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Forget the Tie, Give Dad Wine for Father's Day

Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

With Father's Day quickly approaching, many of you are probably focused on ties – the proverbial gift for the dad in the family. But, really, does the guy really need another tie? Can't you think of something more original.

Look, the family dude would rather spend the day on the golf course or fishing on his boat, so there are oodles of gifts involving those two activities. But, if you're stumped, how about a great bottle of wine he wouldn't buy for himself?

We men are stubborn about opening the pocketbook for wine, but if someone else wants to do that, we'll drink it. We might even share it. A good tie can cost $80; a good wine can cost much less. Open wallet, buy him an expensive bottle of wine and shower him with love.

Michael Mondavi Family Estate Animo Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($85). Drawing grapes from the esteemed Atlas Peak, this complex wine shows off copious blackberry and chocolate aromas with full-throttle blackbery and cassis flavors, dusty tannins and a bit of mineral.

  • Duckhorn Napa Valley The Discussion Red Wine 2013 ($135). Cabernet sauvignon and merlot make up most of this very complex but approachable delight with a bit of cabernet franc and petit verdot thrown in for dimension. Supple tannins provide a soft landing on the palate but underneath that are layered and rich flavors of dark berries, cassis and a hint of vanilla.

  • Cliff Lede Scarlet Love Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($110). Does the man of the house love rock music and wine? So does Cliff Lede who likes to name his wines and vineyards after some of his favorite performers. Scarlot Love is made from his Scarlet Begonia's block (Grateful Dead) and his Sunshine of Your Love block (Cream) -- both in the prized Stag's Leap District. The intense aromas remind us of a chocolate-covered cherry and with a bit of licorice to boot. The flavor profile is dense with layered cherry, cassis and black berry. A bit of merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot goes into this complex blend.

  • Gaja Pieve Santa Restituta 2012 ($75). Is there some – or lots – of Italian in the father of the family? This year Gaja blended three crus into one estate wine and changed his barrel assortment. And 2012 was a great vintage – warmer and drier – that produced richer wines. This gem is massive yet elegant. Extracted, rich and hedonistic, it struts a floral bouquet and black cherry, cassis, and plum fruit flavors with hints of licorice and vanilla. It is one of the best and most complex brunellos we've tasted in a long time.

  • Duckhorn Vineyards Atlas Peak Merlot 2014 ($75). The mountain-grown grapes in this wine produce a heady profile with generous aromas of cherry cola and sage. The velvet texture is deceiving: it's a big wine but ready for drinking now alongside a big steak.

  • Rodney Strong Symmetry Red Meritage 2013 ($55). Very broad on the palate, this Alexander Valley wine reveals a profile that includes cassis, blackberries, dark chocolate and plums. Very rich texture and long in the finish.

  • Clos du Val Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($52). Coffee aromas jump from the glass of this well-tuned cabernet. Plum and chocolate flavors make for a delicious quaff.

  • Bootleg Red Blend 2013 ($38). We love the masculine label of his ecletic blend of seven red grapes. Perfect impression! Opulent with ripe blackberry and plum flavors.

  • Viansa Sonoma Chardonnay Signature Series 2013 ($45). Medium-bodied, this is a chardonnay to serve at the dinner table with creamy, rich sauces. Soft mouthfeel with stone-pit fruit flavors and apple notes.

  • Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($58). Red currant, blackberry and cocoa aromas open the door to a layered, fruit forward wine with raspberry flavors and a dash of mint. Balanced acidity.

  • St. Supery Napa Valley Estate Elu 2013 ($75). This blend of Bordeaux grape varieties has body and concentration. Anise aroma – classic of Napa Valley – leads off a fragrant wine and is followed by rich blackberry and cassis flavors with hints of expresso.

  • Clos Pegase Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 ($50). The blended grapes in this voluptuous wine have more than a supporting role. Petit verdot, cabernet franc, merlot, syrah and Malbec give the 75 percent cabernet sauvignon a burst of flavor, aromas and body. Flavors widely range from black cherries to plums with hints of cedar, licorice and sage. Dense and forward.


  • Argento Reserva Cabernet Franc 2014 ($18). We liked this unique, full-bodied cabernet franc from Argentina. Aromatic with herry and raspberry notes and sweet tannins.

  • Castello di Gabbiano Dark Knight Red Blend 2015 ($17). Just introduced this year, this Tuscan blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot and sangiovese follows the Gabbiano principal of overdelivering quality for the price. It has a full-body structure with generous ripe berry and spice aromas, followed by red berry flavors and a hint of mocha.

  • Chateau Cambon La Pelouse 2012 ($18). You don't have to spend an arm and a leg on bordeaux. Maybe it's not as complicated as you expect, but this Haut Medoc blend of merlot (48 percent), cabernet sauvignon and petit verdot has generous black cherry and dark berry flavors and fine tannins.

  • Chateau La Cardonne Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2012 ($25). A blend of 50 percent merlot, 45 percent cabernet sauvignon and 5 percent cabernet franc, this is a delightful red bordeaux from the owners of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. Berry and cassis nose and flavors with a hint of leather. Very drinkable now but should evolve well over the next 3-5 years.

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