June 12, 2014 at 11:36 AM ET
For years, many in the wine industry looked at Father’s Day as an opportunity to pitch big, brawny reds – hair-on-the-chest wines that were perceived to be what Dad craved with that charred chunk of flesh coming off the grill.
Well, I am here to dispel that notion, both as veteran dad and wine trendspotter. These days, I would just as easily drink an interesting white, an outstanding rosé or a leaner, less-alcoholic red as I would a steroidal cabernet, and I believe I am hardly alone.
So that’s exactly what I’m suggesting you consider this Father’s Day. We’ll start with one of the most delightful white wines I’ve tasted this spring: Masi’s 2012 Masianco from Italy’s northeast Veneto region is an unusual twist on Italy’s most popular white grape and is the perfect white to serve Dad before dinner (or with his favorite fish).
It’s a blend of 75 percent pinot grigio and 25 percent verduzzo, a local variety that is relatively high in tannin (for a white grape) and gives the wine more texture and added complexity. With notes of pear, banana, lemon, herbs and a bit of cream on the lingering finish, it’s a top value at about $13.
Dry rosés have surged in popularity in the recent years, and for good reason. Made from red grapes, they are a refreshing bridge between red and white wines and can be served with all kinds of foods, from fish to grilled meats. I’ve been tasting a lot of them, and one of the best of the season, just being released now, is Domaine la Colombette’s2013 Notorious Pink from the south of France.
The catchy name will undoubtedly appeal to some, including dads who might be more inclined to like something pink if it’s, well, notorious. The fact is that the wine is darn good. Made from 100 percent grenache and with alcohol at a lean 11.5 percent, it’s a red-berry delight with touches of orange, rhubarb and flowers, all of it persisting in the long finish. Well worth the suggested $20 price.
California has become a factory for inexpensive pinot noir, most of it, unfortunately, dull and cloyingly sweet. One that isn’t is Edna Valley’s 2012 Central Coast Pinot Noir, which breaks out of the pack with an unusual stony minerality that balances the generous fruit. There is just enough tannic grip to provide a framework for the spicy cherry and pomegranate notes. Add in some earth, spice and floral touches and you’ve got a $20 California pinot that rises to the occasion.