As I traveled the world for my television show, “Culinary Travels with Dave Eckert,” I’ve met many fantastic females in the wine industry.
So when I heard Lidia’s Kansas City was celebrating women in wine in August with a tasting featuring five wines produced by four female Italian winemakers, each paired with Lidia’s cuisine, well, this I had to see and taste!
“There’s an increasing interest among both wine educators and wine buyers on finding wineries and other wine-related businesses that have the female angle. And I’d call it a movement, not just a trend,” Maria Megna, regional manager for The Winebow Group told me.
Winebow imports the wines featured at the tasting, along with many other terrific bottlings. The company’s Italian portfolio, Leonardo LoCascio Selections, is among the finest collections of Italian wines in the country.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Megna shared. “People just really want to see what’s happening in the wine and spirits world, a world that was historically dominated by men. And that’s even more common in the Old World. But things are changing and changing quickly.”
Megna brought a terrific lineup of impressive wines made by equally impressive women. From the Veneto came Suavia Soave produced by three sisters: Allesandra, Meri, and Valentina.
“One daughter is the agronomist, one daughter is the winemaker, and one daughter sells the wine,” Megna said. ”It is a completely female-dominated winery in one of the oldest, male-dominated appellations of Italy.”
From Rita Tua of the Tua Rita winery in Suvereto, Tuscany, there was Rosso Dei Notri.
Not as resplendent as Tua’s Redigaffi, a 100 percent merlot that was the first Italian wine to be awarded 100 points by world famous wine critic Robert Parker, the Rosso was still quite good and Tua’s story quite interesting.
“This was a small winery that was selling most of its grapes, often to very famous wineries like Sassicaia. Leonardo LoCascio really had to court Tua to convince her to let him sell her wines in the United States. That changed when the Redigaffi got that perfect score,” Megna shared.
Villa Remotti, a Piemonte gem, supplied its Barbera d’Asti, made by husband and wife team Raffaella Rossi and Riccardo Garosci.
”They made their money in another industry then bought the winery and a very small vineyard. They only make the one wine, and it is a very particular Barbera d’Asti,” Megna stated.
Finally, there were two wines from the Zenato winery, including a fantastic Valpolicella Ripasso, under the direction of Nadia Zenato-Lugiana.
Learning about the wines and their female winemakers was terrific, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t add that the food and wine pairings were outstanding.
From the frito misto paired with the Suavia sisters Soave, to the ricotta puff pastry stuffed with Montasio cheese and fresh summer vegetables matched to Rita Tua’s Rosso, the pairings were spot on.
It was just about perfect, including the location — a restaurant that’s part of the empire of another female groundbreaker, Lidia Bastianich. Lidia’s Wine Wednesdays features a different theme on the third Wednesday of the month. Check its website at lidias-kc.com for the next session.