By Alison Bailin Batz
In 1804, Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin became a widow, or “veuve” in French, finding herself in control of a company with vineyard holdings. Rather than sell the vineyard, Madame Clicquot secured funding and invested in the research and development of Champagne. The result: Veuve Clicquot. Two hundred years later, it is still among the most popular Champagne houses.
Today, women continue to take the winemaking industry by storm with award-winning options – here are some standouts.
Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Napa winemaker Tina Mitchell developed this cabernet with the summer season in mind. With the aroma of summer rain on beached sandalwood, the first sip refreshes the palate before erupting with the distinct flavors of mulberry and blackberry. $165. www.palmazvineyards.com.
Damsel Cellars Chardonnay 2017
Columbia Valley winemaker Mari Womack makes this unoaked chardonnay shine with clean, zesty notes of lemon and melon. The bright acidity is a welcome surprise, as are its aromatic hints of cardamom and pear. $18. www.damselcellars.com.
Decroux Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir
This Santa Ynez Valley winner from Jennifer Hoage starts with flavors of black cherries, raspberries, spice and a hint of salt before giving way to a balanced finish with notes of strawberry and touch of vanilla. $75. www.thestatewines.com.
TH Vineyards The Hedge Syrah
Another entry from Jennifer Hoage, this flagship syrah is from her Paso Robles vineyard and winery. In this bold, layered wine, there are concentrated black and blue fruits as well as spice, pepper, bacon fat, and heavy oak left on the nose and tongue. $66. www.thestatewines.com.
A. Rafanelli Cabernet Sauvignon 2015
Healdsburg winemaker Shelly Rafanelli’s work shines with this beauty, which is aged for 22 months in French oak, giving it some of the rich elements of dark chocolate, dry red cherry and cassis. $58. www.arafanelliwinery.com.
AniChe Cellars Moth Love 2015
A red blend from Washington winemaker Rachael Horn, expect raspberries, chocolate, peppered bacon, and hints of tobacco in every sip. The medium body and gentle hint of oak result in a deliciously luscious finish. $47.50. www.anichecellars.com.
Alta Colina Sun Worshipper 2016
Maggie Tillman’s Paso Robles vineyard, which she runs with her father, is solely focused on Rhone-style wines. This mourvedre-driven blend succeeds on all levels with chewy tanins, boldness and balance. $58. www.altacolina.com.
Soho Stella Sauvignon Blanc 2018
Rachael Carter, owner of Soho Wines in New Zealand, found her inspiration for Stella from women with classic confidence. The crisp wine boasts the flavors of white stone fruits, lime and the tropics in every sip. It has a juicy acidity and lasting textural finish. $19.99. www.sohowineco.com.
Deux Amis Zouzounis Zinfandel 2014
Veteran Sonoma winemaker Phyllis Zouzounis sources grapes from across the Dry Creek and Alexander valleys to deliver this award-winning zinfandel. Bold yet smooth, it features ripe blackberry, raspberry and plum mixed with notes of warm oak. $36. www.deuxamiswines.com.