SOME people can’t stand Mother’s Day. I mean they love their mum, but they can’t stand leaving the house for the so-called “treat”. Over-booked restaurants, under-cooked food and poor old mum trying to pretend it’s the best time she‘s had since the grand final of The X Factor.
The alternative is staying in – cook a lovely Mother’s Day lunch and break out a really nice bottle of wine.
Research for the Big Day next week led to several wines, with mixed results. The Exquisite Collection South Australia Shiraz 2012 which Aldi, ever cost-conscious, is selling at just £5.99.
Now Shiraz can be confrontational; the sort of wine that sits there and says “I’m big and I’m gutsy so don’t come near unless a gulp of aggression is what you’re prepared for”.
I found it resin-y, oily, and tannins overpowered the “ripe black plum fruits, blackberries and succulent black cherries” the label proclaimed.
However, saying that, this wine won three awards last year. A silver at the Decanter World Wine Awards; commended at the International wine Challenge. It also won a What Food What Wine challenge as a match for lamb rogan josh. To be fair, a day after opening, and poured alongside a Thai supper with a spicy punch worthy of Tony The Bomber Bellew, the wine was a worthy opponent.
Morrisons Signature Chablis (RRP £9.99 at Morrisons stores, www.morrisonscellar.com). How does that joke go. “I don’t like chardonnay but I love Chablis.” If you didn’t know, Chablis is 100% chardonnay. The label declares this has crisp green apples and soft banana flavours. I definitely got the apples, but the bananas were off my radar. Taut sharp green apples on the nose, but to taste it wasn’t as crisp and linear as I’d like.
Rosé Royal Pinot Noir Spumante, Giacomo Montresor (£9.45, www.allaboutwine.co.uk). Lovely bottle, makes me feel all special and would be a perfect treat for Mother’s Day. It is a pale pink sparkling wine from pinot noir grapes. The wine is kept on the lees for four months, adding complexity. Fresh bread aromas mingle with dried strawberries and cherries. There’s a nose-tickling sparkle with cherries to taste.
The Society’s Celebration Crémant de Loire (www.thewinesociety.com, £11.50, or £9.50 equivalent if you buy six up to March 30). Loire producer Gratien & Meyer this year celebrates its 150th anniversary and it is the society’s longest continuous supplier – since 1906 in fact. The blend is exclusive to the society, with chardonnay, chenin, cabernet franc and pinot noir. On the nose, bright fresh apple after an April shower; squeezy fresh to taste with an huzzah of apple bite freshness and lemon.
Canard-Duchêne Authentic Réserve Brut (RRP£26.99, Waitrose and www.waitrosedirect.com). Now don’t be shocked. I had this Champagne with a curry takeaway and it was bloomin’ perfect. Of course I professionally “tasted” it first for your benefit. But then for my benefit I shared an aubergine side dish, melting Bombay potatoes and a lamb dupiaza. With Champagne? It was heavenly. Aged for three years, it has intensity to counteract spice; freshness to liven the palate; dried apples and stone fruits bring a livening lift.
Published in the saturday extra magazine March 22, 2014