We’re mixing things up today! I figured that since I’ve now been posting weekly cocktail recipes for over 6 months, you should have plenty of options to choose from if mixed drinks are more your jam for celebrating Mother’s Day. BUT I’m also well-aware that many of you may not want to “hit the hard stuff” on this family-oriented occasion, so I thought I would tap in to my wine knowledge and share a little bit of it with you.
I’ve gathered 25 wines in varietals/styles that I’m pretty sure most moms would thoroughly enjoy, and today I’m not only sharing them with you, but giving you the tools you need to REALLY sound like you know what you’re talking about.
But before I try and tell you how YOU’RE going to sound like a first-rate sommelier at your Mother’s Day celebrations, let me tell you a little bit about myself and my wine background (I promise I know my stuff, guys!)
I started studying wine when I was living in Honolulu and just getting ready to start culinary school back in 2009. I had decided I wanted to take my First Level Sommelier Exam (from the Court of Master Sommeliers) and jumped into reading all of the “suggested literature” from cover to cover. I ended up moving back to California in the summer of 2010, and took my First Level Sommelier Exam at the Culinary Institute of America in St. Helena that July. That was my first “adult” introduction to the Napa Valley and I fell in love immediately.
Shortly after I received my Level One Sommelier Certification, I decided to branch out and start the Society of Wine Educators program. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Court of Master Sommeliers program focuses on knowledge, tasting and service, whereas the Society of Wine Educators program has far less emphasis on tasting and service and is almost solely dedicated to the knowledge/educational component. I took (and passed) the Certified Specialist of Wine exam in February of 2011.
I have all intentions of continuing my wine education one day, but at this point in time I’ve transitioned out of such a heavily wine-focused role, plus I have a few other things on my plate that have been keeping me busy!
Now that I’ve gone on and on about my personal life, are you ready to get into the good stuff and learn about what wines you’ll want to be serving for Mother’s Day this weekend? Disclaimer: I want to apologize in advance because no, I did not include any red wines in this roundup. Call me biased or opinionated, but I just didn’t feel that red wines are the drink of choice for Mother’s Day being that it’s celebrated in the heart of Spring, and usually during the day. BUT, if you are dying to hear my red wine suggestions, please shoot me an email or comment below and I’ll be happy to give you some recommendations!
Also, I’ve categorized all of the below wines using a few keywords to make your selection process super easy:
Supermarket find – These are wines that you should be able to find at your local supermarket that has a decent wine selection, BevMo, Costco, etc.
Bargain buy – These are wines that are (typically) under $20 a bottle.
Hidden gem – These are wines that you will most likely have to buy directly from the winery or online, not typically available at everyday supermarkets.
Amazon – These wines are available to order off of Amazon (I get so excited about this) and I have conveniently included some links so you can order them right away!
Splurge – Wines that are a little higher priced, but well worth the money. Invest in these if your Mom loves wine and would truly enjoy it.
Okay, on with the roundup:
Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles
If you ask me, bubbles (that’s sparkling wine in its official capacity) are the answer for any and all celebrations (okay, maybe even when there aren’t celebrations to be had.) I LOVE BUBBLES. They’re my fave. Not only because they’re so festive, but because they can be enjoyed at ANY time of day, in any season, with so many different types of food (my favorite pairings include fresh seafood, any and all cheeses, and breakfast/brunch.) This makes them the perfect choice for Mother’s Day! Here are a few of my faves that fall under a wide range of style and price:
- Segura Viudas Brut Cava – Supermarket find; Bargain buy
- Domaine Chandon Brut Classic – Supermarket find; Bargain buy
- Schramsberg Blanc de Blanc or Blanc de Noirs – Hidden gem; Splurge
- Gruet Brut Rose – Supermarket find; Bargain buy; Amazon
- Michel Olivier Cremant de Limoux NV – Hidden gem; Bargain buy
That’s Chardonnay for all of my mature readers out there. I’m just going to put this right out there – Chardonnay is SUCH the cougar wine. And I’m totally comfortable claiming this because I am one of those people that loves a good Chardonnay, so I’m basically making fun of myself. Yes, Chardonnay has been a favorite of Moms everywhere for quite some time now. It’s also one of the most common varietals you’ll see featured on wine lists and in stores when you’re out and about, so it’s great to know a thing or two about it! The great thing about Chardonnay is that there are soo many different styles out there. There are the stainless steel-fermented versions, that tend to be lighter and crisper, and then there are the oaked versions, which tend to be fuller-bodied and have a more buttery flavor. Chardonnays go well with what I like to call “heavy-light” dishes. These are dishes that are lighter in color (think cheesy, creamy, etc.) but definitely don’t skimp on the calories. One of my absolute favorite pairings with a good Chardonnay is Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam. Delish! Here are some of my faves along with where you can find them:
- Alpha Omega Chardonnay (both the oaked and the unoaked versions) – Hidden gem; Splurge
- Sanford Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills – Supermarket find (in the SB area at least)
- Zaca Mesa Chardonnay – Supermarket find; Bargain buy; Amazon
- Frank Family Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay – Supermarket find; Amazon
- Summerland Winery Santa Barbara Chardonnay – Hidden gem
- William Hill Estate Winery Napa Valley Chardonnay – Amazon
- Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay – Hidden gem; Splurge
Rosé all day!
I know it has a certain reputation, but I just love rosė. Especially when there’s something to celebrate like Mother’s Day. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am VERY picky about my rosė. It must be perfectly balanced and not too sweet (although if sweet is your jam, by all means have at it.) I love rosė because it can pair well with lighter dishes, but can also hold up to something a little more hearty. Items such as ham (or maybe bacon?) are the perfect example of something that would be much better paired with rosė than with a lighter white wine. I’m sure most of you are aware of this, but I think it’s important to point out that “rosė” wine can be made out of many different varietals. Pinot Noir, Grenache and Syrah are a few common ones that come to mind. That being said, if you’re willing to give them a shot, I feel that there is a rosė out there for everybody. Here are a few of my faves:
- Uproot Wines Santa Ynez Valley Rosė – Amazon
- Silver Mountain Rosė of Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains – Bargain buy; Amazon
- Becker Vineyards Jolie Rosė Blend – Bargain buy; Amazon
- Cornerstone Cellars Corallina Napa Valley Syrah Rosė – Amazon
Sauvignon Blanc is my go-to varietal for all of my freshest, healthiest meals. It pairs wonderfully with fresh vegetables, anything with lots of herbs, citrus, and so much more. Making a kitchen-sink salad for dinner? Reach for a Sauvignon Blanc. At an outdoor party enjoying a fresh crudité platter? Reach for a Sauvignon Blanc. I usually sort my Sauvignon Blancs into two basic camps (okay, actually three) – those from the U.S. and those from abroad, specifically Australia/New Zealand and France. I find that the U.S. Sauvignon Blancs (most of which hail from California) tend to be more fruit- (specifically citrus-) forward while the Australia/New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs are more herbaceous and the French Sauvignon Blancs are a great embodiment of terroir (i.e. all of the environmental factors surrounding the growth place of the grapes.) Below are my current top picks:
- Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – Supermarket find; Bargain buy
- Barnett Vineyards Dry Creek Andrews Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc – Hidden gem
- Holman Ranch Carmel Valley Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc – Bargain buy; Amazon
- Hartwell Estate Carneros District Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc –Amazon; Splurge
- Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc – Amazon
Although this isn’t one particular type of wine, I thought it was important to touch on some aromatic varietals, as they tend to be enjoyed by those (especially females, i.e. Moms) who might not typically be the most seasoned wine drinkers. These include varietals such as Riesling, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier and Gewurtztraminer (say that ten times fast.) I’m not a huge fan of sweet wines unless (a) they’re actually being enjoyed for dessert or (b) they’re paired with super spicy food, but I realize not everybody is in the same camp. Because of my preferences, you’ll find that most of my selections below tend toward the less-sweet versions of these varietals, but rest-assured that there are sweeter versions out there. Nevertheless, all of these wines would pair well with lighter breakfast or brunch dishes that we’ll all likely be enjoying for Mother’s Day this weekend.
- Lucas & Lewellen Viognier – Amazon
- The Ojai Vineyard Kick On Ranch Riesling Dessert Wine – Amazon
- Gundlach Bundschu Gewurtztraminer – Hidden gem
- Inglenook Blancaneaux – Hidden gem; Splurge
And that wraps up my 2016 Mother’s Day Wines that Shine! I know this is a little different than my typical recipe post, so please leave some feedback on whether you liked it or not either via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in the comments below. Now that I am getting into more of a groove with posting regularly on the blog, I’m looking for ways to diversify my content and keep you coming back. Tell me, would you like to see more of this type of “informational” post? Based on my food, wine, traveling, entertaining, and sports background, what type of content would you like to see more of? I look forward to reading all of your feedback! XO