Looking for a special wine for your Father’s Day gift? Here are three from different wine regions that will evoke a lasting smile and a heartfelt thank you.
If your Dad is a California aficionado, give him the 2006 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 55% Slope.
In 1991, Lynn Hofacket and Casidy Ward purchased a former private hunting club in Sonoma County’s Mayacamas mountains with the idea of renovating and reselling it as a country home. But the property was so remote it could only be reached by heavy-duty four-wheel drive vehicles, helicopter, or by foot. Even today, there is no cell phone reception.
After realizing that grapes were the only thing that could make the investment worthwhile, the couple started a six-year project to clear a portion of the wooded property for a 60-acre vineyard. The 55% Slope cabernet sauvignon is named for the vineyard’s angle, which is as steep as a black diamond-rated ski run.
The wine has California’s richness, but without the exaggerated oak aromas and extra-ripe raisiny fruit flavors of many California cabernet sauvignons.
It has an attractive mix of black fruit, black tea and mild chocolate aromas with tasty blackberry, plum and sage flavors. The tannins and fruit are integrated and the 14.9 percent alcohol stays in the background. This wine is unfiltered and unfined which means it should gain extra complexity as it ages.
The 2006 Hidden Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 55% Slope retails for approximately $45.
Banfi is a name known to most Italian wine consumers. While it makes and markets many wines, its flagship is the beautiful Castello Banfi in Montalcino.
Brunello is the local name for the sangiovese grape in Montalcino, and differs from sangiovese grown in other parts of Tuscany and Italy. For years, Banfi has been studying the various clones of sangiovese and selected 15 to be planted in specific soils and micro-climates on its Montalcino property.
In April, I tasted Banfi’s excellent 2006 Brunello di Montalcino. It is from an outstanding vintage and made with 100 percent sangiovese grapes from Banfi’s estate. The wine has a very elegant scent of black tea, mild oak and black fruit. The ripe blackberry and black cherry flavors glide across the palate as the integrated tannins provide a round, smooth texture. Banfi’s wise use of equal parts French oak barrels and traditional Slavonian oak casks avoids the over-oaky aromas and flavors that dominate some Brunello di Montalcino wines.
Your father can enjoy the Banfi 2006 Brunello di Montalcino with an hour or two of decanting, and extra bottles can be cellared for at least a decade, gaining wonderful complexity.
The Banfi 2006 Brunello di Montalcino retails for approximately $65.
For fathers who collect wines, there is Chateau Palmer, one of Bordeaux’s great chateaux. Situated on ideal soil in the village of Margaux, Chateau Palmer’s history is centuries old, and its wines from great vintages can age gracefully for 50 to 100 years.
I’ve been a collector of Chateau Palmer since the 1970s and recently had a joyous night with a group of collectors and Bernard de Laage, director of Chateau Palmer; we each brought a bottle ranging from 1982 to 1995. Every vintage was delicious and still young.
Our market gives you two options: very flavorful and drinkable wines which have another decade or two of aging potential such as the 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2006; or a great vintage such as 2000 and 2005 that should be cellared at least until 2015 and will lived for a half-century or more.
Bordeaux chateaux have an ancient system of selling the wines to brokers in the city of Bordeaux, who sell it to many distributors, importers and retailers.
This system makes it difficult to track down specific vintages, but here are a few paths to Chateau Palmer: Allied Beverage Group lists the 2006, and BNP Distributing, based in New York City but distributes in New Jersey, lists the 2001. Check the websites of wine-oriented retailers.
Expect to pay approximately $250 to $325 for the 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2006; and about $375 for the 2005 and $450 for the 2000. Your father and Chateau Palmer are worth it.
Happy Father’s Day.