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STRAIGHT OFF THE VINE.

Byline: Neil Cammies

IT WAS International Women's Day on Thursday and in solidarity with my sisters, I have thrown myself at the feet of some amazing female wine-makers - of whom there are many.

It comes as no surprise in an industry that needs to react to a constantly changing market, that the female olfactory system is put to good use.

Using the sense of smell is hugely important in wine-making - try tasting a wine while holding your nose and you'll know why - and the female of the species has about 50% more olfactory cells. So it really is a case of natural selection.

We asked a couple of questions to the three winemakers featured.

First up was Laure Colombo, wine-maker at Colombo et Fille.

Q: What has been a key/ memorable moment in your career so far? A: The first time someone said "Jean-Luc Colombo is the father of Laure Colombo" and not being recognized as the "daughter of" but for myself! Q: Who has inspired you in your career? A: Jean-Michel Comme from Pontet-Canet! He taught me the fact that the vines are living beings. It needs to breathe, to feed from the earth, in order to open up.

I tasted the JEAN.LUC COLOMBO SAINT PERAY BELLE DE MAI 2016 (RRP PS23.25, Pennistone Court Wine Cellars, Hedonism Drinks). A luxurious announcement across the nose from the buttery note to the honeyed fruit from the roussanne and marsanne blend. On the palate the mouth-filling fruit has a defined clip of mineral tones to the rich stonefruits - mainly apricots and a little quince. The mile-long finish has a citrus zip.

Next up was Audrey Braccini, wine-maker at Domaine Ferret. Q: What has been a key/ memorable moment in your career so far? A: It was two or three years back. When I started working in Fuisse 10 years ago, the welcome from the other producers was a little bit cold and this continued for some years after. You can imagine my joy when some of them came to me and said, with kindness in their eyes, "Good job, great wines, it is a good thing you came!" Q: If you could live in another woman's shoes for a day, whose would you choose? A: Marlene Soria - a pioneering organic winemaker from Languedoc.

The DOMAINE FERRET POUILLY FUISSE 2016 (RRP PS33.40, North and South Wines, Taurus Wines, Penistone Court Wine Cellars, Luvians Bottleshop, Planet of the Grapes, Handford Wines, Eagle Wines, Partridges of Sloane St, Loki Wines) is the absolute epitome of Pouilly-Fuisse. A glorious nose of white melon and stonefruits, showing some creaminess on the bouquet. In the place from the crisp mineral bite and a smidge of lemon citrus freshness on the back of the midpalate that almost hoses down the tastebuds. Shows the chardonnay grape in the finest light and so, so moreish.

Helen Morrison, chief Marlborough wine-maker at Villa Maria.

Q: What has been a key/ memorable moment in your career so far? A: As a wine-maker, 2017 was the hardest vintage I have ever experienced, so the reward of seeing the quality of the wines we COCKTAIL HOUR...

While we all like a nice gin, it's had long enough in the spotlight (gasps from the gallery at my heresy) and the next big thing - and I mean huge - will be rum.

Get used to it. I'm not talking a cheeky rum and coke, I'm talking about the gorgeous, rich, luxurious rums that are enjoyed over ice or all on their lonesome. And to help with your education, Pennyroyal Cocktail Bar in High Street, Cardiff, has teamed up with UK Rum Festivals this year to begin monthly educational rum flights entitled "The Rum Diaries", starting last month with Plantation Rum.

They had 31 attendees for the first edition, which will be held on a Thursday every month, always hosted by a brand ambassador. | For details, contact enquiries@pennyroyalcardiff.co.uk or give them a buzz on 029 2132 1441 managed to craft from this challenging season is truly memorable.

Q: If you could live in another woman's shoes for a day, whose would you choose? A: Right now in New Zealand it would be fascinating to be Jacinda Adern for a day as our recently elected prime minister, the youngest prime minister in 150 years, unmarried and a strong supporter of women's rights, and now she has recently announced her first pregnancy. What a great series of firsts to be experiencing, but also some very interesting challenges and adversaries she must be facing (even in this modern era).

I've enjoyed a good few vintages of the Villa Maria Riesling and the latest VILLA MARIA PRIVATE BIN RIESLING 2017 (RRP PS10.95, Stockists: Majestic Wine, Wine Rack) is no exception. There has always been a happy dash of honeyed lime zest across the bouquet and palate, but this vintage has a the merest hint of an off-dry character that makes it so quaffable. This is not to the detriment of the mouthwatering efficiency of the lime fruit character or the soft, stony mineral notes that are at the heart of this cracking kiwi riesling.

@NeilCammies email: neil.cammies@walesonline.co.uk Columns online log on to walesonline.co.uk Click on the WHAT'S ON/FOOD & DRINK tab

The female of the species has about 50% more olfactory cells. So it really is a case of natural selectionWhat a great series of firsts to be experiencing, but also some very interesting challenges and adversaries she must be facing
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 10, 2018
Words:921
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