15 Wine Picks for Father’s Day
From a “manly” Pinot Noir named after a winemaker’s husband to a pizza-friendly Barbera that won’t break the bank, these are perfect Father’s Day gifts. Wine Enthusiast asked five sommeliers to recommend wines at three levels: for those ready to splurge (over $100), spend ($50–100) or save (under $50).
“If Dad loves Champagne, then reward him with Krug’s multivintage Grande Cuvée,” says Annie Turso, wine director at Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in New York City. “Retailing at around $180, this Champagne is comprised of over 100 wines collected from the last decade. Powerfully complex, but with elegance and precision, it is the Champagne to mark the most important occasions.” And what could be more important than Father’s Day?
“With peach, apricot, cinnamon and lime, Pol Roger’s 2000 Sir Winston Churchill Champagne [about $200] is an all-star,” says David Lombardo, wine and beverage director of New York City restaurants Landmarc, Ditch Plains and Kingside. “Appealing to the history lover in all fathers, the friendship between this Champagne and Sir Winston Churchill dates back to 1928.”
“A friend once told me that when buying good wine, always get at least two bottles, the first to drink and the second one to save,” says Israel Pérez, the maître d’hôtel and sommelier at Victoria & Albert’s at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. If you’re really looking to impress Dad, spring for two bottles of Taittinger’s 2005 Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut (around $160 each). Pop the cork on one this Father’s Day, and hold the other bottle to mark another special occasion with Dad. It’s a move your father won’t soon forget, says Pérez, and “the latest release of this Blanc de Blancs promises to be memorable as well.”
Mike Khorosh, operations manager at NYY Steak in New York City, recommends Behrens and Hitchcock’s 2010 The Heavyweight Red from Napa Valley. The $150 wine is a delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (82%), Cabernet Franc (9%) and Petit Verdot (9%). “This wine floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee,” says Khorosh. “With only 256 cases produced, fragrant violets, crushed flowers, blackberries, figs, currants and velvety tannins make this a rare summery red to enjoy on a special occasion like Father’s Day.”
If your dad was the boss in your house, spring for Prunotto’s 2008 Barolo from Piedmont for $132. “It’s known as the ‘king of wines,’ ” says Alex Boll, food and beverage manager of Redeye Grill in New York City. “Barolo emerges from the glass with juicy dark berries, sweet spices, tobacco and incense, all in a medium-bodied style that’s quite appealing.”
“At around $60 retail, Merry Edwards’s 2011 Coopersmith Pinot Noir is close to a splurge, but is as complex as Californian Pinot Noir gets,” says Turso. “Named after Merry’s husband, Ken Coopersmith, it has his generous character and sturdy structure. A man’s Pinot Noir, if ever there was one.”
“Josh Bergström, a father of two, creates arguably the finest Pinot Noir in Oregon,” says Lombardo, recommending Bergström Vineyards’s 2012 Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley (retailing for around $80) for its hints of smoked meat, black pepper and mint. “This wine will add excitement to any outdoor party this year,” says Lombardo.
“I have always believed that a good Pinot Noir is the perfect choice to enjoy during a big family gathering, or just a quiet night out,” says Pérez. “The Copain 2009 Kiser En Haut ($85) from Anderson Valley is full of character and is driven equally by fruit and minerality. The complexity of this single vineyard makes the wine simply perfect.”
Demonstrate your good taste in wine—at a responsible price—with a bottle of A. Rafanelli’s 2011 Zinfandel from Sonoma (for around $50). “This is a classically styled, well-balanced Zinfandel that has excellent structure and good acidity,” says Boll. “Unique among most Zinfandels, this is a wine that is built to age,” kind of like Dad.
For a wine with a great backstory to tell Dad, opt for this about $36 Zinfandel from Robert Biale, the 2011 Black Chicken from Napa Valley. “Chicken farmer Aldo Biale began selling his wine under the code name ‘black chicken’ to avoid revealing his secret operation, giving this winery speakeasy cred,” says Khorosh. “Plump and juicy in texture, with concentrated blackberry, bright raspberries and clove on the palate, it pairs well with steak au poivre.”
“Winemakers Jo and Jocelyn Landron carry on the family’s Old World-style winemaking tradition at the Domaines Landron estates, founded by Joseph’s father and grandfather, Pierre and Julien Landron,” says Khorosh. “Their Domaine de la Louvetrie 2011 Muscadet from the Loire Valley is a biodynamic wine, with soft fruit flavors and light aromatics that make it approachable for anyone.” Did we mention it costs about $20 price tag, too?
“The label always reminds me of my grandfather who wore a fedora, long before it became a hipster fashion statement,” says Lombardo of the Marziano Abbona’s 2012 Papà Celso Dogliani di Dolcetto, which usually costs under $25. “With hints of black fruit, clove and anise, this wine is a shining example of Dolcetto. The vineyard is named after Marziano Abbona’s father and was first bottled in 1975.”
“Retailing around $38, Pio Cesare’s 2010 Fides Single-Vineyard Barbera gives all the character of a classic Piedmontese red without breaking the bank,” says Turso. “It’s great with a charcuterie plate and pizza.”
Peter Zemmer’s 2012 Pinot Grigio from Alto Adige is a steal for under $15 a bottle—and it’s the perfect wine to quaff on a warm summer day. “The aroma and excellent acidity make this wine rich with tones of ripe fruit, like pear and melon, and spices,” says Boll.
“You do not have to spend a fortune to find a great wine,” says Pérez. “The Highflyer 2009 Centerline Red from Napa Valley retails for about $20, and has an interesting blend of Syrah, Grenache and Zinfandel. Be prepared to have at least two glasses, since there’s nothing simple about the wine.”
- 2Splurge: Krug NV Grande Cuvée
- 3Splurge: Pol Roger 2000 Sir Winston Churchill Champagne
- 4Splurge: Taittinger 2005 Comte de Champagne Blanc de Blancs
- 5Splurge: Behrens and Hitchcock 2010 Heavyweight Red (Napa Valley)
- 6Splurge: Prunotto 2008 Barolo (Piedmont)
- 7Spend: Merry Edwards 2011 Coopersmith Pinot Noir
- 8Spend: Bergström Vineyards 2012 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)
- 9Spend: Copain 2009 Kiser En Haut (Anderson Valley)
- 10Spend: A. Rafanelli 2011 Zinfandel (Sonoma)
- 11Save: Robert Biale Vineyards 2011 Black Chicken (Napa Valley)
- 12Save: Domaine Landron 2011 Domaine de la Louvetrie Muscadet (Loire Valley)
- 13Save: Marziano Abbona 2012 Papà Celso Dogliani di Dolcetto
- 14Save: Pio Cesare 2010 Fides Single-Vineyard Barbera
- 15Save: Peter Zemmer 2012 Pinot Grigio (Alto Adige)
- 16Save: Highflyer 2009 Centerline Red (Napa Valley)