Wine Swap: Don’t burst any more bubbles on Mother’s Day

Your mom deserves something nice. But not $160 nice.

Mother’s Day is coming up, which can only mean one thing: apprehension. You don’t have to worry, however, because alcohol helps. Were you a high-roller son or daughter, or just looking to buy mom’s love to to make up for yet another year of lowered expectations, I have the perfect “splurge” wine that will make her disappointments evaporate in a sparkling shower of bubbles. But, more realistically, if you actually have a relationship with your mother and you’d like to make her a home-cooked, affordable Sunday brunch, I have a wonderful and economical sparkler to pick up by the case that you can drink on its own or as a Mimosa or Bellini. Basically, we’re here to show you what the fancy, rich people buy their mothers, and the almost-as-good, way-cheaper brokester version you can get away with.

When picking sparkling wine, the first thing you should keep in mind is that not all sparkling wines are equal. In my long-ago days as a caterer in college, I actually angered a guest by announcing to him that I was pouring Champagne.  He looked at the bottle through his carefully-perched eyeglasses, grimaced, and told me with pretend patience: “I hate it when people say that sparkling wine from California is Champagne.  Only sparkling wine from Champagne is Champagne.”  Please keep my story in mind in the event you cross a similarly-ornery individual.

Champagnes of all stripes tend to be expensive, and mixing them with orange juice is wasteful and for people with trust funds or jobs in finance. For mixing, I would recommend non-Champagne sparkling wines such as Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco.  Read below for my picks for the week, and good luck putting up with your mom this Sunday!

The splurge:

N.V. Champagne Krug “Grande Cuvée” | $160.00

I promise I won’t be recommending many other wines that are over $100, but if you ever have the money and are absolutely determined to spend it on Champagne, you must buy (and try) Krug. It is hands-down the best Champagne I have ever had in my life. It is full, well-balanced, with tangerine notes. Very evocative, with hazelnut and petrol on the nose.  Simply the most beautiful and refined sparkling wine you can buy for that price — note that this, the grandly-titled “Grande Cuvée”, is Krug’s standard bottling!
Available at UVA Wines and Spirits, 199 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn.

Swap for this one:

N.V. Charles de Fère Réserve “Blanc de Blancs” Brut | $12.00

This sparkling wine from Burgundy, France is light and refreshing, full of citrus and honeydew but underlined by a good suggestion of minerality.  This is great to drink on its own or absolutely wonderful with orange juice, mango juice, tangerine juice, peach puree, or anything else you might desire.
Available at Big Tree Bottles, 43 Bogart St., Brooklyn.