A shout out to mom. The influence and unrequited love of a mother is age irrelevant. She is everything to her child, their rock, their wherewithal. Mothers are Kalon incarnate. They are what the Greek philosophers refer to as beauty that is more than skin deep. The idealistic representation of perfect grace in the physical and moral sense. Mom’s deserve more than they get but they rarely complain. If my mother were to be described in a wine tasting note, this would be it:
“From a vintage in which the mold must have been broken, 1938. Impossibly youthful and yet full of life, zest, verve and generosity. Classically styled, unselfish and seamless. Has aged with halcyon, linear precision, patience and the grace of an angel. Residing in an exceptionally calm and beautiful window. Will offer many more years of pleasure to be with.” May 2014
Doesn’t the mother in your life deserve a taste of something special, if not every day, at least this coming Sunday? Here are five legitimate wines, a vintage-dated Champagne and four most excellent whites, to open with Mom.
A single-vineyard Mâconnais from a cooperative consisting of more than 250 wine-growing estates on 1,500 hectares in southern Burgundy. Subtle bits of buttery oak, wet stones and rubbed herbs give this elegant Chardonnay it’s well-priced lift. Affordable and attractive, it may be not be a candidate for wine of the year but its versatility is both food and people friendly. A prime example of what can be unearthed in the “lesser” nooks of the royal region. Tasted April 2014
Certainly on the early savoury side, with that not unfamiliar note of capsicum, namely Cayenne and a conspicuously low bite of sulphur. The rock rolls down the lane in low and slow motion then gains speed just before it strikes. The initial herbiage comes by way of lemon balm but the developing, maudlin steely zest and acids by a count of a “thousand, yes bones or clams or whatever you call them,” take over. Wild in yeast, this Moore, wild in ferment, wild in attitude. Tasted April 2014 @TheLivingVine
The right kind of gangling Chablis allows the flinty, struck stone character to get up top. The Montmains vineyards elicit that uncanny ability so long as the producer keeps the handling to a minimum. Case in point Bouchard’s old vines ’11. Green apple skin and tart flesh lash out and so in a way this is acting very cool climate. As it moves along, there is a noticeable increased limestone effect. Clean, cool, balanced and delicious Chablis. Exceptional length from a fine vineyard. Linear and direct. Really long. Contains sulphites and fish. Tasted April 2014
Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay 2011, Napa Valley, California, USA (Agent, $60.95) From the California Wine Fair, Fairmount Royal York Hotel
A mineral-driven vintage for one of Napa Valley’s most consistently complex values. A reputation cemented and bronzed, in hue, blueprint, essence and agalloch. Level wooded and smooth though short of the abundant stretched acidity that characterized the ’09 and ’10. Seems to emit a Chablis like leesy funk for texture in lieu of that acidity. There is a quick tension, on the convivial side of anxious, that submits to blithe elegance. Calmer and yet still cooler than most. Tasted March 2014 @GrgichHills @rogcowines
A graceful, slow evolution characterizes this cat of a Champagne from Ambonnay, a coveted terroir with vineyards classified as Grand Cru since 1935. Offers a pensive appreciation for the idealism of youthful Champagne. Lemon meringue, faint but fresh herbs and the provocative agent of a yeast starter stand out as prominent aromas. Lively, still primary, fresh, amplified and just now ready to begin secondary life. Ask this balanced, even steven Ambonnay, “oh very young, what will you leave us this time. You’re only dancin’ on this earth for a short while.” It might answer with maturity and in a teaching moment, “many years of enjoyment, for now and 10-15 more.” Tasted April 2014 @ProfileWineGrp @BenoitMARGUET
Good to go!