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Show Mom Your Appreciation with a Gift of Wine

By Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

Since the coronavirus struck the United States, there has been a heap of well-deserved praise for the sacrifices of first-response teams, medical workers, grocery employees, and countless other groups that continue to keep the country moving despite personal risks.  One group strikes us as missing: mothers.

As Mother’s Day approaches, we should take note of the unsung heroes who have kept the house running. They are often the cooks in the family, brave grocery stores to buy staples, wash the clothes, entertain the children, and still manage to work behind a computer and phone.

We know this isn’t the case in all households and that fathers, too, are pulling equal weight. But, Sunday, May 10 is Mother’s Day when the focus should be on the women who shoulder a lot of burden. Even amid the mental and physical challenges we share, she deserves a day off.

Express your appreciation in a hand-written note. Let her sleep in. Start her day with a breakfast and maybe a mimosa.  Let her soak in the tub. Cook her a favorite meal. Wash the dishes; clean up the house. Give her the TV remote and for a change watch HER favorite movie. Have the kids create their own greeting cards.

If your mother is in her senior years and you live too far away to visit, send her that personal card and spend a few minutes on the phone telling her why you appreciate her. It’s the best gift we can give during these scary times.

But, this is a wine column and, don’t worry, we’re getting around to that.

There are plenty of cheap, gimmicky wines branded for mothers, but far better is a choice that will impart more appreciation.  If you know what she likes, your job is a lot easier. Maybe you can step up from her $10 chardonnay and spend a little more on a classy wine.

This is also a perfect moment for pink champagne, a drink often associated with luxury and celebration.  You can buy a sparkling wine from California or the real thing from Champagne. Frankly, some champagne prices are less than their California cousins.

Here are 12 wines that will bring you applause:

• La Crema Sparkling Brut Rose ($45). Apple and mineral aromas with strawberry and citrus flavors. Vibrant and opulent.

• Chandon Rose Classic ($26). This sparkling wine house sells a lot of its signature bubbly. Watermelon and strawberry notes with a smooth finish.

• J Vineyards Brut Rose ($45). Cherry and citrus flavors with balanced acidity, it’s a favorite year after year.

• Nicholas Feuillatte Reserve Exclusive Brut ($30). One of the best all-around champagnes in the French market, this easy-to-find wine shows off citrus and apple notes.

• Pommery Brut Royale ($45).  Another good value from Champagne, this version has fine bubbles with orange peel aroma and lemon-lime and apple flavors.

• Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2019 ($31). Now in its 35thyear, Cloudy Bay is synonymous with New Zealand sauvignon blanc. Grapefruit and grassy notes with good citrus flavors in the background and bright acidity.

• Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay 2017 ($40). Pear and apple flavors dominate this luxurious chardonnay. Not too heavily oaked but broad in its flavor profile.

• Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay 2018 ($24). Soft texture with peach and pear notes and toasty oak.

• Chateau Minuty Prestige Rosé 2019 ($30). Minuty takes Provence rosé up a notch with this classy, pale pink version. Delicate floral and melon aromas with vibrant citrus and strawberry flavors. Nice mineral notes. The producer also makes M de Minuty ($23), a classic Provence rosé.

• Ehlers Estate Sylviane Rosé 2019. ($32). The blend for this full-bodied rosé is 60 percent cabernet sauvignon and 40 percent cabernet franc – not your classic rosé blend. Watermelon color, raspberry aromas and peach, raspberry flavors with crisp acidity and texture.

• Frank Family Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay 2018 ($38). Using grapes from both side of Carneros – Napa and Sonoma – winemaker Todd Graff has created a lush, full-body chardonnay with apple and pear notes with a dash of vanillin oak.

• Far Niente Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay 2018 ($70). This Napa Valley producer has been hitting homeruns with its estate chardonnay for decades. Rich and luxurious, it opens slowly and performs best when at room temperature. Melon and citrus notes with hints of mineral and toast.

Wine picks

• Zenato Alanera Rosso Veronese 2016 ($20). We loved this delicious melange of flavors from an exotic Veneto blend of corvina, rondinella, corvinone, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The addition of traditional French grape varieties adds dimension to a simple but delicious wine that would go well with pasta, pizza, or grilled meat. Black cherry and plum flavors with a hint of spice and coffee.

• Hamel Family Wines Isthmus 2016 ($85). A little merlot and cabernet franc are blended with cabernet sauvignon in this rich and complex wine from Sonoma Valley. Forward, black cherry notes with ripe blackberry flavors, generous plum aromas and a hint of vanilla. Long in the finish.

• Bootleg Red Blend ($38). An almost even division of merlot, petite sirah and syrah, this ripe and generous blend shows off round dark berry flavors. The Bootleg Prequel ($35) is a blend of syrah, petite sirah, grenache, mourvedre, viognier and zinfandel with similar ripe flavors but with more oak-driven nuances such as vanilla and spice.

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