New York, February 9, 2016: Chablis, the iconic region in Bourgogne, France known for its elegant cool-climate Chardonnay wines, presents convivial and refreshing wines to raise a toast to women’s growing influence in the wine industry on this International Women’s Day, March 8th, 2016.
In a world long dominated by men, women in Chablis are increasingly taking the lead at every step of the wine-making stage, pulled into this path by their love of Chablis’ terroir. Producers such as Lyne Marchive from Domaine des Malandes, Clotilde Davenne, Isabelle and Nathalie Oudin from Domaine Oudin are now ambassadors of the region in the United States, as they are injecting a new flow of passion into the art of making Chablis wines, while always honoring the traditions and the soil conferred to them by previous generations of Chablis producers.
“This kind of work was dominated by men and I wanted to prove that I could do it as well,” said Clotilde Davenne, vineyard owner who decided to studied oenology at age 18. “Back then it was not very common for women to be oenologists,” she added.
“When I finished school, working in the cellar was much more complicated for a woman than today. But I was passionate about winemaking, and somewhat stubborn,” said Nathalie Fèvre, whose name is coupled with her husband’s on the label of their winesDomaine Nathalie et Gilles Fèvre.
This growing presence of women in Chablis’ winemaking world is also reflected by their increasing presence on wine labels. For example, while “& fils” (& sons) is usually found on a wine bottle, at Domaine Daniel Seguinot & Filles, it is now “& filles” (& daughters). Despite the majority of men’s names listed on bottles, more and more women are also finding their place on wine labels as well, such as Isabelle and Nathalie Oudin or even L&C Poitout, with the C standing for Catherine. These women’s stories follow the successes of many other women in Chablis, including Athénais de Béru from Chateau de Béru, Claire and Marine Race fromDomaine Denis Race and Marie-José Fourrey from from Domaine Fourrey…
In recent years, the classic sommelier archetype has also come to be shaken by a new generation of young sommeliers, many of which are now women. At the lead of some of the U.S.’s most respected beverage programs, these women without fail include Chablis wines on their lists, which they claim are a woman’s favorite as it is low in alcohol, bright, and exalts delicate flavors that women love, such as classic seafood dishes or more exotic cuisines. Indeed, with its mineral and appetizing qualities, Chablis is the key to a world of extraordinary pairing opportunities.
“Chablis’ minerality and high acid make it the ideal partner to sublime otherwise ordinary ingredients. For example, I love pairing our Monkfish and Fennel with Chablis because it complements the dish, working with the flavors without overshadowing. Chablis is not showy and that is the beauty of it,” says Sarah Blau, Sommelier at two-Michelin-star restaurant Aquavit, in New York.
“While in Chablis, I had one of the most incredible pairings ever with Chablis. It was this beautiful poached sea bass on top of a shallow pour of dashi. The saline, smoky, and intense broth made the lemon curd and quartz qualities of the Chablis pop. It was a revelation,” states Marie-Louise Friedland, Sommelier at State Bird Provisions, San Francisco.