| Between the Lines |
March 2021
It's between the 30th and 50th parallels that we find the ideal climates for producing fine wine.




Women Leading Wineries

Get to know the Women Leading our Wineries
by Emily Maclean & Eric Gennaro

Francesca "Cesca" Vicent

Cesca is a 5th generation winemaker who owns and operates her unique vineyard in Gratallops, in the heart of Priorat, Spain. In the 1980’s, Cesca inherited her vineyard, where her family has been farming grapes since the 15th century; making this one of the oldest vineyards in all of Priorat. 

Cesca began extensive research on her vineyard’s soil composition and, in doing so, she discovered that her vineyard not only contained the famous Priorat Licorella soil, but also an additional 10 different soil types.  

Cesca strives to produce wine as naturally as possible with a dedicated focus to producing a range of wines that showcase the diversity of her land.  It remains important to her that she passes on the family winemaking tradition to her daughters, Carmen and Ester.  She has also been employing organic practices in the vineyard since her first vintage in 1999 and obtained Organic Certification in 2011.  

Today, the winery is predominantly female-led. Cesca and Esther were joined by enologist Roser Amorós who is now the lead winemaker of the estate.

​​​​​​​Cesca Vicent Red 2017

Cesca Red is Grenache dominant with Merlot, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The wine has all the liquored red fruit quality we love from Grenache: cherry kirsch, red liquorice, strawberry compote. There is a distinct herbaceous note of dried sage and thyme with dried earth and a crushed rock minerality. There is an underlying note of nutmeg and clove, likely due to the use of oak in the vinification. The wine is densely flavoured and full bodied, with finely integrated tannins and finishes with a refreshing acidity that we’ve come to hope for from the wines of Priorat.

Gabriella Burlotto

Castello di Verduno has been in ownership of the Burlotto family since 1909.  The estate was inherited by the daughters of Commendatore Giovanni Battista Burlotto; Gabriella and Elisa. 

Gabriella’s career in wine took off in the 1960’s; when she was one of four female sommeliers in all of Italy.  At the time, job positions held by women in wine were commonly vineyard work, or in administration but very seldom in forward facing roles. In fact, it was in 1967 that Castello di Verduno produced the first wine in the area named after a female: Burlotto Elisa e Sorelle.
A pivotal moment in Gabriella’s career came in the early 1970’s, when many producers in Verduno were pulling up their plantings of the indigenous grape variety Pelaverga Piccolo to replant to Nebbiolo. Castello di Verduno did the exact opposite and, in 1972, planted their Basadone Vineyard to Pelaverga. Gabriella made history and is now credited with saving Pelaverga from extinction. 

A highly anticipated and important change to the male dominated wine world came in the late 1980’s when Le Donne del Vino was launched in Italy.  It is now the largest association of “Women in Wine” throughout  the world with over 900 members; which include restauranteurs, producers, journalists, winemakers and sommeliers. With this support Gabriella found her voice as a leader in the wine industry.

Gabriella and her sister Elisa,  have dedicated their lives to their family's estae. Now their daughters are involved with managing both the luxurious Castello di Verduno and their Agriturismo, Ca’del Rei.  These women, Giovanna and Marcella Bianco and Alessandra and Elisabetta Buglioni Monale, are taking the lead their mothers began. 

Barolo 2016

A beautiful expression of Nebbiolo from Verduno. The wine is bone-dry, full bodied with tannins that are ripe, persistent and balanced. The fruit is tart and ripe showing red fruit such as red cherries, red currants and raspberries with an underlying essence of orange oil. There are beautiful red rose floral notes and also lots of fresh leather, dried leaves, and tobacco smoke.

Maddalena Pasqua Di Bisceglie

The 16th century estate of Musella is but a stone’s throw from Verona nestled among a hamlet of forests and rivers.  At the helm of the winery is Maddelena Pasqua Di Bisceglie.  She was studying contemporary history when her father took possession of the Musella property and asked her to be a part of the wine making project.  Maddelena was reluctant to take on this challenge until she set foot on the grounds and was immediately overtaken by the beauty of the land and felt a calling to find her purpose here.  This connection with the land led her to study biodynamic farming and has shaped the Musella experience.  Maddalena says she does not have vineyards but gardens.  Wild flowers of all colours grow among the vines, insects trek through the soil and wild birds find refuge in cherry trees.  The winemaking focuses on the traditional expressions of the region: Valpolicella, Ripasso and Amarone.  The wines all reflect a sense of harmony and purity.

Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2016

Made with mainly Corvina and Corvinone with a small percent of Rondinella and Barbera.  The wine is passed through Amarone skins which are not fully pressed before it spends 12 months in different size barrels. The result is a wine with added richness and texture while still keeping its wild floral and spicy notes.

Marina and Cecilia Piacitelli

There is something to be said about people who do one thing really well.  The women at Morgassi Superiore do just that.  They focus on top flight Cortese from 19 hectares in the steep hills of Gavi in Italy’s north west.  They began working with their father at the estate at a time when Gavi was an often overlooked wine region that although lies geographically in Piemonte it has much more of a coastal feel.
With commitment to tradition and quality, Marina and Cecilia have worked alongside of their father, Marino Piacitelli, to create the highest of standards for the wines from Morgassi Superiore.  They produce white wine from native varietals, including white Cortese and Timorasso, and their Gavi di Gavi leads the way for all Gavi’s.  Their Cortese grows on marl and chalky soils, rich in fossils and minerals and can age for up to 20 years.  They bottle three separate Gavi cuvées, Passo, Tuffo and Volo, from vines about 300m above sea level.   There is also a bianco made from the rare authochthonous grape, Timorasso.   

Gavi di Gavi 'Tuffo' 2018

The nose is dominated by white flowers and crushed stones.  A lovely citrus quality gives way to a slight almond finish.  With medium weight and great balance there is a real sense of energy running through this wine.  ​​​​​​​

Elodie and Aurore Chapuy

The Chapuy family has been farming in Champagne's famous town of Oger since the French Revolution.  Today Chapuy sisters, Elodie and Aurore, share the responsibilities of operating the family winery and estate.  In 2003, Elodie took over the commercial side of the family business overseeing development of the brand and foreign markets.  In 2008, Elodie's younger sister, Aurore, became responsible for farming, vineyard management and winemaking. Together their top priority is concentrating on sustainable viticulture that results in wines that exude lightness, elegance, finesse and the purest expression of their vineyards.  Humans and horses tend their precious land.

Brut Reserve Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 

Grower Champagne. This is a delicate blend of the best white wines the "Côte des Blancs" offers. Intense and focused flavours of green apple, white flowers and biscuit. Elegant round profile on the palate with bright green apple, creamy textured mousse and a long finish as baked bread lingers.
100% Chardonnay Grand Cru

Milena Pepe

The eldest daughter of Angelo Pepe, Milena, manages the Tenuta Cavalier Pepe estate.  A graduate of viticulture and oenology from France, and marketing from Belgium, she oversees the winery and tourism with charisma and expertise. Her daring approach ensures that these Irpinia wines meet the highest standards while cultivating the vineyards with respect to the natural balance of the territory. She respects tradition while being modern in her way of thinking.  In her own words, “Behind every successful business, there is someone who has made a bold decision.” 

​​​​​​​Coda di Volpe 2018 'Bianco di Bellona'

Aromas of orchard fruit and stoney minerality open up in the glass like a breeze from off the Amalfi Coast. Viscous and zesty on the palate, this is the ideal bufala mozzarella pairing!  The salty finish to this wine perfectly accents the delicate flavour and creaminess of its native food companions.




Winter Report: Southern Portugal

João Barbosa & Filos, Tejo
by Nelson Abreu

While we were experiencing the cold winter bite in late February, mild temperatures and frequent rain washed and nourished vineyards in southern Portugal.  So much so that plant and vine tips began showing their “bulging eyes”, as the locals say, as if being disturbed from a deep sleep.  While generous winter rain equips vineyards for expected periods of mid-summer drought, raising hopes for bumper crops, early vine development cautions against potentially damaging spring frosts.  It’s merely March 1st and the balance of the harvest is already in Her hands!
At Vale de Junco Winery in Alentejo, João and his team view the weather conditions as an opportunity to plant new vineyard blocks.  João’s commitment to reviving rare varieties sees young rootstocks grafted with indigenous red varieties such as Grand Noir, Tinto Cao, Castelão, and whites Siria, Galego Dourado and Arinto.   
In the cellar at Porta da Teira Winery, in Tejo, the young tank wines are being analyzed and assessed.  This is calm, patient work compared to the difficult and critical decisions that were negotiated in the vineyards.  Do they rest or are they eased along their journey?  A gem has emerged from the young 2020’s, a magnificent batch of Alfrocheiro has been marked, to be bottled as the winery’s very first single varietal Ninfa Alfrocheiro!  We’ll keep an eye out for this one!

In the meantime, other Ninfa's to enjoy...

2015 'Ninfa' Tinto

Intense dark fruit and herbaceous aromas typical of these native varieties and vineyards. Medium bodied with fresh acidity, elegant structure, and savoury fruit that carries through to a bright, persistent, salty finish.  

$24.55/bottle (12 per case)

2019 'Ninfa' Maria Gomes

Maria Gomes is the name of the grape variety. It shows us aromas of nectarine and yellow plum with lavender notes.  A citrusy entry opens up with intense volume and acidity that's grounded by an oily texture that shows saline minerality on the finish. Thirst quenching!

$24.55/bottle (12 per case) 




All-time #1 Easter Wine

2020 Moscato d'Asti, 499 Vino

Moscato d’Asti is a beloved wine by Sommeliers for good reason: its versatility. Its low ABV content, residual sugar and elevated acidity makes this wine a dream to pair with food. All while being equally as delicious to enjoy on its own. The fruit is tart and ripe lemon-lime, there’s an underlying herbaceous note of fresh mint and sage with and a soft acacia flower florality.  
The traditional Italian pairing to Easter breads and pasteries!

$22.96/bottle (12 per case)




Vintages: Wines of Greece

Mylonas Winery. Attica, Greece
$25.51/btl (12 per case)
2020 Malagousia
Mylonas Winery. Attica, Greece
$25.51/btl (12 per case)
2020 Assyrtiko
Mylonas Winery. Attica, Greece
$25.51/btl (12 per case)




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