I must admit that I am, stealing someone else's words, a progressive feminist. That means that there's a part of me that's well aware that the female members of our species could, if they only wanted and could be bothered, kick our male asses in most aspects of life. At the same time I'm not going to scream that out loud, I'd like to keep some gender self-esteem :-). Still I think that in many aspects of our society there are too little women in key positions. I'm not talking only about politicians, doctors, managers, etc. I'm also referring to the "gastronomy" world. How many female top chefs do you know of? How many female wine makers? And now: how many male ones? OK, in my ideal world I wouldn't even have to talk about this, it would be obsolete, but since that's not the case... Therefore I'm happy when I get the chance to taste some food prepared by a top woman chef or, as it happened last week, drink some good wines made under the supervision of a woman owner.
Both wines come from Tuscany, are red and could be called second-range wines. That's far from saying they're not well done. Actually these two fell in my favourite wine category: "minor" wines, made with care, pleasant to drink and price-worth. I appreciate when a big, famous producer cares for all his/her wine range, from the top wine-collectors gem to the small vino da tavola or vin de pays.
The first wine I tasted was Elisabetta Geppetti's Le Pupille 2001 Morellino di Scansano, an absolute bargain wine at 8 Euro. This winery is one of those responsible for making the wines of Maremma (this part of Tuscany) as famous as they are now. They produce two Maremma "bigs": Saffredi (mainly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot) and Poggio Valente (Sangiovese). Since I can't really afford them :-) I'm more than happy with the Morellino, a good example of Sangiovese wine. The wine has a nice structure, without losing the typical fruity freshness of the grape, is well balanced and has a very long finish. The only minus point is that at the moment its bouquet is evolving from the fresh "primary" notes and is a bit closed. Leaving the wine in the glass for some time brings some improvement, so I have good hopes for the last bottle remaining in my cellar.
The second wine was Agostina Pieri's 2000 Rosso di Montalcino, Brunello's little brother. This wine is famous as, in its first vintage, 1985 if I'm right, it managed to win the prestigious Gambero Rosso and Slow food's Italian wine guide tre bicchieri award, the only Rosso di Montalcino ever to achieve such a goal. For the same reason the wine is also not that cheap, although since I got the bottle as a present I can't exactly say how much. Still much cheaper than any Brunello I guess. The 2000 vintage actually got a good thrashing from Gambero Rosso & co., getting accused of having too little acid, too much wood, etc. In less words a disappointment. Having never tried the previous vintages I can't compare but if this is a disappointing wine, well, bring me a lorry-full (truck for you in the other continent ;-)). The wine does indeed miss a bit of the typical Sangiovese freshness but I didn't find it flat, rather rounded, with a nice mouth feel and long finish. The bouquet was maybe a bit evolved but pleasant, ripe berries, spices a hint of coffee. I guess those excessive woody notes from the barriques that the guide mentioned have evolved in more pleasant ones. I really enjoyed drinking this wine. Maybe the difference here is that I tasted the wine to see if I liked it while the guide tasters were also considering how "typical" it was for a Rosso di Montalcino.
One thing you might ask: could one recognise a female touch in these wines? I'm not sure, but that was only partially the point. They both have a strong "personality", and I guess they would stand out in a wine tasting with other wines from the same Denominations. A good thing in a world were most wines, even good ones, taste quite similar.