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Wine World

Cheers to Mom: Wines to celebrate her day

This year is worth a special celebration for Mom because many of us weren’t able to see her last year. So if she loves her wine, be sure to check out these to toast her on her day. And in honor of all moms, these wines are made by women — some are moms, and some are daughters with moms — and all are making great wine for just sipping or for pairing with your favorite foods. 

RED WINE

Gust Sonoma County Petaluma Gap Syrah 2018, $48. Founded by second-generation Cline family sisters Megan and Hilary, Gust is from the new-ish Petaluma Gap AVA. The name refers to the blustery winds that regularly, well, gust, through the area, making it perfect for growing cooler climate vines — Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah — all of which are produced by Gust. This bold and complex Syrah has ample notes of peppercorn and blackberry for “a taste of old-world [S]yrah with new world structure.”

Banshee Sonoma County Pinot Noir 2018, $28. Alicia Sylvester, Banshee’s new winemaker and advocate for sustainable wine farming, focuses on Sonoma Pinot Noir, with several wines from the Sonoma Coast fetching three figures. While no one will dispute Mom isn’t worth that, not only is this particular Pinot a bit easier on the wallet, it’s also the winery’s flagship wine. Partly sourced from the coast, the other part is from the Russian River Valley, which gives it a fine pedigree. And you’ll still find all of Pinot’s characteristic flavors and aromas of berries, cherries, and plums. 

WHITE WINE

Laguna Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2017, $24. It took a trip to the Salamander Resort in Middleburg, Va., to discover this wine from our own backyard. I’ll admit I was a bit surprised (shocked?) to discover it is part of the Gallo Family portfolio, but Gallo has come a long way since Ernest and Julio and that jug wine my mom used to drink. Winemaker Gina Gallo, Julio’s granddaughter, crafts this wine from the family’s historic Laguna Ranch vineyard, a former apple orchard. Chardonnay vines thrive in the Russian River Valley, cooled by the fog that rolls in from the ocean. If your mom is a Chardonnay fan, she’ll be delighted with this rich, oaky, creamy, and well-balanced wine, awarded 90 points from the Wine Enthusiast.

Imagery North Coast White Burgundy 2019, $32. Winemaker Jaime Benziger (yes, that Benziger) crafts several fun and interesting white wines, so if Mom likes white, a trip to the tasting room in Sonoma Valley’s Glen Ellen is worth a visit to enjoy the wines and the art gallery of commissioned labels. Denver-based artist Mai Wyn Schantz designed the gorgeous label for this Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Meunier blend, a versatile wine that pairs well with food. 

SPARKLING

Chateau St. Jean Sparkling Brut Cuvee 2017, $25. Margo Van Staaveren, winemaker and general manager, has come up through the ranks at Chateau St. Jean, beginning as a laboratory technician in 1980 — she even met her husband there and her children have been born during her time at the winery. She crafts this bubbly using the Cuvee Close or Charmat approach, which dates to the 1800s, to ensure a brightness and complexity with a fruity, flowery, yeasty aroma with notes of honey and vanilla to create a refreshing, elegant finish.

Chandon Brut Rosé (NV), $25. Champagne, France-born Pauline Lhote worked at Champagne houses Nicolas Feuillatte and Moët & Chandon before coming to Napa Valley’s Chandon for an internship 15 years ago, and she is now the winery’s second female winemaking director. This gold medal award-winning (2021 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition) sparkling is one of her favorite wines to make. Made primarily from Chardonnay grapes with a small amount of Pinot Noir for color and aroma, this dry, food-friendly sparkling has notes of berries and watermelon, and, of course, a lovely salmon-pink color.

Whether you sample these wines or have your own favorites, may your Mother’s Day celebration be joyous and safe.

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