Wine Expert Anthony Davies from The Grape Escape Wine Bar & Merchants, picks wines to impress on Mother’s Day…
Let’s get one thing straight; this is the most important decision you will have to make for a very long time. The report card for Mother’s Day will set the tone for the rest of the year! When it comes to choosing the wine there is only one place to start; it has to be fizzy and it has to be pink. If you’re being flash with the cash then head straight to the Champagne selection. My favourite of the big name brands is the fresh red summer berries of Moët et Chandon Rosé NV (Morrisons £30.00) or, if she really is the best mum in the world, then treat her to the wonderfully complex and ethereal experience that is Ruinart Rosé NV (£60.00).
However, if you want to make mum feel really special this year then go for one of the fantastic English Sparkling wines available. Wines from these shores are more than a match for their French counterparts and very frequently come out on top in blind tastings. My personal favourite is the Camel Valley Pinot Noir Rosé Brut from Cornwall (Waitrose £28.99) but Kent’s Chapel Down English Sparkling Rosé Brut (M&S £22.00) and Sussex’s Ridgeview Fitzrovia Rosé (Waitrose £25.99) won’t let you down either.
That’s the fizz out of the way, now you’re going to need something to match that fabulous dinner you’ve been planning for months. Mother’s Day is a time to go for the classics. There are many inferior bottles out there bearing the names of Chablis and Sancerre, but if you do your homework you will find a high quality wine that is the perfect match for any seafood dish. Let’s start with Chablis. You don’t have to tell her it’s made from Chardonnay grapes, but she will love the apple and citrus flavours all backed up with the electrifying acidity and cool minerality that makes it a firm favourite the world over. Tesco’s Finest range has some fantastic wines in it’s number and the Finest Chablis Premier Cru 2011 (£13.99) is one of the best kept secrets on the supermarket shelves. If you want my very favourite then either head down to Christopher Piper’s shop in Ottery St Mary or order a bottle of Domaine Pinson Frères Chablis 2012 (£15.52) online. It tastes like sucking lemons in the sea, everything you could ever want from Chablis.
Sancerre is home to some of the greatest Sauvignon Blancs in the world, rather more muted and subtle than examples from New Zealand, and all the better for it. Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference (£12.99) has all the hallmarks of this great wine with citrus, passion fruit and a delicious grassy note, or you could head for Domaine Vacheron Sancerre 2013 in Waitrose (£19.99) for something a little more elegant with a super-long finish.
If you are cooking up some red meat you will probably want to match it up with some red wine. For a perfect partner to lamb look no further than the spicy Grenache-based wines of the Southern Rhône such as the brilliant E Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2011 (Majestic £11.75). Guigal is one of the best red wine producers in the world and this fruity and spicy number puts many a Châteuneuf-du Pape to shame. However, I did say that we should go for the classics so, if Châteuneuf is your thing, you could do a whole lot worse than the rich and spicy Clos Saint Michel Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2013 (Waitrose £18.99).
That great British favourite beef is possibly the easiest meat of all to match. Here we’re talking about full-bodied reds from Bordeaux (La Croix St Roch Montagne St Émilion 2013 Tesco £14.99) or a Northern Rhone Syrah (Cave de Tain Crozes Hermitage £10.00). And if you fancy going farther afield then why not try a butch Australian like The Hedonist Shiraz 2013 (Waitrose £13.99)?
For mums who like pork and crackling it’s time to travel to Italy and pick up a juicy red from Piedmont. The Nebbiolo grape doesn’t ever come cheap so make sure you stock up on Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Barbaresco 2011 (£10.00), which delivers the red cherries, rose petals, leather and dry herbs you would expect from a wine three times it’s price. Finally, if you are roasting a chicken or a turkey then it’s time to turn to the greatest red grape of them all, Pinot Noir. Burgundy is the home of this majestic grape but you won’t get much change out of £30 so why not try a top drop from New Zealand? The Escarpment ‘The Edge’ Pinot Noir from Martinborough (Waitrose £14.99) will keep everyone happy with it’s stylish combination of ripe dark cherries, plums and earthiness.
However you plan to treat your mum this Mother’s Day, choosing a great wine will help make the occasion memorable so please don’t forget that magic ingredient when you go shopping, the perfect wine.
The Grape Escape Wine Bar will soon be opening in Cheltenham. The weekly changing menu of wines by the glass will give you the opportunity to try all 120 wines over the course of a few months, providing plenty of inspiration for you and for mum. Watch this space for details of the grand opening in April 2015.