In my last column, I extoled the virtues that Barbara Widmer, winemaker, brings to the Tuscan classic, Brancaia. She’s taken a family venture and morphed it into a world-class winery.
Following up on that theme, today we will explore what three more women are bringing to wine culture. Stories about women succeeding in the wine world used to be novel but that is becoming less so.
Morét Brealynn has been in the wine industry for more than a decade. Now, don’t be thinking that this must be some French lass. As Morét says in her website, “Though her name is French, she’s 100% Mexican, and moved from Davis to Sonoma County in 2011.”
She’s been making wine with the able assistance of Adam Lee (he formerly of Siduri, now the proprietor of Clarice) for about four years under the eponymous label, Morét Brealynn. Some names lend themselves to be names for classy products, some not so much (I doubt a wine called Carl Kanowsky would jump off the shelf).
Terry and I recently enjoyed a bottle of Morét’s 2021 Lakeview Vineyard Pinot Noir. Frankly, I had my doubts. I’ve had several bottles of different winemakers’ first offerings and generally am not impressed.
But I was wrong about Morét and her wine. It offered a strong berry bouquet, with ripe raspberries on the taste. It features a beautiful dark color. Terry remarked on the intense berry bouquet but noted that there was no strawberry aroma often found in pinots. She enjoyed its complexity. We both were delighted that, as delicious as it was when we opened it, it improved significantly overnight. A real success, Morét.
My son, Scott, and his wife, Virginia, were coming to the USA for the wedding of another of my sons, Ted. (As you may recall, we had been in Italy earlier this year for Scott’s and Virginia’s wedding in June.) A few months after their wedding, Scott gave Terry and I some momentous news – Virginia was pregnant with our first grandchild.
Now, coming out to California for Ted’s wedding, Virginia wanted to engage in the festivities at the reception, but she did not want to drink anything alcoholic. Fortune smiled upon her, as at almost that same time, French Bloom contacted me, asking me to sample their non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
Maggie Frerejean-Taittinger (yes, Taittinger as in that award winning Champagne), director of the Michelin Guide, and Constance Jablonski (a French super model), longtime friends, partnered together to found French Bloom, a top-quality non-alcoholic sparkling wine.
Maggie faced a dilemma. She was pregnant with twins but also had to continue eating and drinking as part of her job. She wanted to have something more than a soft drink while enjoying fine food. Coinciding with Maggie’s pregnancy, Constance realized that regularly drinking booze might not fit with being a model or her dedicated healthy lifestyle. So, together they created French Bloom.
The winery describes how the wine is made: “French Bloom Le Blanc is organic chardonnay wine from Languedoc and the Le Rosé is a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir wines from Languedoc. The wine is then dealcoholized through a manual process known as ‘cold vacuum distillation’ to 0.0% alcohol. The profile is rebuilt with any aromas lost with organic extracts (including lemon) and organic certified grape juice. Result of two years of R&D. The recipe is finely gasified and then high-quality pasteurization before Jardins de l’Orbrie in Vendée (bottling).”
So, what did mom-to-be Virginia think? She consulted with my sister, June, who likes sparkling beverages but is not a wine drinker. Their verdict: “It’s very pretty. It’s very tasty, light, and bubbly. It feels like you’re drinking Champagne.”
So, another success story.
Carl Kanowsky is an attorney, a fledgling baker, an enthusiastic cook and an expert wine drinker.