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Column: Wine for Mother's Day

A sparkling wine from California, a white from Spain, and a red from France.
Mother's Day Wines
Uncork Mumm Napa Brut, Menade Verdejo, or Bastide Miraflors to celebrate Mother’s Day.

What do a California bubbly, a Spanish white, and a red from the south of France have in common? Aside from all being wine, they’re perfect for celebrating Mother’s Day.

My first recommendation is Mumm Napa Brut Prestige ($28.99; 90 points; Outstanding!) Established in the Napa Valley in the 1970’s, it’s Mumm Napa’s signature sparkling wine. Using the two centuries expertise of making Champagne in Reims, G.H. Mumm, has planted new roots in Napa and is producing an elegant and fruity premium sparkling wine following traditional Champagne traditions.

The Brut Prestige blend is produced from the best grapes of up to 50 grower locations throughout the Napa Valley. The grapes are hand-harvested during the crisp morning hours to ensure they arrive in pristine condition and have plenty of acidity which sparkling wines are known for.

The blend is the traditional Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier plus a California touch of Pinot Gris. Most lots are fermented in stainless steel but a few lots are aged in French oak to add depth and complexity. The finished blend is bottled for secondary fermentation with 18 months of yeast aging for subtle dough flavours and creaminess. It’s disgorged in a brut style and a dosage balances the acidity.

Medium gold in the glass, there’s a frothy mousse with fine persistent bubbles. The nose reveals toasty aromas of citrus and a hint of earthiness. The palate shows brioche, lemon and apple flavours with a creamy texture, medium-high acidity and a long dry citrus finish.

Perfect for celebrating on Mother’s Day, you can enjoy Brut Prestige with any appetizer or main course. Crab cakes, smoked salmon, sushi, veges, barbecued chicken, it’s just so versatile. Be sure to chill the bottle for three hours in the fridge before serving. Remove the cage, grab the cork, but twist the bottle to make it uncorking easy. Available at Richmond Seafair BCLS.

Next is a dry white from the Rueda region in Spain north of Madrid, the Menade Verdejo Ecologica ($22.99; 89 points, Very Good.) Verdejo is the top-selling white wine in Spain, often compared with Sauvignon Blanc. Verdejos are often blended with Sauvignon Blanc but the Menade is 100% Verdejo.This grape gets its distinct complexity from stressful growing conditions and mineral rich soil.

The Sanz owners practice organic farming. A high proportion of old vines grown on chalk, careful harvesting at night, and fermentation by indigenous yeasts are essential to produce vibrant and fresh wines.

With its pale onionskin colour, the Menade delivers a generous citrus nose with aromas of herbs and minerals. Its flavours are full of grapefruit, lime, honey, and peach. There are plenty of minerals and a fresh and electric acidity ending on a gentle bitter grapefruit finish. Although the body is light, the vegan friendly Menade gets your attention with its lush aroma and complex flavour.

Serve with vegetables like asparagus, tomatoes, olives, and greens with vinaigrette, salads, nuts and seeds. It’s very fish friendly and a great match with pork and veal. Available at Richmond Ironwood BC Liquor Store.

Switching to a tasty red, the 2018 Bastide Miraflors ($24.99 on sale until June 4; 91 points; Outstanding!) is a great find and is available at Richmond Ironwood BC Liquor Store.

The Bastide’s dark garnet appearance heralds a full-bodied richness that is ready to enjoy thanks to its three+ years of maturing. From the Cotes du Roussillon region of southern France, it’s a blend of 70% Syrah grown on gravelly soil near the Mediterranean and 30% old vine late ripening Grenache from schist and granite soils in the Pyrenees. After a six-week maceration, the wine ages for a year in concrete vats as well as 600 L French oak barrels.

Its nose is full of black, red and blue fruit along with earthy and savoury scents. There’s fruit (black cherries, blueberries and plums), savory licorice, and bacon, spicy black pepper, and forest floor. This round opulent red with fresh acidity and medium tannins ends with a crisp leather and chocolaty finale. Decant for a couple of hours and enjoy!

Serve with beef tacos, gourmet hamburgers, duck braised with white turnips, shallots in a red wine sauce, or grilled lamb kebabs with rosemary and shitake mushrooms.

Cheers to you, Mom!