Buying an expensive wine as a gift is a challenge for many people. If you can get past the cost of a wine that cost more than $100 and lasts a couple of hours at best, there’s the hurdle of which wine to buy. It’s not as if one size fits all. Some people are allergic to red wine, others hate tannic wines while there are those that drink nothing but chardonnay.
So, here we are a few days away from Father’s Day when a bottle of wine has replaced the tie as the most likely gift to be enjoyed. By the way, a tie can cost $85 or more – you can get a great wine for that price. Dad may be wild and crazy guy, but that doesn’t mean he will wear a tie with pink flamingos to the office. Buy the wine and share the cost with siblings.
Before you open the wallet wide, consider your recipient’s tastes. If his favorite wine is pinot grigio, you’re not going to find anything expensive or high in quality. We know this sounds pompous, but someone who enjoys simple wines isn’t going to appreciate an expensive one. Most likely, he’s going to hate it. Buy the tie.
But if dad collects wine or has developed an appreciation for better quality wines, by all means give him that expensive Bordeaux or the cult cabernet sauvignon from California. Give him a wine that he wouldn’t buy because he’d feel guilty spending the money.
We’ve gotten such gifts on other occasions and we can’t tell you how much we appreciated the gesture. It didn’t take long to research the wine and discover the cost. While we appreciate the inexpensive wine, too, we know the sacrifice someone made to buy us something special. Of course, we make sure they are there when we open it.
Many of the special wines we list below require time to appreciate. Don’t be disappointed if dad doesn’t drink them right away – he may be waiting for the right moment or waiting for the wine to mature. If you want to help in the research, give him a nicely packaged bottle with some background material about its origin, how it was made and what the critics say about it.
Here are some suggestions:
Cliff Lede Vineyards “Moon Fantasy” 2015 ($110). Cliff Lede loves Bordeaux but he also loves rock music – each of his vineyards is named after a favorite song and the collection of his lux wines is called the “rock block” series. This wine from the Stag’s Leap District comes from the Dark Side of the Moon block (Pink Floyd) and Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic). It’s a colossal yet elegant cabernet sauvignon with an enticing floral bouquet and a lush blackberry and cassis flavor profile. Maybe for the rock-star dad?
- Tenuta Luce 2015 ($95). It’s impossible stopping at one glass of this hedonistic super-Tuscan blend of sangiovese and merlot. Generous berry and spice aromas mingle nicely with a round ripe dark berry flavor. Full bodied and complex, like that Italian father who thinks all good wines come from Italy.
- Frank Family Vineyards Patriarch Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($225). Yeah, the price is not a typo. But we have to mention it because “patriarch” is fitting and the wine is ridiculously good. Named after Rich Frank’s late father who was on Omaha Beach five days after D-Day, the wine is made entirely from cabernet sauvignon grown in the owner’s hillside estate vineyard in Rutherford. Hy Frank would be proud. So would your speechless dad he if got a bottle.
Sea Smoke “Ten” Pinot Noir 2016 ($82). An iconic wine from the Sta. Rita H ills AVA, this concentrated pinot noir has layers of blueberry and black cherry flavors with hints of lavender on the nose and firm tannins that begs for time in the cellar. For the father who likes his pinots.
- Flora Springs Trilogy Red Wine Napa Valley 2016 ($85). This Bordeaux style red blend is crafted from Flora Springs Estate Vineyards. This elegant blend features notes of cassis, cedar and graphite in a delicious mélange of cabernet sauvignon, petite verdot and malbec. For the impatient father who can’t wait for a wine to age.
- Gamble Family Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($60). The winemaker draws from eight vineyards to come up with this dense and complex wine with earthy flavors and easy tannins. For the father who likes to gamble?
Legacy Chardonnay 2015 ($75). A fulfilled dream of Jess Jackson to make an age-worthy chardonnay from his Stonestreet Estate Winery, this chardonnay is a quixotic blend of power and finesse. Using hand-selected grapes grown on high grounds, it has great structure and generous aromas. If your father likes chardonnay, this would be a treat for him.
- Rombauer Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 ($65). Rombauer chardonnay is the darling of restaurants and many consumers, but the producer’s sturdy and dense cabernet is overlooked. Broad palate of red fruit flavors, supple but generous tannins, full body and hints of cedar and vanilla. This wine can easily age for a decade but is showing well now.
Here is a collection of gift suggestions from J. Lohr that cost a bit less. The trio is cabernet-based with a focus on Paulliac, Pomerol and St. Emilion.
Lohr Cuvee PAU 2015 ($50). True to Pauillac, this blend leans on cabernet sauvignon with some petit verdot, merlot and malbec tossed in. Rich and ripe blackberries and plums with a touch of forest floor and mineral.
- Lohr Cuvee POM 2015 ($50). Pomerol depends more on merlot as the foundation of its wine with just a little malbec and cabernet sauvignon. Plum flavors dominate the palate with hints of dark chocolate.
- Lohr Cuvee St. E 2015 ($50). Cabernet franc makes up 80 percent of this blend with cabernet sauvignon adding the rest. Nice texture and broad expression of ripe plum and blueberry notes with a dash of coffee and firm tannins to give it body.