Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Shannon checks in with a bit on California Sparkling...

Cashmere and Roses and Lace, Oh My! by Shannon D.

I recently had the pleasure of trying Domaine Carneros Brut Rose. This California sparkler was so lovely, I was at a loss for words on how to describe the perfect and delicate embrace on my tongue. The color is a light pink, almost orange. It fizzes romantically in the glass, and has a dry and energetic finish. It left me thinking of roses, or more specifically, what an Alice-in-Wonderland-like nap in a bed of roses might feel like.

This wine may seem overly feminine to some, but to me it showcases the delirious and thrilling power that feminitiy can wield. Eileen Crane, president and winemaker of Domaine Carneros, wields that power in the wine world, and literally in her wine.

I enjoy her description of her winemaking style: “It's like Audrey Hepburn in the perfect little black dress. It's not just a black dress—it's a perfectly lined black dress, with the perfect strand of pearls, the wrap, the whole thing. It's not fancy, it's not overdone. In winemaking, I do that. I don't make blousy wines. I don't make wines that are heavily out front. I make wines that you need to pay attention to. As you sit there and sip the wine, its layers come to you piece after piece. You say, "Ah yes, it's got a really nice nose, but the body is there too."

I like that Eileen isn’t afraid to use such feminine descriptors for her winemaking style. It’s like a breath of fresh air in an industry too often inundated with the phrase, “This wine is big and bulky, pairs excellently with rare meat and hearty potatoes.”

Although women in the wine world are hardly new, they are somewhat of an outlier. I’m pleased whenever I hear examples of women winemakers, sommeliers and collectors. These women are a little like Domaine Carneros’s Brut Rose. They remind me that it’s possible to still be delicate, pretty and feminine, while competing with the big boys and getting your hands dirty.

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