One of the most enjoyable things about wine is getting other people excited about it. Mother’s Day, whether for a gift or at dinner or brunch, presents a wonderful opportunity to do just that. Does Mom like sweet wine, but is tired of what she usually drinks? Does she like red wine, but is feeling adventurous and ready for something new?
Using these the guidelines — helping Mom branch out, but not foisting something on her she may not like — here are three wines that fit those criteria:
• Domaine Guillaman Côtes de Gascogne ($9): Gascon white wines like this deliver tremendous value. Look for some citrus fruit and less grapey-ness than similar wines from this part of France. It’s the kind of wine to keep around the house for the summer.
• LangeTwins Moscato ($13): Moscato, a sweet white wine, is all the rage these days, but a lot of the wines aren’t much more than sweet and don’t taste much like moscato. The LangeTwins, though, is clean and fresh, with orange blossoms and lime.
• Handley Cellars Pinot Noir Anderson Valley ($30): This is among the best California pinot noirs I’ve tasted in years … authentic, peppery and not too much fruit or vanilla flavor from too much oak.a fine gift, even for Dad, next month).
Ask the wine guy
What are legs on a wine glass?
Legs are the streams of wine that run down the inside of the glass after you swirl it. It’s not so much an indication of quality, which was once thought, as the alcohol content of the wine — the more noticeable the legs, the higher the content.
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With your wine
Grilled catfish with pecans and croutons
This is as quick and easy as fish dishes come, and tastes much more sophisticated that it seems. Pair this with any of the wines mentioned above. (Adapted from Jacques Pepin)
1 c pecan halves
1 c fresh bread cubes, cut about the same size as the pecans
6 catfish fillets, about 6 oz each
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 /4 c chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c water
salt and pepper to taste
1. Heat a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large, non-stick skillet. When the oil is hot, add the pecans and bread cubes, and sauté for a couple of minutes until nicely browned on both sides. When done, remove to a plate.
2. Salt and pepper the fish on both sides. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet. When hot, add the fish and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on each side, or until just cooked in the center. Remove the catfish to a serving platter. Add the parsley and garlic to the drippings in the skillet and cook for 15 seconds, and then add the water. Stir all, and dissolve all the bits in the bottom of the pan.
3. Pour the pan sauce over the fish and then sprinkle with nuts and croutons.
Serves six, takes about 15 minutes