A toast to Mom

Bill Daley
Contact ReporterThe Daley Question

Celebrate Mother's Day with a leisurely brunch sparked with a celebratory bottle of white wine.

While mimosas, bloody marys and even a mai tai or two always work to set a certain mood, white wine is the perfect foil for the often-rich fare of a Mother's Day brunch, with dishes such as eggs Benedict.

White wines are crisp, light and varied enough in style that you're sure to find just the right one to toast your mom.

If you're celebrating at home, consider visiting a wine shop this Saturday that offers free samples to shoppers. You can then sip your way to the bottle that will work best for your meal and your mother.

Let's say you're going out with your mom. Check with the server or sommelier on what to order when you arrive. Tell them what you're ordering for food, voice any likes or dislikes and then make your price range clear — simply point at a given dollar amount and say, "A wine along this line will do." Sit back, relax and let them come up with the perfect match.


Layering the elements for eggs BenedictEggs Benedict and martinis have one thing in common: Both are subject to boundless tinkering, embellishment and general fussing. Sometimes the transformation is so extreme it's hard to remember that the appeal of each lies in its basic simplicity.

Making the classic eggs Benedict for Mom sounds impressive; why do you think all those brunch places will be dealing out plates of it like poker chips in a Vegas casino come Sunday?

Yet making eggs Benedict is, truly, simply a matter of layering already cooked foods on top of each other. It's especially easy these days because you can "poach" the eggs in a microwaveable coddler and the hollandaise sauce can be whipped up in seconds using a food processor or blender. Finding Canadian bacon isn't too much of a challenge, but you also can sub a slice of ham. Here's what you need to layer the classic eggs Benedict:

•Toasted English muffin half

•Canadian bacon or ham

•Poached egg

•Dollop of hollandaise sauce

For specifics, check out this recipe from Fine Cooking magazine for a classic eggs Benedict from John Ash, the California-based chef, author and teacher. Go to finecooking.com/recipes/eggs-benedict.aspx.

Chardonnay matches the richness of eggsA lot of flavors are packed into a plate of eggs Benedict: salty Canadian bacon, a plush, lemony sauce, creamy rich egg yolks, toasty English muffins. A white wine has the versatility to tackle all of these taste elements. But which white wine? The taste panel tried six types. As always, scores reflect how well the wine went with the food. The winner: a buttery California chardonnay whose outsize profile pulled the dish together into a tasty, coherent whole.

2008 Fess Parker Chardonnay, Ashley's Vineyard: A very toasty nose, creamy texture and an almost meaty profile distinguish this nutty, buttery, oh-so-classic chard from California's Sta. Rita Hills region. The eggs give the wines extra plushness. ✭✭✭ $30

2008 Hahn Pinot Gris, Santa Lucia Highlands: A subtle, French-accented wine from California with touches of melon and pear accented with a zip of citrus on the finish. The eggs make the wine taste richer, while the acidity in the wine perks up the eggs. ✭✭✭ $20

2008 Columbia Crest Gewurztraminer, Two Vines: An intriguingly complex Washington white whose lush tropical fruit flavor notes are offset by a kaleidoscope of warm spices. Sensual, balanced, the wine holds its own with the eggs. Some tasters, though, thought the wine too sweet. ✭✭✭ $7

NV Pol Roger Champagne Extra Cuvee de Reserve: Tops when tasted on its own, this classic French bubbly offered up touches of stone, bread and citrus. But the Champagne made the egg dish seem too acidic for many tasters. ✭✭ $40

2008 Domain Bernard Defaix Petit Chablis: This French Burgundian white has a slightly oily nose and a crisp and minerally flavor, with notes of tart green apple to cut the richness of the eggs. ✭✭ $22

2008 Willamette Valley Vineyards Riesling: This Oregon riesling has the typically "grapey" profile and a high acidity to balance the innate sweetness. Crisp. Tasters thought the wine neither helped nor hindered the eggs. ✭✭ $12

You want that wine. But your store or area distributor may not carry it. State law may prohibit you from ordering a wine online. What to do? Ask your wine retailer for a wine similar in flavor, style and price. Remember, too, prices vary.

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