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Food & Dining // Vino Sense
Roberto Viernes

Wines Mom Will Love On Any Day

When you cried when you hurt yourself as a child, who came running to wipe your tears away? It was more than likely your mother. Last weekend we honored our moms for the special place they hold in our lives and in our hearts.

But what if you forgot? What if you have to say sorry and find something that will satisfy the one who loves you the most?

Perhaps a belated Mother’s Day gift will do? It just depends on your mom, but here are some of my own recommendations in case you were living under a rock and forgot about Mother’s Day.

First, for the mother who likes sweet wines, and there are plenty of them. You know ladies who love Riesling and Moscato. Well, do I have a treat for you and them. I want to introduce you to La Montecchia Fior d’Arancio ($16). The La Montecchia estate has been planted to vineyard since the Middle Ages in the Colli Euganei region of Veneto, Italy. The yellow Moscato grapes here are hand-harvested then cooled and gently pressed. The name Fior d’Arancio means “orange blossom,” which denotes the initial aroma and flavor of the wine. It also is redolent of clementines, pikake, sweet lemon and a velvety sweetness. It is only 5.5 percent alcohol, so Mom won’t embarrass herself or you by drinking more than just a couple of glasses. But what makes this different from any Moscato d’Asti, or other Moscato, for that matter, is that it is fully sparkling. Most other Moscatos are only frizzante, or lightly sparkling. This wine is spumante, just like Mom’s personality and super smile. So it will create an even more enjoyable sensation when she’s drinking it. I liken it to full laughter (spumante) versus just a giggle (frizzante).

If Mom likes her wines full and buttery, she will love the 2011 Pine Ridge “Dijon Clone” Chardonnay ($26) from Napa Valley. Pine Ridge winery was one of the first to experiment with Chardonnay clones from France called “Dijon clones.” They were so successful that they name it on the label. These grapes come from Napa Valley and Carneros. The wine provides a balanced flavor profile ranging from citrus to poached apples and pears laced with some sweet vanilla and nutmeg.

It reminds me a lot of a freshly baked apple pie with butter on the side. It is not wimpy, with a rich texture, and tastes more expensive than its price.

Now we must keep Mom’s health in mind, so bringing a bottle of red may be a better option for some. For those moms who like a lighter red, she must try the new 2011 Lyric Pinot Noir by Etude Winery ($25). Etude Winery is known for some very special wines indeed, but this is its first foray into crafting Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara fruit, and quite successfully, I would add. Spiced cherries galore waft from the glass, with silky tannins caressing the palate. The fruit essences are plentiful, and I like the way it balances the weight and alcohol with acidity, kind of like Mom balancing work and home.

And if Mom’s taste requires a more impressive, thick and decadent red, and more specifically Cabernet Sauvignon, for the money it is really hard to beat the 2010 Justin Cabernet Sauvignon ($21). This hails from Paso Robles, so it does not have the same price tag as those from Napa Valley, but oh, does it deliver the goods. Sweet currants, blackberries and plums are well integrated with a nice, toasty vanilla. It has rich but round tannins that support the fruit rather than dominate it. It is opulent and enveloping, like Mom’s love for you.

If there is anyone in the world who could forgive you for forgetting Mother’s Day, it would be Mom.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. Email rviernes@southernwine.co m or follow him on Twitter @Pinotpusher.

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