Father's Day celebrations never quite measure up to Mother's Day but I'm thinking most men are OK with that. In fact, in a Time Magazine survey of dads, most were likely to say things like they didn't want anything —their kids shouldn't be spending money on them, the things they really want are intangibles or too specific, or too expensive to expect as gifts. They went on to say Mother's Day means more to their spouses than Father's Day does to them, and that's just fine.
Ah, but did anyone ask about wine?
It may be rosé weather, or brosé as they say in some circles, but I'm guessing a good bottle of cabernet sauvignon will settle the day, and more than likely it will be opened and consumed at dinner with dad. Cabernet sauvignon is responsible for some of biggest, manliest wines on the planet and from what I can see, it's a wine that attracts men in a way streetlights attract moths.
Cabernet sauvignon gained its fame in the Bordeaux region of France (even if the grape never appears on the label), primarily in and about the Médoc and, more specifically, on the left bank in the communes of St. Estephe, St. Julien and Pauillac. Think Latour, Mouton, Lafite, Les Cases, Montrose and many more. The problem is few can afford the great wines of Bordeaux these days, that left the door open to the rest of the wine world to take up the challenge of growing finer, affordable cabernet. Take up the challenge they did.
If Bordeaux set the historical standard for the cabernet sauvignon grape, the rest of the world has taken quick advantage of the grape's ability to adapt to new sites and climates. It used to be you had to wait forever for cabernets to "soften up" in the bottle (translation: the tannins were dry, blocky and chewy), but modern winemaking has done much to contour the texture of tannins so words like round, soft, fine-grained, dusty are better descriptors of late.
The lighter, more modern styles, such as those from Chile and Australia, place more emphasis on fruit flavours and the aforementioned soft tannins. This makes them eminently more drinkable at a young age than traditional Bordeaux or even some of the more serious examples from California and Australia. The best strive to combine finesse and power with ripe tannins and fruit, making them attractive in their youth, though they still have excellent potential to age.
In honour of Father's Day, I have scanned the BC Liquor Stores for some gift ideas running from a very reasonable $13, up to sky-high price tags.
Truth be told, I think dad would be happy with a glass of any these if he could share it with you.
Chile can offer a range of cabernet sauvignon with mild tannins, and I love the Anderra Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.79), made by the Mouton Rothschild Group, for its precise flavours and perfect balance. A rare combination for the price.
The folks at Paul Mas are the masters of quality for the price, which is why you should check out Arrogant Frog Cabernet (13.49) from the Pays d'Oc region of southern France. If grilled meats and a crowd are expected, this is a winner.
If organic fruit is important to your dad, Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon ($15.99) from Chile has a lovely soft, round, demeanour and spicy black fruits all at a great price.
Moving to the Clare Valley in South Australia, we suggest the Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($17.99), a medicinal cherry, anise and dry herb-streaked red with enough youthful tannins to take lamb kabobs.
Passing through the $20 mark, the Concha y Toro Marques de Casa Concha Cabernet Sauvignon ($22.49) remains a constant with its inviting mix of fresh bay leaf with smoke, cassis, coffee and black fruit flavours that finishes long and smooth. Steak, anyone?
The Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon ($31.99) from Napa Valley brings together three iconic wine names: Napa, the founding Martini family, and the current owners — the Gallo family. This cabernet sports the richness and the ripeness of Napa Valley with just the right amount of restraint and style. It is delicious.
The wine that put Napa Valley on the map is the Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon ($34.99), a classic example of the modern Napa style. The style is rich but restrained, dry but with adequate fruit. It's Napa but with style and substance, and no sugar. True complexity in the glass.
Finally, if you have the money, part-time Vancouverite Ray Signorello is doing an exemplary job of making cabernet in Napa Valley and the bottle to look for is the Signorello Cabernet Sauvignon ($143.99). According to Signorello, "less rocky sites" go into the Napa label, leading to a softer structure that dad can drink now.
Wine or no wine, get out there and spend the day with dad — he will like that the most.
Anthony Gismondi is a globetrotting wine writer who makes his home in West Vancouver, British Columbia. For more of his thoughts on wine log onto www.gismondionwine.com.