Monday, April 27, 2015

Wines for Mother's Day

By Liza B. Zimmerman


My mother has always loved the good stuff: including bubbles of all kinds. Really who doesn't? Another great idea is a rosé because it is so fresh and fruit-forward in Spring. Another approach might be giving her a "vacation in a bottle."

If it's in your budget break out the big boys with Champagne: Gosset and Duval-Leroy are classic examples. Gruet's beautiful sparklers from New Mexico are more affordable and incredibly delicious. There are also some splendid bubbles coming out of regions like Alsace and the Loire Valley in France, as well as tasty Cavas and Proseccos.

Rowdy Rosé
So many dry and balanced rosés are coming on the market: so why not surprise mom with one as an aperitif? I love some of the bigger and fruiter styles coming out of Spain, lesser-known areas--for rosé--such as Bordeaux and even Northern Italy.

Some of the Rhône reds grapes, such as Cinsault, Mourvèdre and Grenache are making beautiful, refreshing wines: such as Guigal's Côtes du Rhône Rosé. I am also a huge fan of some of the producers from Sicily who are making almost dry rosés from cool climate grapes such as Nerello Mascalese.

A Vacation in a Bottle
You can take your mother on a virtual trip with wines that bring the flavors of beautiful places home virtually. Traveling domestically I might start with an Oregon Pinot Noir. They evoke a misty day in the Willamette Valley when the fog lifts and you can see green, verdant hills for forever and then eat great salmon for lunch.

South Africa, particularly the area around Cape Town must be one of the most beautiful areas in the world. Thank goodness the local winemakers produce wines to match that beauty. I love their blends, particularly when they have Syrah in the them. I could do without the "Cape blend" addition of Pinotage. Rupert & Rothschild's "Classique" is a great example of the

exquisite balance that a blend can bring to the table. Vergelegen is another outstanding producer.

South America is a dynamic place to both drink and spend time. Mendoza is a compact and ideal introduction to winemaking. Malbecs, such as the delicious Bodegas Renacer "Punto Final," are king here. Some of the Bonardas made here are also quite divine.

Chile gets less love than Argentina, in great part because it doesn't have a single culinary or wine style to hang its hat on. However the incredibly diverse regions of this tall--and skinny, almost California-like--wine producing country are delivering some amazingly crisp Sauvignon Blancs. In terms of reds the country is strong in many of locally grown Bordeaux varietals. I am less convinced by the Pinot Noirs I have seen but really like the smokiness of many of the Carmeneres.

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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