IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Surprise Dad with three wines for Father's Day

Looking for something distinct? Here's what TODAY wine columnist Edward Deitch would like.
/ Source: TODAY

When it comes to Father’s Day and wine, it’s all about me. Of course, when I ran this line by my wife, I could tell even before I finished that she was thinking, why should this day be different from any other? And I’m sure she wasn’t thinking just about wine.

In any event, how to write the Father’s Day wine column without taking the typical “this would make a great gift for Dad” approach? I decided to pull out a number of red wines that I had been meaning to taste, both inexpensive and pricey, and come up with a Father’s Day list of a few that I especially liked.

As usual, I’m going to mention some specific wines, but it’s important to remember that not all wines are available everywhere (though the Internet has made the retail wine world smaller), and if you can’t find a specific wine that I liked, a California syrah, let’s say, don’t hesitate to bring Dad another one recommended by your wine store.

Speaking of syrah, California is awash in it these days; the grape is versatile and the wine goes well with all kinds of meat dishes; the styles range from the massive and tannic and oak laden, to the graceful and elegant. A good example of the later, especially for summer drinking, is the 2004 Syrah “Le Pousseur” from the Bonny Doon Vineyard, with its pretty, dark-berry fruit, soft tannins and instant accessibility. This wine, which I’ve reviewed in a previous vintage, remains a great value at about $16.

If I had to make a choice on one wine and one style that I would want to drink on this day and at this time of year, it would be red Burgundy. We’re talking about pinot noir, the red Burgundy grape (the white is from chardonnay). Now, as you may remember, Burgundies that bear the names of the region’s famous villages — Pommard, Corton, Vosne-Romanee, Vougeot, to name a few — command stratospheric prices.

But wines from vineyards that fall outside these appellations and are simply called Bourgogne, or Burgundy, are often made by well-known producers as second wines and give those of us on a budget the chance to enjoy Burgundian pinot noir.

A superb example is the 2005 Bourgogne from Domaine Gabriel Billard, which I bought at Chambers Street Wines in New York for $17. This is a lovely, expressive wine that captures the beauty of the ’05 vintage with notes raspberry, cherry and blueberry, some spice and crisp acidity. This is a beautifully balanced wine that I would serve cool and, as a dad, would thoroughly enjoy on the patio while grilling and serving chicken, meat or even fish (yes, I will do the grilling, as usual, on Father’s Day). Again, if you have trouble finding this wine, have your wine store recommend another Bourgogne.

Finally, for something more robust and much more expensive (hey, it’s for Dad), I liked the 2003 Reserve Malbec from Chateau St. Jean in California’s Sonoma County. Malbec, which is originally from France, thrives these days in Argentina, where it has become all but the national grape.  Its presence in California is still minor, but it does well there, producing opulent wines like this one that can be considered an interesting alternative to cabernet sauvignon. The wine is mouth-filling but not overbearing, has pleasing notes of raspberry and cherry, subtle chocolate and a hint of orange on the long finish. At $60, this one really is a gift wine.

Edward Deitch's wine column appears Wednesdays. He is the recipient of the 2007 James Beard Foundation Journalism Award for Best Multimedia Writing.  He welcomes comments from readers. Write to him at