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Wines for Brunch
By Alexis Beltrami

What wines to drink for Mother's Day brunch--or any special brunch? The classic choice is Champagne or sparkling wine. In addition to being festive, the effervescence of sparkling wine stimulates the palate and creates a sense of lightness that is welcome early in the day (breakfast is probably not the time for big red wines!). Champagnes and other sparklers are also quite versatile with food, and are especially good with eggs, because of their palate-cleansing powers. For the same reasons, Champagne-based cocktails such as Mimosas and Kir Royales are also popular brunch drinks (and preferable to heavy, palate-coating Bloody Marys). For those who don't like Champagne, crisp, unoaked whites such as Muscadet, Pinot Grigio or most Sauvignon Blancs are reasonable substitutes.

There is a more exciting alternative to Champagne, however: Moscato d'Asti from Italy's Piedmont region. This delicious wine is sweet, but never cloying, and lightly sparkling, or frizzante (it won't give you headaches). When fresh--it is meant to be drunk within a year of the vintage--it gives off effusive peach and apricot aromas and offers an appealing balance of sweetness and acidity that is perfect for the first meal of the day. As the wine writers Ed McCarthy and Mary Ewing-Mulligan have observed, Moscato is a great match with anything that goes with orange juice. Moscatos are also very low in alcohol, typically a mere 5.5%, which makes them perfect for brunch. Why not stop by your local wine shop and pick up a bottle--preferably from the 1999 vintage--for this Mother's Day?

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