How to thank Mom for all those kisses, compliments and band-aids? Try a great bottle of wine with Mother’s Day gift, brunch or dinner pairing. As a mother myself now, I call my glass of wine at 5 p.m. “Mommy’s little helper.” Here’s to you Mom!
Here are my Top 20 Wines for Mother’s Day, either made by women or named for them. Often the latter were originally made by women.
Many of the famous Champagnes of France bear the names of the young women or “veuves” (widows) who ran these companies at the turn of the century when their husbands died in the war or due to illness. Bollinger, Pommery and Perrier-Laurent are just a few of their names, but perhaps the most famous of all is Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin of Veuve Clicquot. She was a brilliant marketer and a tough old bird when it came to negoiating export deals. This bubbly has alluring aromas ripe pears and hazelnuts, with a long toasty finish.
Here are more terrific sparkling wines for Mother’s Day.
Peter Lehmann Eden Valley Riesling
Peter Lehmann is not only famous for his wines, but also for the artwork on his bottle labels. Often these feature women, such as the Queen of Clubs, who represents the gamble that Lehmann and fellow winemakers took in the 1970s to establish the Australian wine industry. An art student at the University of Adelaide, Tom Buchanan, tried to capture the intensity and youthfulness of this Riesling in his portrait of the young woman on the label. The wine has vibrant floral and citrus aromas, a product of the cool climate in the Eden Valley. A fresh, clean white that’s just the way mother wanted us turned out for special occasions.
Also try Peter Lehmann Wines Layers White 2012, Australia, $16.
Sonoma County, California $22
Gallo’s image as a jug wine is changing quickly, not only with terrific wines such as this one, but also with a new generation of the family taking the helm. Foremost among them is winemaker Gina Gallo, who has crafted a delicious wine at a great price. Gina, who took the renowned viticulture program at UC Davis, also learned her craft from her grandfather Julio, who started the business in 1933. This full-bodied number is bursting with aromas of dark plums, blackberries and spice.
Terramater Zinfandel Shiraz
Maipo Valley, Chile $13
Terramater means “Mother Earth,” and this wine marries the distinctive character of Chilean soil with grapes that are more associated with California (Zinafandel) and Australia (Shiraz). As always, mother knows what works together best. This wine has delicious flavors of blackberries, spice and smoke. It reminds me of the advice my own mother used to give me: firm but warm.
Also try The Good Earth Riesling Betty’s Blend, Niagara $12.
Sonoma, California $65
Merry Edwards, the winemaker and owner of this eponymous winery, is a pioneer in the California wine industry. In 1973, Edwards, whose winemaking career now spans 33 years, was one of the first women to earn a masters degree in food science with an emphasis on enology at the renowned viticulture school at U.C Davis. Her experience and training shows in this wine, which has aromas of black raspberries and blackberries. Edwards aged it in 73 percent new French oak, adding balance and structure. It should age gracefully for 15 years.