Monday, April 28, 2014

Wines with Which to Fête Your Mother

By Liza B. Zimmerman

Spring and Mother’s Day are right around the corner. Bubbles are always a great way to celebrate. Gruet, made in New Mexico by a French Champagne family, is one of my favorites and a great value. It is also a lot of fun to make your friends guess where it is produced as many people don’t know that wine is made in New Mexico.

Hipster moms might appreciate Lambrusco. Serve it cold and pair it with a beautiful plate of prosciutto as they do in Emilia-Romagna. Don’t ever serve it in a flute if your mom wants to be a modern Italian, there’s a big backlash in Italy these days about how sparkling wine tastes better in a regular wine glass. More classic moms might like a Franciacorta or great Champagne like Gosset.

Outdoor brunches almost always pair well with rosé wines. I like mine on the big and rowdy side such those made from the Bordeaux varietals or even Nebbiolo. There are also some quite good domestic ones made from everything from Grenache and Cinsault to Pinot Noir. I adore Lullaby’s Grenache-based wine made in Walla Walla, Washington.

If I Had Another Mother
I would love to celebrate Mother’s Day with esoteric and acidic wines like Grüner Veltliner and St. Laurent (both Austrian). I can also drink copious amount of Riesling, particularly from Alsace and really like some of the Canadian ones from both British Columbia and Nigara-on-the-Lake, in Ontario.

My mother doesn’t love acidic wines, so we drink a lot of international Sauvignon Blanc together. There are lots of great values, including Lapostolle, from Chile. These generally clean, crisp wines pair well with so many foods and are also great values. We also enjoy a handful of Sauvignon Blancs from California. We can also do damage on Sancerre and other Loire Valley stunners. She is recently also getting into White Bordeaux, which has long been a favorite of mine.

She also doesn’t drink Cabernets at all, except from Chile. I guess there is a certain logic to this as Chilean Cabernets for the most part don’t have that intense varietal flavor—nor are they generally produced in the same way with big tannins and high alcohol—as do many domestic Cabernets.

So we drink a lot of Syrah and love the Rhône red and white varietals. I have gotten her interested in Syrahs and blends out of Washington State and some of the divine blends coming out of South Africa at the moment. Rupert & Rothschild and Vergelegen are classics.

We also love Sangiovese-based wines as they remind us both of my first trip to Italy after I finished high school where she had to stage an intervention to make me drink red wines. I ended up covering the experience for the Wine Spectator.

In the end the best way to celebrate Mother’s Day is just to let yours drink whatever she likes best (and maybe pick up the bill). Or send her a case of wine. Mine is always happy when a little something quaffable and new shows up at the door.

Cheers from DrinkUpNY!

Liza Zimmerman has been writing and consulting about wine and food for two decades. She is principal of the San Francisco-based Liza the Wine Chick wine writing, education and consulting firm. She has worked on staff and freelance at national magazines such as Wine Enthusiast, The Magazine of La Cucina Italiana, Wine Spectator, Where SF and the Examiner. She currently contributes to Cheers, Wine Business Monthly and the Examiner, among others.

Zimmerman focuses on demystifying wine and transforming it into a tool for business and networking for companies all over the country. Past clients include Genentech, Roche and IBM.

She has visited all the world’s major wine regions and is one of select few in the U.S. to hold the Diploma of Wine & Spirits (D.W.S.), the three-year precursor to the Master of Wine.

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