What To Drink Now: Toasting Mom

Mothers are amazing. They work 90 hour weeks, at least, taking care of their children and their families, many also advancing their careers and working full-time jobs. Add in a pandemic, with new responsibilities like helping teach calculus or English literature on one hand while holding Zoom meetings with clients and colleagues, and our moms have become superheroes.  This mother’s day, treat your mom to breakfast in bed with champagne and caviar, lunch with roses and Rosé, and dinner a luscious Pinot Noir from Sonoma or Willamette Valley. Here are a few ideas, I’ll have a few bolder red wine suggestions tomorrow if mom prefers something more powerful. Bonus, many of these beauties are being made by women or at wineries owned or run by women.

What better way to raise a glass to mom than with bubbles! And, there are hundreds of options available at every price point, from highly affordable Cava or Prosecco to elevated domestic options and premium Champagne.

From Sonoma’s J Winery and Vineyards, sparkling and still, wines are produced under the guidance of Senior Winemaker, and mom of two, Nicole Hitchcock. J Cuvee 20 Brut ($38) is a celebration wine, originally produced in 2006 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the winery. Aged a minimum of 30 months en triage (on the lees in the bottle, as per the traditional method), the non-vintage sparkler melds creamy custard notes with toasted hazelnut and marzipan while showcasing their cool-climate vineyards, revealing freshness, with crisp apple, white peach, and lemon.

One of the leading producers of Spain’s Gran Reserva Cava, Juvé & Camps Gran Juvé Gran Reserva 2015 ($60) blends both traditional Spanish varieties with international ones, creating a textured sparkler with layers of white flowers, juicy orchard fruit, and spice. Produced in the traditional method, with extended aging of 42 months en triage, giving the bubbly beautiful texture with a long, creamy, well-rounded finish. 

Rose season is just getting started, with pale, pale pink to intensely colored rose wines lining the shelves of your favorite wine shop and tasting rooms. The Provence region of France is Rosé country. With rocky, limestone and sand-filled vineyards sitting at close proximity to the Mediterranean Sea, giving mineral-richness, with the woody, Herbs de Provence notes from the wild garrigue, and upwards of 3000 hours of sunlight filled days per year, Provence shines with their dry Rosé wines.  Domaine de Cala Classic Rosé($18) blends the classic Rhone varieties of great Rose, Grenache, Cinsault, Rolle (Vermentino), and Syrah for a refreshing, citrus, and sunshine-filled wine. Subtle herbal notes meld with crushed stone, ripe grapefruit, and a touch of salinity.

Sonoma’s Kathleen Inman can do it all! As the owner, winemaker, vineyard manager, lead marketer, and salesperson for her Inman Family Wines, she actively has grown her passion project into one of the finest producers of Pinot Noir in Sonoma County. Her Inman Endless Crush Rosé – OGV Estate ($38) from her Olivet Grove Vineyard in Sonoma’s Russian River Vallery showcases the beauty of the fruit with a delicate palate of orange blossom, watermelon, honeydew, and raspberry.

Blending a touch of Grenache into fragrant, fruit-filled Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Ram’s Gate Rosé ($38) reveals notes of watermelon, mandarin, and raspberry, with pomelo and grapefruit. With a lovely, lingering freshness, Zesty and bright is a perfect wine to enjoy over a relaxing lunch with mom.

Willamette Valley native, mom of two boys, and Vice President of Winemaking for Stoller Family Estate, Melissa Burr, makes great Pinot Noir. And, as much as I love Stoller’s juicy, strawberry, forest floor, and spice-filled Dundee Hills Pinot Noir ($35), I am always excited with anticipation for Stoller’s Rosé of Pinot Noir ($28) from their volcanic, Dundee Hills estate to be released. The juicy, fragrant wine layers ruby red grapefruit, wild strawberry, and melon notes together, making for the ideal start to summer.

Naming their Sonoma winery after their hardworking fathers, Benovia Winery proprietors, Mary Dewane and Joe Anderson, put the lessons their dad’s taught them into practice in every part of their Russian River winery, mainly if you work hard and surround yourself with other hardworking people, you can create something wonderful. As much influence as their fathers had on their lives, they also give a rightful nod to their mothers, Martha and Eleanor, naming their estate vineyard Martaella after the two. An appropriate nod, as nothing in the winery would happen without great fruit from the vineyard. From their Martaella Estate, Benovia Rose of Pinot Noir ($32) shines with crushed cranberry, ripe strawberry, a touch of wildflowers, and candied orange peel.

From sandy loam soils sitting just 10 miles from the Pacific Coast, Ladera’s Pillow Road Vineyard optimizes ideal cool-climate growing conditions for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines. Ladera Pillow Road Pinot Noir ($66) is abundant with ripe red fruits, red cherry, cranberry, and pomegranate, melding with wild rose and Asian spice.

The historic Dutton Ranch in one of the foggiest parts of cool Russian River produces wines with concentrated sophistication, as revealed in Migration Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir ($70). With vibrance and energy, the wine opens with floral aromas of lavender and wisteria, followed by raspberry, toasted spice, and black truffle.

For the past eight years, Winemaker Katie Santora has worked, lived, and breathed Willamette Vallery Pinot Noir first as Assistant Winemaker at Chehalem Wines, taking on the leadership role of Head Winemaker in 2018. From the cool Chehalem Mountain AVA, Chehalem Corral Creek Pinot Noir ($50) showcases the earthy complexity of the region, revealing notes of red cherry and berry, baking spice, and toasted cedar, with chewy, nicely balanced tannins and great structure.

The southernmost AVA in Napa Valley, Carneros, experiences misty mornings, fog-filled afternoons, and cool breezes throughout much of the late afternoon and evening, all ideal for growing cool-climate varieties. From the Corotto Vineyard in Carneros, Goosecross Pinot Noir ($50) is fresh and vibrant, with a lovely note of acidity waking up the palate, followed by red cherry, strawberry, rhubarb, and a touch of cola.




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