I remember the days when my children were smaller and the highlight of Mother's Day was getting the cards that they had made in school, with pockets for little hearts and promises of the little jobs they were going to do. I still have the cards tucked away safely somewhere.
Although schools are closed, I'd imagine that there will still be plenty of homemade cards around the country tomorrow. My daughters are older now, but they still make them rather than buy them as it's more sustainable. With my cards, there will also be flowers, and maybe a nice bottle of wine. Champagne or sparkling wine is always a winner when it comes to present giving, but if you're looking for something more unusual, a bottle of Saint-Amour makes a lovely present. As amour is the French for love, this red wine, which comes from the Beaujolais region, is popular as a gift to a loved one, and although I hate to let the facts get in the way of a good story, the origins are non-romantic.
The first vines in Beaujolais were planted by the Romans, and legend has it that a Roman solider who converted to Christianity built a monastery in the area and was later canonised as Saint Amateur, meaning loved one.
The French version of his name, Saint-Amour, also became the name of a small village, as well as a cru, or designated wine growing area. It is the most northerly of the 10 crus in Beaujolais - moving south, the other nine are Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié, Brouilly and Côte de Brouilly.
The Beaujolais region, which is in fact part of Burgundy, lies south of the Mâconnais and north of Lyon. It produces predominantly red wine, which is made from Gamay Noir, a grape that is supremely suited to the terroir here and accounts for 98pc of the plantings, although you will also find a small amount of Chardonnay.
Beaujolais is one of those wines that people are familiar with, but don't necessarily look at in a serious way. Certainly, there is plenty of simple, easy-drinking Beaujolais out there, but there are also some very interesting producers making top quality wines. In terms of classification, there are three levels - basic Beaujolais, Beaujolais-Villages, and the 10 crus. Generally, wines from the crus don't even say the word Beaujolais on the label, so just as you will see the word Fleurie on its own on a bottle, Saint-Amour will also appear on its own. Much study has been done of the soils of the different crus, which range from crumbly red granite to blue volcanic rock, schist and sandy soils. Rather than lines of trellised vines, which you normally see in vineyards, here, you'll find bush vines, which require hand harvesting. The wines from the cru vineyards have considerably more complexity than the fruity Beaujolais Nouveau, which is typically made in the more southern vineyards.
For Mothers' Day, I have two Saint-Amour wines which would make a very nice present, as well as a few bottles of sparkling wine.
Le Grappin Saint-Amour 2017
€30-31, 13pc, from Loose Canon, Green Man Wines, greenmanwines.ie
Saint-Amour is one of the hillier regions of Beaujolais, and the old vines for this wine come from La Grande Charrière, a single vineyard at the base of a slope. The wine is made in a natural style, with the hand-picked bunches of grapes loaded into a fermentation vat and left there to ferment spontaneously. After three weeks, the grapes are pressed and fermentation is allowed to finish. Vibrant flavours of blueberries, cherries, and raspberries.
Collin Bourisset Saint-Amour 2018
Collin Bourisset Saint-Amour 2018 €12.99, 13pc, from Lidl
From the Lidl wine sale, this has bright flavours of fresh red cherry and raspberry, and is as good to drink on its own as it is with food. A beautiful match with charcuterie, it also goes very well with chicken dishes, served a little chilled.
Taittinger, Brut Réserve NV
€39.95 reduced from €62, 12.5pc, from O'Briens and obrienswine.ie
A bit of a steal for this Grand Marque Champagne which is aged for a minimum of three years in the cellars. A nose of hawthorn and acacia is followed by a lively palate of citrus, ripe apple, peach and a brush of honey.
€12.99, 11.5pc, from Aldi
Perfect for Prosecco lovers, this sparkling wine is made from Grillo, a white Sicilian grape which was traditionally used to make Marsala. It has flavours of ripe peach, lime and a touch of spicy minerality.
Charles Heidsieck Brut Réserve NV
€69.99, 12pc, from Clontarf Wines, Donnybrook Fair, Redmonds, Mitchell & Sons, all Dublin; La Touche in Greystones; Bradleys Cork
Supremely elegant, this has a mature and nutty nose, with deliciously French flavours of peach, nectarine, frangipane and brioche.