Wonderful wine options to make mom’s day
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 08/05/2021 (468 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Sometimes the best ideas come at the worst possible time.
In thinking about wines for Mother’s Day, I had what I thought was a revelation — I’d sit down with my mom and taste a bunch of wines with her for the column, and have her provide her tasting notes along with my own. Fun idea, right?
Except for, you know, the whole COVID thing, and the no gathering and what-have-you.
Instead, for this year I figured I’d try some wines I think my mom would like, based in part on what she typically has on hand. I also asked her about her favourite styles of wines and grapes. And for fun, I threw in a couple wines that would be new to her but that I reckon she’d enjoy.
On sparkling wine, my mom said “I’m not too experienced here, but I never forgot the Dom (Perignon) I sampled once years ago.” As a former Free Press staffer, she knows Dom isn’t exactly in my typical price range. The Bottega NV Rosé Gold Spumante Brut (Lombardy, Italy — $29.99, Liquor Marts and beyond), however, is a tasty and well-priced Italian sparkling wine I imagine she’d like. Made entirely from the Pinot Noir grape, this bubbly is pale pink in colour, and aromatically delivers strawberry and cherry candy, bread dough, currant and floral notes. It’s mainly dry on the light-plus-bodied palate, but there’s good ripeness to the red berry flavours that works well with the moderate acidity before the slightly toasty finish. Tasty on its own, it’s an ideal brunch bubbly or would work well in a mimosa or sparkling wine cocktail befitting the best moms out there. 3.5/5
My mom spends plenty of time at the lake, and once people are allowed to see each other again, the Bijou 2020 Le Chic Grenache rosé (Pays D’Oc, France — $27.99/1.5L pouch, Liquor Marts and beyond) would be a good option for when fellow cottagers drop by. This French rosé is quite pale visually, offering strawberry, peach, and ripe citrus aromas that are attractive. It’s light-bodied and dry, delivering peach and strawberry flavours, a slightly sweet lemon note and modest acidity on the palate before the pleasant finish. The lightweight packaging makes it a nice option for lugging to the cottage; enjoy on the deck in the sun, or with some milder cheeses or fruit. 3/5
I had it in my mind my mom liked some Pinot Grigios, but when asked she said, “I don’t care for it, but if that’s all that’s being offered, I’d take it.” Well, the Santa Margherita 2020 Pinot Grigio (Valdadige, Italy — $19.99, Liquor Marts and beyond) might just win her over. The latest vintage of this wildly popular Italian Pinot Grigio is pale straw in colour, bringing fresh pear, melon rind, red apple skin and floral aromas. It’s dry and light-plus bodied, and the pear, peach and apple flavours come with a splash of acidity to keep things vibrant. Any mom would enjoy this with a pesto pasta dish, grilled seafood or lively salads. 3.5/5
One grape I know my mom loves is Sauvignon Blanc, and the Cloudy Bay 2020 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand — $37.96, Liquor Marts and beyond) is a stunner. It’s pale straw in colour, and aromatically brings all manner of grapefruit, green apple, gooseberry, tart peach and fresh lemon, as well as an almost-resinous herbal/grassy note and a hint of chalkiness. It’s bone-dry, light-bodied and zippy, with racy acidity bringing incredible energy to the fresh citrus and crunchy green apple flavours, secondary grassy notes that persist, and a long, vibrant and chalky finish. Drinking beautifully now, but has enough verve to manage a few years in the cellar with ease. 4.5/5
My mom’s generally a white-wine drinker, although it’s not because she doesn’t like red. “I love reds as well; they don’t always like me, though,” she says. For moms who might dig a fruit-forward, well-priced red, the Viña Herminia 2019 Tempranillo (Rioja, Spain – around $17, private wine stores) will really hit the spot. Rather than big, rustic components typical of many Rioja reds, this Tempranillo offers fresh blackberry, plum and blueberry aromas, with an underlying raspberry component that’s quite pretty. It’s juicy and medium-plus-bodied on the palate, leading with jammy raspberry flavours and following through with darker berry notes, light tannins; if there’s oak here, it’s not noticeable. This tasty great-value red would work with sharp cheeses, pizza, pasta in a red sauce or savoury stews. Chill for 10-15 minutes before serving. 4/5
One of the reds my mom did mention liking is “a rich, plummy, fragrant Cab Sauv,” descriptors the Stag’s Leap 2017 Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, Calif. — around $120, private wine stores) delivers in spades — albeit with quite the hefty price tag. The aromatics on this Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon are off the charts, with black cherry, earth, plum, blackberry, cedar and spice notes landing with a wallop. It’s full-bodied, dense and chewy, with big cherry, plum and blackberry flavours, vanilla, pepper and spice from 16 months of aging in oak barrels, chewy tannins that are just right with the dense fruit flavours and a long but not overpowering finish, thanks to the 14.5 per cent alcohol. Mom can drink this now (after some decanting, or letting it sit in a glass for 30-45 minutes) with steak, ribs, beef Wellington or rib-eye, or hang on to it for three to five years. 5/5
Oh, and I’ve already booked mom in for next year’s Mother’s Day piece.
Literary editor, drinks writer
Ben Sigurdson edits the Free Press books section, and also writes about wine, beer and spirits.