It’s Father’s Day on Sunday and if you’re scrambling to buy a present for the father in your life, you may want to consider a bottle of wine.
Sure, many fathers might prefer a bottle of aged rum or whisky, but maybe you’d rather see your dad warmed with wine rather than liquored up on spirits. If you go with wine, however, you need to get the right one, as giving the dad in your life a bottle of pale rosé wine for Father’s Day just might get you divorced or disinherited, or at least some stern, disapproving looks.
Since it’s either dad or the father of your children we’re talking about, you can’t cheap out on a bottle of wine, especially if you’re only getting one. He has to be worth at least a $50 bottle of wine and we’re going look at three different levels: $50 to $74 for those on a budget; $75 to $124 for those with deeper pockets; and $125 and above for those who believe dad deserves the best.
Go big for the tough-guy dad
When wines are referred to as “big” it means they are full flavored, have high alcohol content, are very tannic, or possess a combination of those factors. These are the kinds of wines a tough-guy father would like, not some fruity “New World” Pinot Noir.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec Zinfandel and Barolo are all good choices of big red wines and they come at a variety of prices.
Good: Bodegas Ramón Bilbao “Mirto” 2006
Produced by a winery known for delivering quality wines at good value, Mirto is Bodegas Ramón Bilbao’s flagship wine. Made from 100 percent Tempranillo coming from old vines, this is lush, explosively flavored wine made in a modern Rioja style. A very good wine at a very good price.
Price: $53.99 at Premier Wines & Spirits
Better: William Selyem Zinfandel “Papera Vineyard” 2014
Zinfandel isn’t necessarily known for producing high-end wines because most are fruity, easy-drinking crowd-pleasers. That doesn’t mean, however, that Zin can’t be very good or great. Zinfandels over $100 in price are rare, but William Selyem’s “Papera Vineyard” is a rare wine in every sense – complex flavors with good acidity and much more tannic structure than is usually found in the varietal.
Price: $115.99 at Premier Wine & Spirits
Best: Antinori Solaia 2006
The famed Italian wine producer’s flagship wine is a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc. This powerful, opulent wine that is like liquid velvet in the mouth puts the “super” in the term “super Tuscan.” Remarkably, it is less expensive here in Cayman than it is in most places in the United States, and dad is worth every penny.
Price: $175.99 at Jacques Scott
Elegant reds for the sophisticated father
If the father in your life is more refined and appreciates some subtleness and finesse to go with power in his red wines, there are plenty of choices to be found in Cayman.
Tannin-heavy wines like Cabernet Sauvignon and Barolo, while fairly feisty when young, take on more elegance as they age. Good red Burgundies can be some of the most elegant wines in the world, and French Bordeaux and Côtes du Rhône blends like Châteauneuf-du-Pape are famous for their power and grace.
Good: Beni di Batasiolo Barolo “Vigneto Cerequio” 2005
Made from the very tannic Nebbiolo grape, Barolo is a wine that when young is more powerful than anything else. However, as Barolo ages and its tannins become less harsh, it gains an elegance unmatched by other Italian grape varietals. Batasiolo’s 2005 “Vigneto Cerequio” Barolo not only has more than a decade of age, but also a single-vineyard pedigree to give it elegance to go with its power, all for a good-value-for-quality price.
Price: $64.59 at BlackBeard’s
Better: Domaine Louis Jadot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru 2010
The Côte de Nuits produces what are generally considered to be the best red wines in Burgundy, and it is also generally considered that Burgundy produces the best Pinot Noirs in the world. Add a Grand Cru designation to a Burgundian wine from Côte de Nuits and you have the best of the best of the best. The Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru vineyard is known for producing some of Burgundy’s most powerful Pinot Noir wines that all show grace and elegance. Some of the most expensive red wines in the world are Grand Crus from the Côte de Nuits, but Domaine Louis Jadot is known for offering good value for the high quality it offers.
Price: $132.99 at BlackBeard’s
Best: Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 2010
Stag’s Leap is one of the most iconic wineries in Napa Valley, partially because its 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon was rated the top red wine in the historic 1976 Judgment of Paris tasting, which brought the winery and Napa Valley wines international recognition. Cask 23, the winery’s flagship wine, is complex and powerful, but with elegant tannic structure and texture. For those who enjoy Napa Cabs, this one is a treat.
Price: $198.99 at BlackBeard’s
A walk on the white side
It’s a fact: Not every father out there likes red wine in his glass, even with steak. However, just because he might not like red wines doesn’t mean he doesn’t like all wines – there are some great white wines out there as well, and local stores stock a good number of them. White Burgundy is one that comes to mind immediately. Champagne, and especially vintage Champagne, is another.
Good: Lanson Black Label Brut Champagne NV
It’s always nice to receive a bottle of Champagne as a gift. Champagne is not only the perfect celebration wine, it is a great choice just about any time because of its moderate alcohol content, ability to pair well with many foods, and the sense of fun it brings to drinking. Lanson is one of the oldest Champagne houses and the ninth largest producer of the world-famous sparking wine. Its Black Label Champagne, with its light, fresh and creamy style, is perfect at the table with seafood and other light foods, or for drinking as an aperitif.
Price: $53 at Tortuga Fine Wines & Spirits
Better: Domaine Roger Belland Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Les Champs-Gains 2011
When it comes to still white wine, it really doesn’t get much better than Burgundy, where Chardonnay gets its most exquisite expression. Burgundy wines are named for the village from which the grapes are grown and Puligny-Montrachet is recognized as one of the best places to grow Chardonnay grapes. Many white wines from the village are very expensive, but this Premier Cru from Domaine Roger Belland is moderately priced and still elegant and complex.
Price: $77.99 from Premier Wines & Spirits
Best: Bollinger La Grande Année Brut Champagne 2004
Bollinger’s prestige vintage Champagne is a blend of 66 percent Pinot Noir and 34 percent Chardonnay, eschewing the addition of Pinot Meunier as it does for its Special Cuvée to maintain freshness as it ages. This is a full-bodied, rich and elegant wine that any father who likes Champagne would be happy to receive. If it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s probably good enough for dad.
Price: $125.99 at Jacques Scott
For the sweet dad
If the father you’re buying for has a sweet tooth, there are a number of different dessert wines you can purchase on the island. Many dessert wines are sold in half bottles, so it might be better to buy it as a second bottle, not as the only bottle.
Good: Inniskillin Vidal Icewine
Icewine put Canada on the world’s wine map and Inniskillin was one of the first major producers of icewine in Canada. Icewine grapes are left on the vine to freeze in the winter and are only harvested once a sustained temperature of minus-8 degrees Celsius is reached, making production a risky proposition. Because of the way it is made and the natural acidity of grapes grown in northern climates like Canada, icewine is unique in that it is very sweet, but it also has a tart acidic finish.
Price: $70 for 375ml bottle at Tortuga Fine Wines & Spirits; Sparkling version: $78.15
Better: Kracher Muskat Ottonel Trockenbeerenauslese #9
Situated near a lake that creates evening fog in eastern Austria, the Kracher Winery is located perfectly for the creation of Botrytis cinerea – or noble rot – the moisture-draining mold that allows grapes to concentrate their flavors and sweetness into a viscous juice that makes truly special wines. Recognized as one of the world’s best dessert-wine makers, Kracher’s limited-production wines can be hard to find in most places, but are available in Cayman. The Muskat Ottonel Trockenbeerenauslese #9 offers an exotic mix of fruit and spice flavors with a mineral finish and could become dessert all on its own.
Price: $110.99 for 375ml bottle at Jacques Scott Wines & Spirits
Best: Quinta do Noval 2007 Vintage Port
Port, the fortified red wine from Portugal, is one of the most popular dessert and after-dinner wines. Vintage Port, especially from a top producer like Quinta do Noval, is a welcome gift for any father. Unlike many other dessert wines, Port also comes in formats larger than 375ml, and it doesn’t have to be consumed all in one sitting, although it’s best to consume it in less than five days.
Price: $155.99 at Jacques Scott
Check local retailers for these and other fine wines.