Proctor : May 2017
55 PROCTOR | May 2017 May is a month when we usually think of the most important women in our life, our wives and mothers. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, and with the knowledge that many mums are fond of a great bottle of something bubbly, perhaps we should skip the fluffy slippers, nightgowns and soppy music CDs this year. By May, the weather has cooled in Queensland and with it the festivity associated with Mother’s Day champagne breakfasts or high teas presents a golden opportunity to break out the bubbles. While not all mothers have a penchant for good bubbles, it is safe choice and a marked step-up from buying them domestic appliances, or worse. And if we delve into the origins of Mother’s Day, we may find that celebratory bubbles are more in keeping with its noble heritage. Started by proclamation in the United States by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, it commemorated the work of peace activist and Civil War nurse Ann Jarvis. Ann’s daughter, Anna Jarvis, had campaigned for the recognition of her mother and her contribution to those around her since her mother’s death in 1905. The International Mother’s Day Shrine still exists at the St Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church, Main Street, in downtown Grafton in Taylor County, West Virginia, where Anna Jarvis had her first memorial service to her mother’s memory in 1908. Anna subsequently went on to become a campaigner against the commercialism of the day occasioned by greeting-card and candy companies in the US. In Australia the US date also became celebrated and the tradition of gift-giving to mothers was started by Sydney resident Janet Heyden in 1924 when she sought donated gifts from schools and businesses to cheer up the lonely and forgotten mothers at the Newington State Home for Women. This altruistic tradition grew, but commercialism followed closely thereafter. Today the day has lost some of its lustre and merely an echo of its noble beginnings, but, and this is a big but, at its core it is still about honouring mothers and the profound effect they have on our lives. If you ask the most important ladies in your life, they will give you a frank answer “I don’t need anything dear...” but actually they do – everyone needs more good cheer. Don’t skimp – go for the best you can reach for, take it chilled and hope that she generously offers to open it immediately. We are all fond of good bubbles and they’re a fine way to mark any special occasion. I suggest that, if there is something that is a family favourite, purchase a case; if there isn’t, go for a good bottle of quality Australian sparkling wine or a Champagne and then either on the day, or as soon as is reasonably practicable, share a bottle with your mother and loved ones. While wine is for gifting, its purpose is one of shared pleasure, so always take a spare, as apparently there are only seven small glasses in a bottle! I was once counselled in one of the French Champagne houses that Champagne is not designed to be cellared, it is presented to market for immediate consumption. If you are still sitting on something from one of those not-so -recent landmark birthdays, I suggest you try it out now, with mum. The first was the Moutard Brut Grande Cuvee Champagne non-vintage, which was pale straw in colour and had a medium bubbly bead. The nose was quiet and the palate was pleasingly mouth-filling and quite dry. It had flavours of green apple and some pinot berry notes. While more straightforward for a Champagne, it was a crowd pleaser. The second was the Henri Laurent Brut Champagne Charly-sur-Marne non- vintage, which was almost pinky in hue and had a hard fizzy bead which slowed to a more stately pace quickly. The nose was toast with mushrooms. The palate was a spritzy attack followed by Vegemite and yeasty creaminess on the mid-palate with some good body and weight cut back by grapefruit citrus as it lengthened. The last was a dark horse, the Fleur de la Valee Blanquette de Limoux 2013, which was medium in bead and a little greener in colour. The palate was much lighter and more crisp green apple acid than the heavier Champagnes. A different beast, from the real home of sparkling wine, it was frisky and zingy with ripe fruit and a brace of acid to match. Verdict: The favourite for mum, and of mum’s tasting, was the Henri Laurent Brut, giving both some complexity and good balance of flavours. The tasting Matthew Dunn is Queensland Law Society acting CEO and government relations principal advisor. Wine Bubbles, some mothers do ’ave ’em with Matthew Dunn Three examples of bubbles were examined to see if they were fit for mum.