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Macari Bergen Road
Macari Vineyards 2010 Bergen Road. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

A quick glance at my social media feeds and my email inbox reveals that there are myriad Mother’s Day events going on in Wine Country this weekend. Free glasses of wine. Special wine tasting flights for moms. Chocolate and wine pairings. And of course the now-ubiquitous live music.

Those are all well and good – minus the chocolate pairings, which never quite work for me – and if your wife or mother would like to do those things, do them. It’s their day after all.

My wife, the mother of my two children, likes those things. But our Mother’s Day traditions are a little different. This year, it will start with my son’s lacrosse game in the morning, then we will hit the North Fork in search of perennials, which my wife – the most avid of gardeners – will spend the afternoon planting. Gardening is like meditation for her and I do my best to keep the kids away from her so she can plant in peace.

When she’s done – or even while she’s still planting – I’ll cook a nice dinner for our family and open some great local wine. On these occasions, I dip into the “special” section of my cellar for wines that perhaps cost a bit more than the stuff we usually drink, but hey, she’s worth it, right?

If you want to spoil your mom or wife this Mother’s Day, but don’t have special wines tucked away for such an occasion, here are some luxurious picks that you can still buy in local tasting rooms. There are more expensive Long Island wines than these, and many of them are good, but these are higher-end, bang-for-your-buck wines that you shouldn’t feel bad about spending the money on.

Sparkling Pointe 2005 Brut Seduction ($60) Celebrating with sparkling wine is cliché – but it’s a “thing” for reason. Who doesn’t love bubbles – and this bottle is a rich, intensely flavored wine with notes of toast and nuts with citrusy edges.

Macari Vineyards 2010 Bergen Road ($46) This isn’t a complaint at all, but it’s surprising that this wine doesn’t cost more. This is a Bordeaux-style blend that shows off the ripeness of the 2010 season without being overwrought or over-oaked. It’s bold and fruit-forward with intense cherry flavors, but also notes of tobacco, dark chocolate and spice.

Lenz Winery 2007 Old Vines Merlot ($60) A Long Island classic, this Eric Fry-made merlot is simply one of the best wines produced here, every time that it’s made (it’s only made in the best years). The fruit is ripe, but there is so much complexity here. As the wine sits in your glass, you might pick up notes of dried herbs or cured meat, leather or licorice or brown spice.

Paumanok 2005 Grand Vintage Merlot ($105) Don’t frown at the price – this wine is only still available in magnum (a double bottle) so this is really a steal of a wine. I just had this wine from a standard bottle a few weeks ago and was blown away by the structure and distinctive minty note at the end of the impossibly long finish. I may have to buy one of these myself for Sunday.

Jamesport Vineyards 2007 Jubilant ($35) This cabernet franc-heavy blend just keeps getting better as it ages. Cherry and blackberry fruit is laced with licorice, tobacco and even root beer notes. Dusty tannins have softened with time making this wine super approachable today. Best of all, the price is down from the $45 price tag it used to fetch.

Lenn Thompson

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