of sand, loam and glacial deposits.
Having travelled extensively in France, Sarah and Murray’s approach is inspired by both the French and Okanagan way of life. This Été Sans Fin (‘Endless Summer’) is 100% Pinot Noir and an “all year” vino. Don’t wait for summer! Pale rose gold in colour, it’s bone dry and has a savoury character with subtle strawberry and rhubarb tones. A light sipper with wild elegance, fresh acidity and balance.
I’d be happy to sip this one solo, but it’s a natural pairing for picnic fare, salads, prawns, cheese and charcuterie, pork roast or carnitas tacos. (12.4% abv)
Wine 3: Clos de Mez - 2017 Château Gaillard (Morgon), France
This is one of the most intriguing wines I’ve had in a while. Nuanced to start, this Morgon kept drawing me in on Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4 after opening. Its rustic purity, Old World elegance and structure just kept going.
Made by Marie-Élodie Zighera-Confuron, this is 100% Gamay made from a 80 year old vines in Morgon, Beaujolais which she inherited from her grandmother. Marie-Élodie established Clos de Mez (a shorted version of her name) in 2006 and makes just three wines from parcels in Morgon and Fleurie. Inspired by a 1911 Morgan which she tasted early in her career, Marie-Élodie’s aim is to make cellar-worthy wine with a structured style.
Certified organic, this wine is earthy and dark with violet florals, dark plum, black cherries, coffee, a touch of barnyard and a flash of minerality. It’s rich, complex and elegant. (Note: It’s a completely different style than your light red, juicy Beaujolais Nouveau). (13% abv).
The high acidity here brings versatility for food pairings. I’d be reaching for things like gruyere or raclette; maple salmon; sushi; funghi pizza; creamy carbonara pasta; thinly sliced steak.
Wine 4: 2018 Swartland Rouge, Kloof Street by Chris & Andrea Mullineux, Swartland, South Africa
Wow, what a cool red blend from international winemaking stars Andrea Mullineaux and her husband Chris. Their Kloof Street range is to showcase “honest wine” using indigenous yeasts and traditional techniques to express the shale and granite terroirs of the various Swartland region vineyards from which they source their grapes.
Having grown up in San Francisco and studied viticulture and enology at UC Davis, Andrea met South African Chris at a wine festival in Champagne. After working in France, California and South Africa they chose to settle in Swartland (60 km north of Capetown) where they believe truly great wines can be made. Since starting Mullineux in 2007 they’ve received multiple accolades, including Andrea being named International Winemaker of the Year by Wine Enthusiast in 2016.
This Mediterranean-inspired wine is a blend of Syrah (44%),Tinto Barocca (44%), Grenache (7%), Cinsault (4%) and Carignan (1%). For me there’s dark cherry, black fruit and cassis tones with violet florals, leather, sweet spice and a touch of smoked meat. Fresh acidity and streaked with stone and granite minerality. Smooth with fine grained tannins, this is an everyday drinker with finesse and power. Give it at least a 1-2 hour decant or stretch it out over a few days. (I was still loving this one on day 4). (14.5% abv).
This one’s got sliced BBQ sirloin, grilled lamb, charcoal chicken or biltong written all over it (or thick roasted portobello mushroom if you’re going meatless).
Ordering your Marquis TTWC 4-Pack
Want to jump on this trans-continental flight with me? Click Add to Cart above to purchase this special TTWC pack from Marquis Wine Cellars who’ll ship it directly to your door (Note: For delivery to BC addresses only).
Your TTWC Marquis 4-pack will include a printed Wine Card from me setting out your flight path.
Bon voyage et santé!
TT Wine Counsel