When four women in wine come together to collaborate from around the world, you know they represent a dynamic group making their mark on the wine industry. All women come from families that have been in the wine business for years and years. These women represent the next generation, leading the wine industry in a new direction, whether it be a winemaker, owner of the winery, or a winery manager.
The Women In Wine
The four women are Laura Catena, Bodegas Catena in Mendoza Argentina, Laure Colombo, Jean-Luc Columbo in Rhone Valley, France, Anne Trimbach, Trimbach in Alsace, France and Alessia Collauto, Travaglini in Gattinara, Italy.
Because of Zoom, our new norm, and virtual tastings, we can now bring the world to us for an hour, and with these women in wine, we got different perspectives on what their goals are as they expand their family’s business for the next generation.
Having met Laura on several occasions, the first celebrating her family’s winery Bodegas Catena, with a one-act play that tells the story of Malbec through the eyes of four women, who played a role in the Malbec grape. Laura is not the first woman in her family to have a significant role in the family winery. Her grandmother, Anna Catena. The winery dates back to 1902 and is one of the oldest and most known wineries in Mendoza, Argentina.
The next meeting was at World of Pinot Noir, where Laura showcased her Domaine Nico, a winery named after Laura’s daughter Nico at a seminar called “What’s Altitude got to do with it? Laura was instrumental in bringing this winery to the forefront.
The virtual tasting with Laura showcased a third wine venture the family has, Bodegas Caro, a wine partnership between two families, Domaines Barons de Rothschild, and the Catena family. The name Caro is the Catena family name with the Rothchild’s.
Laura wears many hats and is outgoing and the perfect ambassador for Malbec, Argentine wine, and her family’s various wine endeavors. She also is an emergency room doctor and author. She is dynamic and energetic and is a role model for women in wine, with her enthusiasm permeates all those around her. Finally, Laura represents the 4th generation in the Catena dynasty.
The Trimbach family is producing wine in Alsace since 1626. Anne represents the 13th generation. Anne is a winemaker, but her role as an export manager takes her to the United States and Scandinavia to promote the family’s wines and the Alsace region. She is also active in building the winery’s social media presence. Anne has a degree in both winemaking and economics.
Of the women and wineries represented, Jean-Luc Columbo is a younger winery. Established in 1984. Laure is the second generation. Her dream was to travel, and that she did before coming back to the family estate in the Rhone Valley. Through travel, Laure learned about her roots.
After she obtained a degree in commerce, she spent time working in the United States honing her skills. A stint in India followed her experiences in the USA. She returned to France to become an intern at Château Haut-Brion and earn her Bachelor’s degree in Viticulture and Oenology in Bordeaux. Later she obtained her masters in Oenology from the University of Montpellier. It was in 2010 that Laure official came home to join her family’s winery. In addition, she and her husband have their own label, Domain de Lorient.
The Columbo family has taken a very active role in protecting bees. A portion of their Côte de Rhône wines goes to the UC Davis Department of Entomology for research.
Alessia is the youngest of this group of women in wine. Although the youngest, she is representing the 4th generation of her family’s Travaglini winery. The family is known for their Nebbiolo in the Gattinara region in Piedmont. Alessia is a certified Sommelier, but her degree is in economics and business management. Alessia has a gift for communication and loves sharing stories that dwell behind each bottle of wine.
One unique story behind the Travaglini estate is the bottle shape used for their wine. In 1958 Giancarlo Travaglini designed a unique bottle shape, reminiscent of modern art and a feminine physique sculpture. This bottle acts as branding for the Travaglini wines. Like a sculptured work of art, the bottle’s shape is designed to capture the sediment while pouring the wine. This design allows for the wine to be served directly from the bottle without decanting. The bottle is created with dark glass to prevent light from coming through, thus reducing the possibility of light tainting the quality. The shape reminds one of a modern art sculpture of a woman. There is a seductive quality that reflects in the wine.
Women In Wine
Each of these women shows us a different perspective and due to the region, climate, terroir, varietal, and style of wine they take a different approach to achieving their goals. Perhaps each has the aspiration to bring a new vitality utilizing both modern and old-world techniques and thus carry on the family traditions for more generations to come.
Trimbach “Réserve” Riesling 2017: Probably one of the best Rieslings I have experienced. The wine affords high acidity with nice minerality. I found a crisp, light, yet bright well-balanced dry wine with subtle nuances.
Jean-Luc Colombo Saint-Peray “La Belle De Mai” 2018: The combination of Roussanne and Marsanne from old vines gives way to a viscous wine with fruity flavors including citrus. The Roussanne brings bitterness, which helps the balance and softens the wine. There is a buttery rich quality to the wine. The wine is a full-bodied white that ages 10 – 12 months in 10% new and 90% one to five-year-old oak barrels. The wine is named after Laure’s grandmother’s restaurant.
Travaglini Gattinara 2016: The wine exhibited a fresh Nebbiolo with the perfect amount of minerality. Although the wine has a light quality, it displays distinct complexity. The wine reveals aromas of dark fruit, leather, and licorice. Red fruits of cherry exude wonderful flavors accented with spice. The wine ages three years with two of those years in Slavonian oak casts followed by three months in the bottle.
Bodegas Caro Caro 2017: With Bodegas Catena being the experts of Malbec and the Rothchild’s pros in Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine blends a lifetime of history of the two wineries. Coming from the Alta Mira vineyard, the wine blends Malbec with Cabernet Sauvignon. I found a smooth, rich well-integrated wine with tobacco, mocha, and baking spices on the nose. The palate delivered plum, blueberry, and blackberry flavors—the wine ages in special barrels from France for 18 months in 80% new oak.
Note: Common to the wine industry, this writer received hosted wine samples. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure.