Peter Ranscombe keeps it local with fizzy wines from south of the border as special treats for special Mums.
MANY of us may no longer be able to visit our Mums this weekend thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, but that doesn’t mean we can’t add a little sparkle to Mothering Sunday, courtesy of these fizzy wines from Englandshire.
Supporting local producers and local wine merchants is going to become even more important than ever during the months that lie ahead, especially as most of the on-trade will be turned off.
This handy guide will give you some ideas for last-minute mail order gifts – or you can ask your nearest independent bottle shop for advice too about what’s on its shelves.
So, which grape is your Mum? Is she sharp like sauvignon blanc? Is she elegant like pinot noir? Or is she completely bonkers like Beaujolais babe gamay?
No matter what her preference may be when it comes to still wines, I reckon I’ve got some pointers to help you pick out the perfect fizz.
My Mum likes… Sauvignon Blanc
Why not try…Bacchus
If your Mum reaches for the freshness of a New Zealand sauvignon blanc then maybe she should try the crisp acidity and hedgerow-scented Denbies Wine Estate Sparkling Bacchus 2016 (£16.95, Denbies). Bacchus is a German hybrid that’s found a new lease of life in England’s cooler and wetter climate.
My Mum likes… Prosecco
Why not try… the ‘Charmat’ method
Champagne, Cremant, Cava and many of the world’s other sparkling wines are made using the “traditional method”, with the second fermentation – the one that adds the bubbles – taking place inside the bottle. Prosecco tastes different and feels different in the mouth because it’s made using a different method – the “Charmat method” – in which the bubble-inducing second fermentation takes place inside a big tank under pressure. The Kingscote Estate Brut 2018 (£16.95, Concept Fine Wine) is made using the same process from chardonnay, pinot meunier and bacchus grapes, and has that same softness and fruitiness as prosecco.
My Mum likes… eating strawberries and cream while watching Wimbledon on the telly
Why not try… pink fizz
Tennis, anyone? Roland-Garros may have been rescheduled to September, but many Mums will still be dreaming of strawberries and cream over the summer – and wondering whether Wimbledon will go ahead or not. In the meantime, they can find comfort in the Hattingley Valley Brute Rosé (£37, Waitrose), which picked up a gold medal at the International Wine Challenge for the red fruit flavours and creamy mouthfeel that balance its freshness.
My Mum likes… anything Scottish
Why not try… Simpsons
Well, I can’t quite offer you a Scottish sparkling wine – yet – but how about some English fizz made by a Scot? Ruth Simpson is part of the Gordon dynasty that owns whisky maker Grants. She and her Northern Irish husband, Charles, not only make wine in the South of France, but also now in Kent, from where their cracking Simpsons Wine Estate Flint Fields Blanc de Noirs 2016 (£45, Roberson) hails.
My Mum likes… a bargain
Why not try… saying ‘giddy up’
Not exactly mail order, but the Irresistible Eight Acres Sparkling (£18, Co-op) is available from so many Co-op and Scotmid branches that it’s worth a look and could be left on Mum’s doorstep for a no-contract delivery. Made by Hush Heath Estate in Kent, which also produces sparkling wines for Tesco. Plus, there’s a horse on the label – what’s not to like?
My Mum likes… a touch of class
Why not try… Gusbourne
A lesson in how to win me over with labelling. Few bottles look as elegant as the Gusbourne Estate Rose (£40, Woodwinters) – yet it’s no good creating beautiful packaging if the liquid inside is rubbish. Fortunately, Charlie Holland’s wines from Kent are always spot-on – look out for his still pinot noir too, especially when Easter’s lamb approaches.
Read more of Peter Ranscombe’s blog entries about whisky, wine and other drinks on The Grape & The Grain at https://www.scottishfield.co.uk/grapegrain/