I recall my mother eating chocolate every day of my life, but never drinking wine (or any alcohol) until my early 30s, when I introduced her to a German riesling spatlese. She was hooked after the first sip.
I watched her run the tip of her tongue around her lips savoring the flavor, and remember her enjoying a glass (and not an ounce more) of this chilled nectar that was sweet without being sugary.
While spatlese means late harvest, since the 1990s, many German winemakers ferment their spatlese wines to dryness. I’m not sure my mother would have licked her lips with this style, but I thought of her a few weeks ago as I tasted the 2013 Schloss Schonborn Hochheim Domdechaney Riesling Spatlese Feinherb, Rheingau with a Berkshire pork loin at a Wines of Germany dinner at Manhattan’s Beekman Hotel.
2013 Schloss Schonborn Spatlese glass #9
My mother would have loved the white flower, honey and apple aromas, and the mouth-filling melon, honey and ripe pear flavors that carried an unmistakable sweet finish. She would have savored every drop of the wine, then with the final lick of the lips, showered the 2013 Schloss Schonborn Spatlese with her ultimate compliment, “scrumptious.” That’s a word worth 90 points. Retail is approximately $24.
Champagne was too dry for my mother, but yours might be delighted to celebrate the day with the nonvintage Champagne Collet Brut Rosé
In four years, Champagne Collet will celebrate its centennial, but you don’t have to wait that long before enjoying its nonvintage brut rosé. Made from a blend of 40 percent chardonnay, 50 percent pinot noir and 10 percent pinot meunier, this lightly orange-tinted sparkler releases enticing tangerine and orange zest aromas as the tiny bubbles rise endlessly. The red fruits, pinot noir and pinot meunier, contribute the cherry flavor that mingles with a dash of orange supported by mild acidity. It was a perfect partner to the panna cotta accompanied with blood orange wedges and pomegranate granité enjoyed with it . 88 points. Retail ranges from $50 to $60.
Dessert wines can be cloying to a fault, or they can properly portion the fruit’s sweetness and its acidity in sequential measures like the 2002 Robert Mondavi Sauvignon Blanc Botrytis Napa Valley.
Using Bordeaux’s world-renowned Sauternes dessert wine as its model, Mondavi instills the botrytis by creating its own microclimate: It creates the humidity that the grapes need to develop the noble rot, botrytis cinerea by activating sprinklers at night, then monitoring the sauvignon blanc for its development. With Napa Valley’s Mediterranean climate, it has the luxury of time to inspect and pick only those grapes that are perfectly infected with botrytis.
The 2002 Mondavi sauvignon blanc botrytis has a rainbow of luscious flavors reaching from apricot to honey to pineapple with a dose of acidity balancing the rich fruit flavors.
Winemaker Joe Harden
At a dinner with Mondavi’s winemaker Joe Harden, it was served with a cheese selection, but, if I were wearing my chef’s hat, I’d pair it with a lemon curd tart. 93 points. $50 for a half-bottle (375ml).
No matter what you choose to drink, it’s a day to honor mothers across the globe: your own, of course, and also the mothers of all the winemakers who have brought us these delicious tidings. Happy Mother’s Day!
Photos by John Foy