Interviews

Marica Thrives in Man's World

Marica Bonomo wanted to be a lawyer, but I am not certain that she would have succeeded. For one thing she answers questions briefly, honestly and directly when we meet for coffee in Dublin’s Westbury Hotel.

 ‘Yes- I work in a man’s wine world’, she admits. ‘But it is a world that is changing. The older generation is passing on and a new generation of wine professionals is taking over- even in Italy. To us it is not a matter of gentleman or lady. It is a matter of professionalism.’

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Making 'The King of Wines'

 Even the most republican Italians refer to Barolo as ‘The King of Wines’- and with good cause. This dark, rich and powerful wine, made from the Nebbiolo grape in Piedmonte, can stand its own against anything produced in the Old World or the New and commands a premium price on its home turf and in markets around the world.

The territory of Barolo is one of the most complex in the wine world. Every single hill provides a specific character to the Nebbiolo grapes and every single vintage is significantly different. Great wine has been produced here since the early 19th. century in a style that favoured long ageing in barrel and bottle. The vast majority of Barolos were blends of wines from different hills and villages. Barolo underwent something of a quiet revolution in the last three decades of the 20th. Century, with a new generation of family winemakers selecting wines from specific locations for vinification and ageing in barriques. This led to two distinct styles which still prevail and are called ‘traditionalist’ and ‘modernist.’

 

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Family Values at Dauzac

Christine Lurton is part of a wine dynasty which owns or manages a dozen chateau and more than 800 ha of prime vineyards in and around Bordeaux. He father, Andre, now aged 84, lives and works at Chateau Bonnet in Entre Deux Mers while her brothers Jacques and Francois work around the world as ‘flying winemakers. Many of her cousins are also deeply involved in wine making. Mareie-Leure is an oenologist and manages properties in Haut Medoc, Gonzague inherited a second growth  Margaux estate, Berenice produces renowned wines at Climens, Edwige is co-owner of Brane-Cantenac, which she runs with her brother Henri while Louis produces organic wines in Barsac.

Little wonder then that Christine grew up among vines and oak barrels, tasting wines with her father from a young age and participating in the critical blending process. ‘I learned a lot from my father’, she says when we meet in Dun Laoghaire during her visit to distributors  Febvre and Company.

 

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