All hail mothers everywhere! Five fabulous wines to say ‘thank you’ on Mother’s Day

Olympian Louis Smith

Ever diligent with his tastings, Times Drinks Editor James Viner has rounded up five marvellous, joyful bottles (including three special bubblies) that are sure to put a bright smile on mum’s face. Cheers mamma!


1) A versatile and aromatic South African white for the ‘Queen Bee’ in your life
2021 Queen Bee Viognier, Western Cape, South Africa (12.5%, Laithwaites; £9.99 mix 12+)




We are drinking more and more, ever-higher quality, South African wine (exports by volume into the UK increased by 12% last year) – particularly in the £8-£12 price category. Unleash Viognier! This is a keen price tag on a smooth, scrumptious, and blossomy vegan-friendly white with honeysuckle, orange blossom, ripe white peach, apricot and light ginger scents and flavours.

Try it with roast chicken, fish pie, mild curries, veggie/chicken tagines, prawns sizzling in butter, pad Thai or prosciutto with melon or figs. One for those queen bees who like wines with slightly lower acidity (and what acidity there is filigreed into the early-picked fruit). Easy drinkability.


2) Must-try bargain supermarket rosé Champagne
Veuve Monsigny Rosé NV Champagne, France (12.5%, Aldi; £17.99 in-store only)




Made for Aldi by Philizot & Fils, a husband-and-wife team based in the Marne Valley, this own-label bargain pink champagne is recurrently one of the ‘good ones,’ but right now it’s a must-buy that will keep mum suitably refreshed on Mother’s Day (and beyond).

Tasted last week at the sunny Aldi Press Tasting held at Tate Modern’s East Room, it was in really fine form. A moreish aperitif, it smells of red berries and toasted almonds, tastes fresh and at this price upholds both considerable integrity and poise – 50% Pinot Noir and 50% Pinot Meunier.

Another one for salmon and shellfish – or graze on dim sum or sushi. Silk for the price of cotton. Let it go ‘pop’!


3) A supersmart Kiwi sparkling wine to serve as an aperitif
Cloudy Bay Pelorus NV, New Zealand (12.5%, Tesco; £24)




For the pure pleasure of the ritual, nothing quite beats opening a bottle of bubbly or decanting a bottle of port (see top vintage port below).

A top-quality dry sparkling wine made mainly from Chardonnay from the award-winning Cloudy Bay winery, this refreshing bottle majors on crunchy green apples and citrus with some nutty, bready hints.

It’s an inviting, mouth-watering aperitif that could take on light party food such as smoked salmon blinis and savoury pastry canapés. Good also with a seafood platter, this fills the senses and has a fine, long-lingering, well-focused acid line. Jump at this wine if you get the chance at Tesco and elsewhere.


4) Top vintage port to sip with chocolates
Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage Port 2004, with decanting funnel gift, Portugal (20%, Lea & SandemanThe Whisky Exchange, Secret Bottle ShopCotswold Port, Harvey Nichols; £25.95-£32)




If you’re getting mum chocolates, then you’ll need a fitting wine to pour with them. Although vintage port only accounts for a minute portion of total shipments, for most shippers it epitomises the very crowning point of production. In the early 1950s, the mounting demand for vintage ports led Fonseca to make a second vintage port under the ‘Guimaraens’ label in so-called ‘non-classic,’ or undeclared years.

Sip this especially luscious, top-tier vintage port from independent, family and Fladgate-owned Fonseca contemplatively with rich blue cheeses such as Stichelton, walnuts, dried fruits, chocolates and in good, maternal company.

It also comes with a handy decanting funnel gift. Serious wine at a great price.


5) Drinks the stars having splashed out on this superlative vegan-friendly rosé Champagne
Charles Heidsieck Rosé Réserve NV Champagne, France (12%, Wine Trust, The Finest BubbleHedonismWhisky Exchange; £49.95-£59.95)




Sometimes only tip-top champers will do! At this time of the year, mums need conviviality and merriment — and what’s more uplifting than a cordial glass of exceptional rosé champers?

Founded in 1851 by Charles-Camille Heidsieck (the original ’Champagne Charlie’), small, stunning, iconic Charles Heidsieck (‘Shahl E-dseek’) is one of champagne’s greatest and most-admired names. Silky, extremely persistent and complex, this one is a spellbinding belter and had extended lees ageing before release (around 4-5 years).

It’s a virtuoso dance of finely-tuned acidity, tangy red fruits, rose petals and baked apples, with subtle spice and a toasted brioche note underneath. Let taste have its conquest over price! Bravo CH’s chef de cave Cyril Brun. Utterly delicious, in two words. One of the very best, especially in magnum.


Raise a toast to mamma with this revived 1930s cocktail, ‘The Perfect Lady’

(Serving for one Queen Bee)

  • 50ml London dry gin
  • 25ml lemon juice
  • 25ml crème de pêche liqueur (e.g. Briottet)
  • 1 egg white
  • Angostura orange bitters (optional)

This loving cocktail was inspired by Edward VIII’s abdication to wed his own ‘perfect lady’, Wallis Simpson. 

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Ideally, first shake the ingredients without ice, then again with ice; strain into a chilled Coupette or cocktail glass. Garnish with perhaps a peach slice or float orange bitters on top. Cheers to mums everywhere!


Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine



Main image: © Katsiaryna Hurava; Wallis Simpson © Tatianaonegina; © Lakhesis/

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