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Wine recommendations - and a bit of amateur psychology - for Mother's Day

Wow, the celebrations are coming thick and fast this week! After lovers, now mothers . . .Well, curiously, a similar psychology applies. Mums come in all shapes and sizes so what will appeal to one may not necessarily appeal to another. It’s all about thinking about the individual and picking the bottle they would most enjoy.

Mums - and I speak from first hand experience here - like to be fussed over and frankly if you’re taking the Sunday lunch of their hands, either by cooking for a meal for them or inviting them out they’re going to be happy as larry.

Having said that I think there’s a couple of differences between the sexes worth noting. Women, I’ve observed, are generally less impressed by labels than men (so save that top Bordeaux you’ve been hoarding for Father’s Day) and often prefer lighter wines. By that I don’t mean wimpy 11 or 12 per centers but balanced wines with moderate alcohol levels, not massive 14.5% or even 15% blockbusters.

Oddly, having just written about how to pick the right wine for a man you’re planning to propose to (see here) I think they’re also less sentimental. A bottle they drank 10 or even 20 years ago isn’t necessarily going to hit the spot quite as accurately as a bottle they have a taste for right now.

Women are also, I think, more willing to be experimented on than men, certainly than older men. They regard surprise as pleasurable rather than disconcerting - so are likely to regard a new wine they haven’t tried (but which fits in with their overall preferences) as a treat rather than an alien and possibly hostile object.

Having said all this I do think that the majority of women love Champagne and Champagne or sparkling wine cocktails and that few can resist a gorgeous sweet wine so if you’re not exactly sure where your mother’s vinous preferences lie you’ll be on pretty safe ground if you pick either or both of those.

So far as whites and reds are concerned I’d obviously pick them to match the food you’re cooking or eating (search elsewhere on the site) but if you’re looking for safe bets, most mums I know will be more than happy with a silky, supple Pinot Noir which has the virtue of working with both main course fish and meat dishes especially tuna, salmon and duck.

Some of the best value pinots are currently coming from New Zealand and Chile. Of the ones that are widely available in the UK I'd pick Wither Hills (£14.99 Waitrose) and the excellent Chilean Secano Estate from Marks and Spencer (£6.99). (It won't help for tomorrow but there are some excellent buys on the M & S website at the moment (25% off all wine cases) which brings the 2006 vintage of this wine down to £5.24 a bottle if you buy a case of 12.)

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