Thinking all men like red wine is like assuming they all like sports.
Keep calm and read on, however. No matter what his personality, we have a wine for Father’s Day, based on his passions. Whip up some dinner (see the irresistible recipe below from Jordan Vineyards) and uncork one of these stunners—suddenly, you’ll become his favorite child.
LIFE OF THE PARTY
Your charismatic dad has lots of friends, so bubbles are a natural. A festive magnum of Moet Champagne Nectar Imperial, France, ($140) will delight. Santa Margherita dry prosecco, Italy, is ultra refreshing and tastes much more expensive than its $30 price tag, or splurge on the Domaine Carneros summer soiree sparkling 3-pack ($123). Just add a bow!
IN THE PINK
The stylish dad knows that pink ties are cool and pink wines are for sipping all summer long. Stemmari, ($10), a dry Italian rosé made with Nero d’Avola grapes, delivers wild strawberry and black cherry flavors with vibrant acidity. Or 2018 Texas High Plains Rosé ($25) from William Chris Vineyards, a prime example of a winemaking style that’s putting Texas wine on the map. A blend of sangiovese, riesling, mourvedre, and pinot meunier, it pairs with oysters, barbecue and other spicy meats, prosciutto, and halibut.
Uncork jammy kissed-with-spice American zinfandel, a great match for sausage, barbecue, duck breasts, spiced grilled chicken and smoky pork chops. A few to try: Seghesio Family Vineyards in Healdsburg, California is the leader in high quality zinfandel with myriad graceful award-winning styles including old vine zins. Comstock, Pedroncelli (easy to find and super affordable!), A. Rafanelli and Dutcher Crossing are other notable wines from Dry Creek Valley—a heralded region for growing zinfandel grapes.
When dad travels, he drinks sauvignon blanc in New Zealand, malbec in Argentina, and Rioja-based wines with tapas in Spain. Pour the real deal: Brancott Sauvignon Blanc 2018 Limited Edition with classic grassy notes and an artsy label; a full-bodied LAN Rioja Crianza ($14), robust Trapiche Broquel malbec 2014 ($10.99) or Casillero del Diablo Reserva Red Blend ($11.99), a mouth-filling syrah-based wine from Chile.
Your dad loves cabs so consider this epic gift: Mount Veeder Winery 2014 Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon magnum ($110), an elegant wine shipped in a hand-painted wooden keepsake box. Another find is the sophisticated 2016 Aperture Cellars Right Bank Red Blend ($55), a seamless marriage of merlot and cabernet franc from Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. All it needs is a sizzling steak!
He’s happy on a southern Cali beach but equally smitten with the wine country. Seamlessly crafted Amici Cellars wines, founded by Houstonian John Harris, will impress. Their Single Vineyard collection includes cabernet sauvignons from four different vineyards, a cabernet franc, Hyde pinot noir, Spring Mountain chardonnay and a mouth-watering sauvignon blanc. Or pour a Napa, Russian River Valley or Sonoma coast wine from the Appellation collection ($25-$50).
Your smart father likes pure food and wines without a lot of additives, sulfites or unnecessary chemicals. Any wine from Il Borro Toscana owned by Salvatore Ferragamo, the famed fashion icon’s grandson, will thrill. Made with grapes grown on its certified organic estate, choose from the IGT sangiovese, Toscana Rossa, Alessandro dal Borro syrah magnum, fabulously crisp La Melle chardonnay, rosé and more ($13-$80, available in handsome gift boxes).
If he can’t go visit famed director Francis Ford Coppola’s winery resort (a northern California attraction) to see the movie gallery and taste the dozens of wines, the next best thing is serving them. Every bottle of award-winning Director’s Cut pays homage to the history of filmmaking. Of the 10 varietals, consider the Technicolor or Cinema, red blends from specific Sonoma County appellations; chardonnay or cabernet franc ($25-$44).
THE CREATIVE TYPE
This guy craves novelty even in wine. William Chris Vineyards, based in Hye, Texas, produces unique choices ($22-42). Mary Ruth is the flagship white, a clean refreshing moscato giallo that pairs with Thai cuisine or pork shoulder, while the Pettilant Naturel is a delightful sparkling rosé and Tatum Cellars roussanne is a voluptuous white. Cinsault Lost Draw is bright and Mourvedre High Plains begs for hearty grilled vegetables or lamb chops.
A leader in award-winning California pinot noir is Benovia Winery with six to choose (the Russian River starting at $45). Talented winemaker Mike Sullivan also makes several styles of chardonnay, as well as a blanc de noir sparkling, Sonoma County zinfandel and Sonoma Mountain grenache. Or invest in one of these Merry Edwards Winery, Russian River Valley gems for Dad: 2016 Meredith Estate pinot noir ($68), 2016 Coopersmith pinot noir ($66), and 2016 Bucher pinot noir ($63).
*Note: all prices are approximate and most wines can be purchased from the winery online or in Texas area Spec’s stores, Total Wine & More and Houston and Austin Wine Merchants.
The Brilliant Pairing
Hanger Steak with Asparagus
(Yield: 6 servings)
6 hanger steaks (about 6 ounces each)
3 tbsp Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound white asparagus, carefully peeled
1 pound green asparagus, carefully peeled
For the vinaigrette
¼ cup Champagne vinegar
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 shallot, minced
¼ cup hazelnut oil
½ cup Jordan Extra Virgin Olive Oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Season hanger steaks and allow them to come to room temperature at least two hours prior to grilling. Preheat the grill to medium high heat.
Bring three quarts of salted water to a boil. Blanch the white asparagus for 6-8 minutes or until a spear is easily pierced. Remove to an ice bath. Blanch the green asparagus for 3-4 minutes, then remove to an ice bath. When all are chilled through and color is set, hold on paper towels until serving.
Pat hanger steaks dry and coat with the olive oil. Grill until an instant-read thermometer reads 125° (3-4 minutes per side). Allow to rest for 3 minutes.
While steak is resting, season asparagus and toss in vinaigrette. Arrange asparagus salad on the plate and finish with the steak sliced across the grain.
Cover photo Miguel Lecuona
Robin Barr Sussman is a freelance culinary and travel writer who studied at the Culinary Institute of America Greystone California. As a chef for Sonoma County wineries, her specialty was food and wine pairing. Sussman work also appears in Houston Modern Luxury Magazine, Prime Living, Houston House & Home, Texas Monthly, Fodor’s and Private Clubs Magazine.