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Best Bottles to Gift a Mom on Mother’s Day

Plus, pro-tips for how to shop for — and buy the right wine gifts

Janice Williams By April 29, 2022
flowers in background with wine bottles in front
Illustration by Pix. Photo by selimaksan/iStock.

This Mother’s Day, show mom how much she’s valued with a quality gift, like a great bottle of wine. 

But here’s the most important thing — it has to be a wine that takes her seriously. Which means navigating past many of the wines that go on sale for Mother’s Day.

Don't skimp on quality

Steer clear of commercial bottles targeted at mothers, which fall short on quality, says Marika Vida, the sommelier and wine educator behind The Mom Somm.

“Part of how I got the idea for The Mom Somm came from being really tired of these crappy wines marketed to moms. They’re horrendous commercial crap. I’m not saying all of them are — I’m sure there are some out there that are done well. But I think most of the time people think cheap flunk is what moms drink — like that’s what they deserve — or they don’t have a discerning enough palate for wines of better quality,” Vida says.

The key to buying a quality wine that mom will love is to understand your mother’s taste — and then find her the best possible bottle that matches that.

“Buy for your mom’s palate — not your own. And spend more than you think you should. It’s your mom, after all,” says Jeff Porter, wine educator and consultant. “A mother’s work is so hard. She deserves something delicious that she can relax with. Sometimes spending a few more dollars will get you an exceptional wine.”

Porter suggests shoppers should seek out wine shops with knowledgeable staffers on hand to help find the perfect bottle. “Just picking up a random bottle that’s priced high or low can be a crapshoot,” he says, noting that sommeliers and retail workers will be able to give expert advice on bottles that align with moms’ palates but offer a new and exciting experience.

Make it fun

Too many people associate the word mom with cheap, commercial wines. But mothers, like everybody else, appreciate quality and new ideas. Instead of buying mom something cliched, go off the beaten track.

“Everybody thinks of Malbec when they think of Argentina, but every time I travel through Argentina, I always want Cab Franc because it’s excellent. And I think they do a heck of a job with Chardonnay too, but neither wine gets the play they deserve because everybody’s always talking about Malbec,'” says Vida. 

Or instead of buying Pinot Grigio, the wine that popular culture sees as a wine for women, seek examples from Alto Adige, where the higher elevation results in bottles with more bright minerality and flavor quality than the typical grocery store brands. Or think about Alsatian Pinot Gris, a similar light and dry style of wine that is completely different from Italian Pinot Grigio, says Vida.

If mom is a dedicated wine lover, then invest in a good reference book. If you think she might like wine education, Vida recommends Andrea Robinson’s book “Great Wine Made Simple: Straight Talk from a Master Sommelier.”

“That book was my bible for teaching people about wine because Andrea breaks everything down so accurately and concisely, giving people buzzwords and understanding that makes them feel confident,” says Vida.

Or for mothers who prefer to spend their spare time unwinding with lighter fare, think about Bianca Bosker’s bestselling book “Cork Dork,” an entertaining first-person look at what it takes to be a sommelier. For a compelling, but more hard-hitting read, consider Victoria James’ “Wine Girl,” a memoir that explores the sometimes toxic world of high-end restaurants.

Just a little more thought

Given that wine is rooted in connection, history, culture, and personal experience, shopping for bottles that offer a story can also make for a meaningful gift. 

“So often, moms are nurturers and storytellers, and wine can add to that. If you know mom, you know the stories that can connect her to good wines,” says Amy Currens, wine director at Michelin-star restaurant Birdsong in San Francisco.

What’s the story behind the winery and the winemaker, the wine’s region, and the label? What about the grape and its reach around the world?

“There’s a lot of information out there about wines that can help mom connect to the bottle,” says Currens. “Find wines from female winemakers, small family wineries, and wineries taking steps towards diversity and inclusivity, if those are things important to her. If she’s environmentally conscious, shop for organic and biodynamic wines, and so forth.” 

Porter adds, “The story of a wine or the place that it comes from is, in my opinion, just as important as the juice.”

Here’s another idea to make the gift of wine feel thoughtful: Get a bottle to share with her.

“When your kids are older, it’s really the connection and quality time parents want more than anything,” says Vida, a mom to two sons. “I think a mom would be really blown away if her kids were to present her with a gift of wine and said, ‘I bought this for you, but I want to share it with you.’”

Bottles worth sharing:

bottle of Tasca d'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Bianco Sicilia IGT

Tasca d'Almerita Tenuta Regaleali Bianco Sicilia IGT (~$14)

First produced by Count Tasca d’Almerita on the Regaleali estate, this wine is made with a blend of native Sicilian grapes Inzolia, Catarratto, and Grecanico, with a touch of Chardonnay. Bright with crisp acidity, the wine displays complex aromas and flavors of green apples and stone fruit with a hint of citrus.

bottle of Elena Walch Alto Adige Pinot Grigio 2021

Elena Walch Alto Adige Pinot Grigio 2021 (~$19)

Not your average Pinot Grigio — this light straw yellow wine booms with complexity, showing nuances of ripe pears, white pepper, and herbal character while remaining mineral-rich and acid-driven. It’s produced in the Alto Adige region of Italy by Elena Walch, who runs the winery alongside her two daughters.

bottle of La Sirena Amador County Rosato 2020

La Sirena Amador County Rosato 2020 (~$24)

This soft pink wine is made with Primitivo grapes sourced from Amador County in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett is at the helm of the winery. Bright with mouthwatering acidity, the wine is fresh and fruity with aromas and flavors of strawberry and melon.

bottle of El Enemigo Mendoza Cabernet Franc 2018

El Enemigo Mendoza Cabernet Franc 2018 (~$27)

A ruby red blend of Cabernet Franc and a splash of Malbec with intense aromatics, this wine is loaded with ripe and concentrated berry nuances that mingle with spices like black pepper, clove, and toasted cedar. Balanced with fine structure and linear acidity, the wine is well structured with plush tannins and a long, lovely finish coated in spice.

bottle of Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2017

Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano DOCG 2017 (~$27)

You can’t miss the plum and red berry character on this sustainably-made wine. The aromas and flavors are jumping out of the glass along with a hint of smoke and saline minerality. Made from Sangiovese, this wine is produced in the heart of Tuscany by winemakers at Avignonesi.

bottle of Domaine Huet Le Mont Vouvray Sec 2020

Domaine Huet Le Mont Vouvray Sec 2020 (~$40)

This Chenin Blanc hails from the Loire wine region of France, just east of Tours within the plateau of Vouvray by the biodynamic winery Domaine Huet. The white wine is dripping with smoky nuances and bright minerality softened by essences of white flowers and tropical fruit. The finish is long and lengthy and holds a bit of tension on the palate.

bottle of Chateau Climens Asphodele Grand Vin Blanc Sec 2019

Chateau Climens Asphodele Grand Vin Blanc Sec 2019 (~$55)

A favorite of critics, this wine has a score of 93 points by Wine Spectator. It is produced in Bordeaux by Bérénice Lurton, Château Climens’ owner and manager, in collaboration with Pascal Jolivet, from Sancerre. Made with Sémillon grapes, this is a complex dry white wine that features a bounty of aromas and flavors of stone, orchard, citrus fruits, and gingery spice, and fresh acidity that provides structure.

bottle of Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Reserve NV

Charles Heidsieck Champagne Brut Reserve NV (~$59)

Here’s a Champagne with generous aromas and flavors of tropical and stone fruit and fresh-baked brioche that last long on the palate. Frothy bubbles are persistent, while the finish goes on and on. It is produced by the winery Charles Heidsieck, which has made fine bubbly in the heart of Champagne since the 1800s.

bottle of Domaine Carneros Late Disgorged Brut Rose 2016

Domaine Carneros Late Disgorged Brut Rose 2016 (~$60)

Domaine Carneros makes this sparkling rosé wine in the Carneros appellation of Napa Valley. Made with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this bubbly displays a vibrant, pale pinkish-apricot hue and a texture that is both creamy and complex. The wine is intensely aromatic with pronounced strawberry, raspberry, orange, and toasted almond fragrances that extend onto the palate. The finish is silky, clean, and long.

bottle of Donnafugata Contessa Entellina Mille e Una Notte Sicily 2017

Donnafugata Contessa Entellina Mille e Una Notte Sicily 2017 (~$90)

A red wine worth cellaring, this wine produced by Donnafugata in Sicily is made with Nero d’Avola grapes. A charming silky, smooth, and soft wine, it features enticing aromas of black and blue fruits muddled with spices like cardamom and anise. Though easy-drinking, the wine is well-structured with fine tannins and complex smoky and balsamic nuances that come alive in the long finish.

bottle of Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT 2020

Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana IGT 2020 (~$110)

This bold and structured Tuscan wine hails from the Bolgheri region and is made with a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Packed with power, the wine features dense aromas of black fruits and cassis that are prevalent on the palate along with notes of crushed herbs and spice. The finish is long and strong.

bottle of Quintessa Rutherford Bordeaux Blend 2018

Quintessa Rutherford Bordeaux Blend 2018 (~$199)

The simplest way to describe this wine is polished and elegant. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, this wine is complex with rich aromas of blue and blackberry, violets, and fruit preserves complemented with structured earthy character and a hint of tobacco. The palate is refined with supple tannins that drive the long-lasting finish.