Bricks Wine Company opened their tasting room doors to a sold out event on March 8, appropriately named “The Future (of wine) is Female” featuring three fabulous female wine educators, seven wines from reputable female winemakers and 13 thirsty women eager to learn and taste. The line up was outstanding and our hosts were knowledgable and engaging.
Bricks Wine Company: Who They Are and Where They’re Located
Bricks Wine Company sits on the edge of the Inglewood community near the downtown core in Calgary, Alberta. Often described as quirky, Inglewood is a trendy neighbourhood situated along the Bow River with a friendly, small town feel. Historically, this was Calgary’s Main Street, and is now where Calgarians go for artisan edibles, hand crafted accessories, antique household items, independent restaurants, live music, art and fine wine.
Bricks is the product of an unfortunate — and unfortunately common — incident of very disappointing customer service. The story goes, a local wine novice walked into a liquor store, thirsty for knowledge and a helpful suggestion from someone – anyone – to make the difficult choice of what to buy. Without a friendly face in sight, this potential customer left disappointed, and empty-handed. After this story was a shared, Bricks Wine Company was born. Here the customer is always top of mind and it’s evident in their warm, friendly service and fun, informative events.
Here are amazing wines from talented female winemakers who have made their mark in the global wine industry:
1. Frédérique Poret, the great granddaughter of the founder of Champagne house Champagne Duménil.
Upon arrival at Bricks Wine Co., each guest was greeted with a warm smile and a cold glass of Champagne because… well, it’s Champagne! This is my favourite style and region for sparkling wine, but the Cuvée Jany Poret from Champagne Duménil really has a certain special something to it that puts it well above the others. Very unusual for the region, Pinot Meunier dominates the blend at about 60% with smaller amounts of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay added to the blend. The wine has a round texture, lots of ripe stone fruit like Ranier cherries, peaches and nectarines along with baked apples and noticeable mineral notes that carry through to the finish. It’s bright and refreshing with soft, persistent bubbles and hint of sweet spice. It was easy to fall in love with this Champagne. What a fantastic way to start the evening – because you should always start with Bubbles!
2. Sybille Kuntz, Grape grower legacy turned Winemaker, Owner of Sybille Kuntz Weingut.
What German winemakers do better than anyone, is that difficult balance of sugar content and acidity. This wine’s namesake, Sybille Kuntz, knows exactly how to do just that. There’s a little bit of residual sugar retained during fermentation, but you’d never know there was any sugar there at all in this dry, crisp, 100% Riesling, with focused flavours and a boatload of mouthwatering acidity. The Sybille Kuntz Mosel-Riesling is a kick-back and enjoy some sunshine kind of wine. Certified Organic and Vegan winery with Biodynamic farming and grapes coming from vines that are around 40 years old. The winery is on its way to achieving all natural wine growing and natural wine product!
3. Senka Tennant, Winemaker and co-owner of Terravista Vineyard
Terravista Vineyard makes a blend of Albariño and Verdejo called Fandango, that’s fresh, fun and different. Do you want to get away from drinking Pinot Grigio as your default white? Then this should be your go-to from now on. Winemaker Senka Tennant has been making wine for 22 years. She and her husband used to own Black Hills Estate Winery and, after selling it in 2007, found a perfect little spot on the Naramata Bench with the idea in mind to focus on white grape varieties. The two grapes that make up Fandango have been used for making wine in Portugal and Spain for nearly 1000 years. They also plant Rhone Valley varieties for another white blend, Figaro. The wines sell out at their winery tasting room every year so I recommend visiting them early in the season on your next trip to the Okanagan Valley. You’ll want to stock up on this refreshing white wine to keep you going all summer long.
3. Maddalena Pasqua Di Bisceglie, biodynamic winemaker and daughter at Musella Estate Winery
If you’ve never heard of the grape Garganega, you’re not alone, but perhaps you’ve heard of Soave. If so, then you do know Garganega because that’s the dominant grape variety. Traditionally, in Italian wine culture, daughters do not become winemakers, nor do they grow grapes; they sell wine. So when Maddalena’s father bought the beautiful Musella estate in the 1990s, she insisted, “I’ll make the wine.” To say that Maddalena Pasqua Di Bisceglie is a proud supporter of biodynamic practices would be a understatement. For every aspect of winemaking, from grape to glass, her philosophy is, “ I am only here to guide and not to intervene.” The Drago Bianco has a beautiful melon aroma with peach on the palate. It has a full, round texture with plenty of acidity for backbone. I imagine having this wine a fresh baked flat bread with white sauce topped with brie and fresh arugula.
4. Anne Gros, Burgundy legacy and Minervois winemaker
Anne Gros grew up in Burgundy. Her father was a winemaker. He got very sick when she was only 12 years old so so she compelled him to teach her what he knew about making wine. This was highly unusual for daughters at that time. It was the sons of winemakers that followed in their fathers’ footsteps while the daughters worked in hospitality or sales. Anne’s father agreed and broke tradition. Then when she was 18, he passed away and she took over the winery. La CinsO is a play on the grape Cinsault (pronounced sihn-SŌ) and although made in Minervois, Anne had Burgundy on her mind during the winemaking process. What you get in the glass is real fresh, black cherries with earthy notes and liquorice, all made in a delicate style.
6. Marinella Camerani, self-taught biodynamic grape farmer
Marinella Camerani is self-taught. She purchased 12 acres of land and ripped everything up by hand. “Men would watch me work, ” she said. The did not offer to help, they just stared. “I’m kind of a celebrity,” she laughs. She’s about the most hippy-trippy (thanks, Bonni) woman you’ll ever meet and believes strongly in farming biodaynamically as her “way of paying back a debt owed to this land.” The Ca’Fiui is a KAPOW of spice and herbs on the nose with a bunch of pepper and basil. But then it shows something very different on the palate — it’s oh so elegant and shows a great deal of restraint. An absolute delight and far more complex than any Valpolicella I’ve ever had.
7. Elisabetta Foradori, holistic winemaker and the Granddaughter of Vittorio Foradori
Arguably one of the most influential winemakers in the world, Elisabetta Foradori put the indigenous grapes of Trentino on the global map. The Foradori IGT is made from a rare, indigenous grape called Teroldego. It has soft, supple tannins, shows a lot of restraint and elegance on the palate yet complex with dark fruit, flint, violets, blue whales (the candy!) and fresh acid. The wine has structure and ageability and was decanted for nearly 5 hours before we sampled it. It’s the epitome of feminine wine; complex, firm, elegant. Inspired by nature, Elisabetta calls her winemaking holistic and you can taste it in her wine.
No Buyer’s Remorse after this Powerful Women in Wine Tasting Event!
It was a lovely evening of learning with a great group of women and a lot of very positive energy in the room. Our three amazing hosts guided us through the tasting in a way that engaged every woman, regardless of how much or how little we knew about wine. It’s rare for me to go to a tasting and truly enjoy the entire flight. Every wine was solid – an exceptional tasting. Not only that, but after the event was over, Erin Loader, Bonni F and Dani Larose (follow them on Instagram!) were all genuine, patient and professional while handling the demands of thirteen women all wanting to ask questions and search out their favourite wines. In fact, I ended up with a bunch of extra wines that weren’t even in the flight, and I didn’t have the slightest bit of buyer’s remorse.