Tag Archives: Mother’s Day wine

Expensive wine 50: Contadi Castaldi Franciacorta Brut NV

ContaldiThe Wine Curmudgeon has never been able to figure out Italian sparkling wine, all those Proseccos and Astis, despite Herculean efforts from people like the Italian Wine Guy. And if those wines baffle me, you can imagine what I think of the newish sparkling moscatos, many of which are made with all the finesse of a 7-Eleven Slurpee.

Not all sparkling wine needs to taste like Champagne (long live cava!), but I appreciate the Champagne structure and style ? firm, tight bubbles; a clean, long taste; and the balance between acidity and fruit.

That ?s what makes the Castaldi ($21, sample, 12.5%) different from other Italian sparkling wines. It ?s made with a couple of Champagne grapes (mostly chardonnay) and made using the Champagne method. The Franciacorta region, near the Swiss border, is the only area in the country where this is done.

And, as with well-made sparkling wine from Spain and elsewhere, it uses those techniques to make a terroir-driven wine. The Castaldi tastes like it comes from Italy  — crisp, small bubbles and a bit of clean apple fruit that ?s not a Champagne knockoff that oozes of caramel. Excellently done and much better than I expected.

This is Mother ?s Day wine, whether for brunch on Sunday or to toast Mom for another year well done.

More about Mother's Day wine:
? Mother's Day wine 2013
? Mother's Day wine 2012
? Mother's Day wine 2011
? Wine of the week: Domaine du Tariquet Classic 2011
? Wine of the week: Casteller Brut Rose NV

Mother’s Day wine 2013

Yes, you can buy Mom wine for Mother’s Day. Why not? Doesn ?t Mom like wine? Don ?t you think she should have some? Keep the wine gift-giving guidelines in mind — “Don’t buy someone wine that you think they should like; buy them what they will like,” as well as these suggestions:

? Regional wine: Mom can drink local, too. St. James Pioneer Red ($11, sample, 12%) is great, cheap regional wine from Missouri. Lots of black fruit, but also earthiness and acidity. Limited availability, but there ?s likely a local wine near you that will do the same thing.

? Cune Rioja Monopole Blanco ($12, purchased, 13%). The Cune Rioja Blanco is a Hall of Fame candidate, and this Spanish white is even more impressive. Terrific food wine, especially if you’re tired of chardonnay, with white fruit, some white pepper and a pleasant, if shortish, finish.

? Tormaresca Chardonnay 2011 ($12, sample, 12.5%). Italian white is amazingly consistent from vintage to vintage, with lemon and apple fruit, a hint of sweetness and a sort of stony finish. Clean and well made, without any of the excess of chardonnay — fake oak, overripe fruit — at this price.

? Trivento Amado Sur 2011 ($14, sample, 14%). Well-done malbec blend from Argentina, with lots of sweet red fruit, a little black pepper and even a bit of citrus in the middle. Balanced, but firmly in the new world style.

More about Mother’s Day wine:
? Mother’s Day wine 2012
? Mother’s Day wine 2011
? Wine of the week: Domaine du Tariquet Classic 2011
? Wine of the week: Casteller Brut Rose NV

Wine of the week: Domaine du Tariquet Classic 2011

My mom enjoys a glass of wine now and then, and I ?d like to think that I ?ve helped her with that. She reads the blog, and is better informed when she walks into a liquor store to buy a bottle.

Which is one of the reasons why the Tariquet ($10, purchased, 11.5%) is the wine of the week with Mother ?s Day coming up. Yes, I ?ve praised this wine many times before, and it has been in the $10 Hall of Fame since 2009. But its great strength ? and I don ?t know that I ?ve emphasized this enough ? is that it ?s table wine the way it should be but isn ?t often enough in this country. You don ?t need to be a wine geek to enjoy it. You don ?t need to have piles of money. You don ?t need to read the Wine Magazines or to parse scores.

All you need is $10. Good wine shouldn ?t be more difficult than that, should it?

This vintage of the Tariquet isn ?t as grapey, which is one of the things I always enjoyed about it. Look for more citrus, probably because this year ?s blend has sauvignon blanc in addition to ugni blanc and colombard, the classic grapes of Gascony. But the wine is still balanced, clean and fresh — very well made and not only among the best cheap wines in France, but in the world. Highly recommended. Drink a toast to mom with it on Sunday; I know I will.

Mother’s Day wine 2012

Mother's Day wine

Doesn't Mom deserve wine for Mother's Day?

Buy Mom wine for Mother's Day. She'll appreciate it. Right, Mom? Or, failing that, buy her wine for Mother's Day brunch. Whatever you do, though, keep our wine gift-giving guidelines in mind — "Don't buy someone wine that you think they should like; buy them what they will like."

These suggestions should get you started:

? Bonterra Viognier 2010 ($14, sample): Easily the best California viognier I've had in years (yes, damning with faint praise, but praise nonetheless), with crisp, clean apricot fruit. A little oily, which was interesting, and a decent finish. If it was cheaper, it's probably in the $10 Hall of Fame.

? Local wine: We tasted wines from a dozen or so states at our recent DrinkLocalWine conference, and there is plenty of quality and value out there. If you're in Colorado, try the Guy Drew riesling 2010 ($16, sample), with lemongrass, a lot of acid, and a fair amount of residual sugar that is barely noticeable because of all the acid. Excellent example of terroir and high altitude grapes. Not in Colorado? Ask for a recommendation for your Other 47 state in the comments or send me an ">" target="_blank">email.

? Toad Hollow Risque NV ($16, sample): Sparkling wine that takes sparkling wine to a place it doesn't often go. Sweet? Yes, but not just to be sweet, but as a style. And there are plenty of bubbles to balance the sweetness. It was a favorite of the late Todd Williams, who ran Toad Hollow and always told a good story about this wine.

More about Mother's Day wine:
? Mother's Day wine 2011
? Mother's Day wine 2010
? Wine of the week: Luc Pirlet Pinot Noir 2009
Wine review: Cline Cellars Cool Climate Syrah 2010

Cartoon courtesy Gerald_G via OpenClipArt, using a Creative Commons license

Mother’s Day wine 2011

Want to buy Mom wine for Mother's Day? Or serve something she'll enjoy for brunch? The Wine Curmudgeon is ready, willing, and able. Keep in mind our wine gift-giving guidelines ("Don't buy someone wine that you think they should like; buy them what they will like"), as well as these suggestions:

? Naked Grape Pinot Grigio 2009 ($8, sample): Pleasant pinot grigio, which isn't easy to do for less than $10. This California white has more lemon fruit than Italian versions, and is missing the off-flavors that frequently crop up.

? Robert Mondavi Private Selection Meritage 2009 ($11, sample): All in all, a well made $11 red blend. It has California-style black fruit, but not overdone, plus better balanced tannins than one usually finds at this price. There is even oak for people who like that sort of thing.

? La Crema Monterey Chardonnay 2009 ($20, sample): Some oak on the nose, but it's balanced by lots of green apple fruit and clean, lively acidity. Think of a California version of Chablis.

More about Mother's Day wine:
? Mother's Day wine 2010
? Mother's Day wine 2009
? Wine of the week: Casteller Brut Rose NV