Women In Wine Fridays: Le Donne Del Vino 26 Years Of Success – Part 2

Donne del Vino Seminar

This is the second part of my post on the Le Donne del Vino seminar held by Civilta del Bere last year at Vinitaly. My post was getting so long yesterday that I feared no one would read it on the web and each one of these women deserves to be recognized and written about together with their wonderful wine from 1988.

The fifth winery that was presented was Castello di Querceto. The winery is located some seven kilometers from Greve in Chianti, in the heart of Chianti Classico. They have 60 hectares that are planted with vines in a property that is 190 hectares. The property is owned by the Francois family and the castle was renovated in the 16th century from previously existing medieval ruins. The winery has been operating for 115 years. They are lucky enough to have library wines starting from the year 1904. In 1924, it was one of the 33 estates that founded the Chianti Classico Consortium.

The winery has been paying particular attention of late to the nexus between environmental concerns and producing quality wines. In the coming years they will be replanting part of their vineyards with a higher density per hectare.

Maria Antonietta Corsi Francois was on hand to present her family winery. She too has been in Le Donne del Vino since its inception. She has been involved in many aspects of the winery where he husband is the oenologist. For many years she has been involved in the environmental aspects of the winery and the changes made to the castle.

The wine we tried was Il Picchio, a Chianti Classico Riserva D.O.C.G. 1988. It had a beautiful ruby red color with cedar, oak, smoke, animal skin and savory aromas on the nose and similar flavors on the palate as well as a fruity and an earthy note. It had good acidity and firm tannins and was long and persistent. I found this wine to be harmonious and balanced. A gorgeous layered Chianti.

Le Donne del VIno - Part 2

The sixth producer was Chiara Lungarotti from Lungarotti in Umbria. I have met Chiara numerous times and interviewed her in 2005. Her winery really defines Umbra and together with her Mother and sister Teresa, Chiara has been running the show since her father passed away in 1999.

The family owns two large properties, one in Torigiano and the other in Montefalco with 250 hectares of vines. They have 21 labels but Rubesco is the wine that has been the star of their lineup since the 1960s. Giorgio Lungarotti, Chiara’s father created the wine.

Lungarotti is also attentive to the environment and was the first winery in Europe to produce energy using the biomass from the winery. Lungarotti is today getting organic certification for the winery in Montefalco.

Chiara has been working in the winery since the beginning of the 1990s. Chiara has an undergraduate degree in agronomy and has taken a number of specialized courses in viticulture from the University of Bordeaux. Chiara has also been involved in the Movimento del Turismo Vino where she was a past president, and today is a member of Federvini, of the Accademia della vite e del vino and the Accademia dei Georgofili.

We tried the Rubesco Vigna Monticchio Torgiano Rosso Riserva D.O.C.G. 1988 which is a blend of 70% Sangiovese and 30% Canaiolo. The wine was deep ruby red in color with a lighter rim. It was quite fruity on the nose with aromas of cherry, syrup and earth. On the palate, it was dry, full-bodied with rich fruit flavors and dried fruit, meat, and tobacco notes. It was quite balanced and enveloping.

Verona

The next producer, Marilisa Allegrini from Allegrini is also someone I have interviewed in the past and met numerous times. To me she is the quintessence of Verona and for that reason I put this picture above. The Allegrini family has been in Valpolicella since the 16th century and they have 100 hectares of vines. Marilisa and her brother Franco together with her niece Silvia are the principal actors in the winery. Her father Giovanni was one of the first in the area to make changes in terms of the grapes that they were growing and new techniques for pruning and planting density. They also were among the first to created single cru wines from the Valpolicella vineyards.

Marilisa has been working in the winery since 1980. Together with her brother she has moved into Tuscany acquiring wineries in Bolgheri and Montalcino.

The wine we tasted was La Poja, a Vdt Veronese 1988 made from 100% Corvina Veronese. This is one of the few mono-varietal made from Corvina, a blending grape usually seen in Amarone and Valpolicella wines.

The wine was a very deep color, almost opaque with aromas of bacon, dust, cherries and syrup. On the palate it was rich with juicy tannins and similar flavors to those I got on the nose. It was long and persistent with good acidity, a signature of the Corvina grape.

Arena di Verona

The ninth producer was Zenato. I have also met Nadia numerous times, most recently at VinoVip in Cortina, also held by Civlita del Bere. Nadia Zenato’s family is also very closely tied to the Veneto hence more photos of Verona.

The family has 75 hectares of vines located between Lugana and Valpolicella Classico. Started in 1960 by Sergio and Carla Zenato, their mission has always been to protect indigenous varieties such as Trebbiano di Lugana. Today the winery is run by Nadia and her brother Alberto.

Nadia is in charge of sales and marketing and the wines are now sold in 65 countries. She also makes a jewelry line called Nadia Pensieri and is active in social enterprises such as Save Guinea as well as the national and local organizations of Le Donne del Vino, among others. Nadia was emotional when she spoke of her father and working in the winery. She spoke about walking among the vines as a young girl.

The wine we tried was an Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Riserva D.O.C. 1988. The wine was a beautiful example of an Amarone with a deep ruby core and lighter rim, intense and persistent aromas of bacon, oak and tobacco. On the palate it was full bodied with good acidity, minerality and the same powerful flavors that I got on the nose. It was layered and rich with ripe tannins and a long harmonious finish.

Verona 3

The tenth and final producer was Alessandra Boscaini from Masi Agricola. Also from the Veneto, the Masi family is extremely well-known for their Amarone. The family has been in the Valpolicella for 300 years. The family owns a number of properties in the Veneto and Trentino as well as in Tuscany and Argentina. The winery is specialized in their drying techniques for the grapes that go into Amarone.

Alessandra is the seventh generation of the Boscaini family to lead the winery. She inherited her father and grandfather’s passion for the industry and has been putting a more “feminine” face on the winery. She is very active in the oenotourism moviment as well as in the sales of the wines. She is often asked to represent the company in the Asian and Pacific markets.

The wine we tried was the Serego Alighieri Vaio Armaron, Amarone della Valpolicella Classico D.O.C. 1988. This wine comes from the Serego Alighieri vineyards that belong to the direct descendants of the poet Dante, and form Valpolicella’s oldest and most traditional estates. Dante’s son Pietro bought the property in 1353. The Masi family collaborates with the Serego Alighieri winery offering technical expertise and an international distribution chain.

The wine was very big at 15.5% alcohol and as you might imagine knocked my socks off after the last nine wines. It was very full bodied with notes of pepper, liquorice and black fruits. It had long, ripe tannins and was quite a powerhouse.

As you can see, this was a very special tasting and one that I am very happy to have been able to attend. The women and the wines were all fabulously interesting, inviting and enveloping. I don’t know how Alessandro was able to limit the tasting to just 10 women out of so many to choose from but I am glad he did because it would have been hard to take in much more. Writing about this experience over the last two days has made me so excited to go back to Italy and Verona in about two weeks time!

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