WORDS: RICHARD HOLMES | IMAGES: SUPPLIED

Few women have made as much of a mark on the world of champagne as Elisabeth “Lily” Bollinger. Widowed in 1941 at the age of 42, she was quick to take the reins of the champagne house into which she had married, guiding it through German occupation during World War II, and later establishing Champagne Bollinger as one of the most sought-after brands on the planet.

Lily Bollinger is also famous for her cheeky line about the best time to pour a glass of bubbly. “I drink it when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company, I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it – unless I’m thirsty.”

If you’re thirsty this Mother’s Day, the Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée, a non-vintage blend of pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot meunier is a fine celebratory choice.

Rickety Bridge is something of a hidden gem in the Franschhoek winelands, quietly drawing a crowd to its laid-back restaurant and tasting room. It’s a fine spot to discover their flagship range honouring Paulina de Villiers, the original owner of the property in the late-1700s. Alongside the semillon and cabernet sauvignon is the delicious 100% chenin blanc, crafted from low-yielding Franschhoek vines, barrel-fermented and aged in an oak foudre and small oak casks to deliver a wine with a great balance of tannin structure and fruit. If you have a few bottles to cellar, it’ll be even better at next year’s Mother’s Day lunch.

Catharina Ras was a formidable woman. Arriving in the Cape in 1662, she outlasted a succession of hapless husbands and become a pioneer in the southern Peninsula with her Constantia farm – then dubbed Swaaneweide – a popular stop on the wagon route to the coast. Today these lands are called Steenberg, but Catharina’s story lives on in this delicious Bordeaux-inspired blend. The foundation is merlot, but dollops of syrah and petit verdot deliver delicious spice and tannin to the wine.

Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée | champagne-bollinger.com
Rickety Bridge Paulina’s Reserve Chenin Blanc | ricketybridge.com
Steenberg Catharina | steenbergfarm.com