Although I cannot imagine getting into the family business, putting on uber casual clothing, and fixing cars alongside my father, there is something intriguing about a family-run business. If you think about it, until recently, most people stayed in the family business. Farmers raised kids to become farmers while merchants would bring their boys and girls to their stalls to peddle goods. Heck, even royalty had children with the intention that they would follow in their footsteps to become kings, queens, and dukes. Nowadays, families are comprised of people in all kinds of industries. My aunt works for the Department of Defense, my dad is a mechanic, my sister is studying psychology, and I am about to start law school. Gone are the days that one family all works toward one common goal.
During one recent #WineStudio, we dove deep with Breathless Sparkling Wines, where three sisters and their winemaker, Penny Gadd-Coster, dedicate themselves to make sparkling wine in the traditional method. Not only is this a women-owned winery, the label also features a woman who is meant to represent the sisters’ mother Martha. Family owned and led by women, I can’t think of a better team to represent everything that has driven 2018 forward.
The first bottle I tried from Breathless Wines was the Blanc de Noirs, made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes sourced from the North Coast and Sonoma County. This wine poured a captivating grapefruit color in the glass and was full of notes of brioche and new summer fruit, particularly citrus ones, all balanced by a nice handful of acid. I polished off this bottle while playing a game of Monopoly and munching on Brie and crackers. It was an easy drinking option that still provided some character, making it the perfect wine to pack up on a trip to the beach and enjoy in the warming weather, especially with the relatively attainable SRP of $30.
Breathless Wines’ Brut was the most unusual fresh tangerine color and it was the second and final bottle I popped. This bottle was heavier on notes of citrus where everything from grapefruits to lemons to this not-too-tart Persian kind of mild citrus that many Iranians juice in the mornings came to mind. I’m sure there’s an English word for that final kind of citrus, but I don’t know it. Just think of it as a cross between a blood orange and a pomelo that looks most like a grapefruit. But, I digress.
The bubbles were persistently light, making this a fun option to sip and enjoy just for its texture. We opened it alongside a creamy pasta dish filled with chicken, cheese, and yellow peppers among other things. The lightness of the Brut cut through the richness of the dish, making it a satisfying pairing, although probably not a perfect one. At around $79, this is more of a special occasion wine. It’s something to open among friends at the beginning of the evening, before the wine has gone to your head and they all start to taste the same.
There are a lot of reasons to admire Breathless Wines. The women behind the bottle have supported non-profits since its inception in 2011. They want the best and source select grapes from Carneros, Russian River, Dry Creek Valley, and the North Coast. We also came to know them through the Woman-Owned Wineries of Sonoma startup. Considering the fact that only about 10% of California wineries have a woman as their lead winemaker and only 4% of female winemakers also own their wineries, our session with Breathless Wines was informative, interesting, and a great way to learn about how we use our love of wine to support both women and their wineries. What’s your favorite woman-owned winery? Have you tried Breathless? Let me know your thoughts below!
These wines were kindly provided to me by the wineries/importers listed above, but all opinions are my own.