For Father’s Day, a pairing for every patriarch
BY MICHELLE LOCKE The Associated Press June 12, 2013 3:54PM
Yao Ming Family Wines are on display during the barrel auction event of Auction Napa Valley at Raymond Vineyards in St. Helena, Calif. | AP Photo
Updated: July 15, 2013 6:50PM
Forget the tie. Think bespoke booze for Father’s Day, specifically a beverage tailor-made to suit the hobbies father knows best.
Of course, to do that, you first have to decide who, exactly, is your daddy. The type of guy who likes to putt? Or someone who’s happiest when merely puttering? Is he sporty? Handy? Or maybe he’s that most challenging of giftees, the man who has everything. Whatever the type, we’ve got a few suggestions to help you pick out that perfect bottle.
The sports fan
Lots of choices in this category, including a number of wines by NFL greats such as legendary coach Dick Vermeil (vermeilwines.com) of the Philadelphia Eagles, St. Louis Rams and Kansas City Chiefs; as well as former Oakland Raiders and Green Bay Packers player Charles Woodson (www.twentyfourwines.com). Is dad more of a brew guy? Radeberger Pilsner (www.radebergergruppe.com) is a classic German Pilsner made with barley malt, hops and water from the brewery’s own well.
The grill guru
Port isn’t what comes to mind first when selecting a summer wine, but a chilled tawny port can be delicious as a barbecue aperitif or paired with dishes such as grilled scallops. Two to try are Taylor-Fladgate 20-year-old Tawny and Graham’s 20-year-old Tawny. Does your dad’s typical backyard bash involve inviting the whole block over? Consider Ravenswood Vintners Blend Old Vine Zinfandel, a hearty, meat-friendly wine that’s priced reasonably enough at $10 to $12 a bottle to allow you to grab a case.
The movie maven
For 007 fans, a No. 1 choice might be The Macallan, a single-malt scotch featured as James Bond’s favorite drink in the recent box-office hit “Skyfall.” Interesting fact, Macallan did not pay for product placement of the scotch, which Bond and M are shown drinking and which is also used in an edgy scene featuring an unfortunate game of William Tell-style marksmanship. (www.themacallan.com)
Another option is the Director’s Cut wines from director-turned-vintner Francis Ford Coppola, of “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now” fame. The limited-production wines sourced from Sonoma County come with a wraparound label modeled after a Zoetrope strip, one of the earliest moving picture devices. (www.franciscoppolawinery.com)
Is your dad the kind of guy who disappears into his workshop for hours in search of a better mousetrap? He might like Lucid Absinthe. Popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, especially in France, the anise-flavored spirit was banned due to concerns that it contained dangerously high levels of the chemical compound thujone, found in the key absinthe botanical ingredient Artemisia Absinthium.
But environmental chemist T.A. Breaux wasn’t convinced the experts were right. A Louisiana native, Breaux had some pre-ban bottles of absinthe. He ran it through the mass spectrometer and, hey, presto, found only trace amounts of thujone. In 2007, Lucid, produced in France, was approved for importation to the United States.
Scotland is the home of golf and of Scotch whisky (no telling if those two are related), and a good gift for the dad who golfs might be Johnny Walker Double Black, a smoky, complex whisky. Or try a single-malt whisky like Oban 14-year-old, which balances sweet and smoky with a slightly briny finish.
If dad likes wine, a number of golfers have gotten into the wine business, including South African Ernie Els, who produces wines from his country’s Stellenbosch region (www.ernieelswines.com/); and Arnold Palmer, who collaborates with Luna Vineyards in the Napa Valley. (www.arnoldpalmerwines.com/)
The auto racing aficionado
Turn4 wines (www.turn4.com) are named after the most exciting turn in the track. Try the California cabernet sauvignon, fruity and elegant. The Andretti Winery in the Napa Valley founded by race car legend Mario Andretti is another option. (andrettiwinery.com/)
The guy who has everything
There are a lot of people to look up to in the world of wine, but maybe none so literally as 7-foot-6 former NBA star Yao Ming. Ming’s Yao Family Wines made its debut in 2011 with two choices, Yao Ming 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Yao Ming 2009 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. They’re both priced in the special occasions category, the first coming with a suggested retail price of $150 and the second tagged at $625, and are available at a few fine wine shops by signing up on the winery mailing list. (www.yaofamilywines.com)
In the spirits category, cognac offers elegance and finesse, just the ticket for a dad with sophisticated tastes. Camus cognac fits the Father’s Day theme well since it’s now being run by fifth-generation member Cyril Camus.
The line starts with the reasonably priced VS Elegance at $24; try it over ice for a refreshing change. But if you recently won the lottery or are celebrating a very special Father’s Day, how about the Cuvee 5.150, which marks the family-owned company’s 150th anniversary and rings up at $13,500 a bottle. Or maybe you need a bit more time to save up for that one.