All you dads out there can thank me later. OK, mom, kids, gather around, I have an announcement to make: Dads don’t want a wine bottle resealer or a mixed case of “beers from around the world” for Father’s Day.
We appreciate the sentiment, but have some other wine and spirit gift-giving ideas in mind.
That’s right, we’ll pass on the kitsch this Father’s Day and hope that you see this in time to get us something we really want from the wine cellar. Not sure if I can stomach another stale Peroni or Carta Blanca this year.
I know The Mrs. and the kids are trying to be thoughtful, but we’ll make it easy for them this year, and hopefully for a few other families around town.
• If dad is a martini drinker, maybe seek out a couple of bottles of gin or vodka (depending on his preference) that he’s never heard of. Something high-end. A personal favorite that you’ll always find in our freezer is The Jewel of Russia Classic, arguably the best vodka in the world, created more than 300 years ago for Peter the Great of Russia. This supremely smooth vodka is ideal on its own in a martini but also works well with a splash of orange or cranberry juice. Available at AJ’s Fine Foods. $40 for a 1-liter bottle.
• Or, mix it up even further and switch countries on pop. If he likes to drink Canadian whiskey or scotch, buy him a bottle of one of those haute boutique bourbons from Kentucky. They’re a whiskey with far more character and flavor. The heavy use of corn and chard oak creates a wonderful sipping experience. Since it’s horse-racing season, go for a classic: Labrot & Graham’s Woodford Reserve. It’s the “official” spirit of the Kentucky Derby and Breeder’s Cup thoroughbred races, and he can pretend he’s trackside with a mint julep. Widely available. $29.
• And if you insist on buying dad a wine accessory, a decanter is a good option. He doesn’t need an overly technical bottle opener or vacuum resealer, but a decanter will heighten his wine drinking experience every time. We’re not talking those crystal display containers for spirits; a wine decanter aerates big or older wines and allows you to remove sentiment if it’s present. Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel have good wine decanters starting around $30. Williams- Sonoma carries higher-quality Riedel products, but they are far more expensive.
• And what do you need with a decanter? Some big “man” wines, of course. He’ll need it for those 15 percent alcohol red zinfandels, tightly wound cabernet sauvignons and plump shiraz. You don’t necessarily have to splurge either, though a $30-plus Ridge zin is always appreciated. No, you can go for themed “man” wines like Cline’s Red Truck or hedonistic Earthquake Cab from central California for about $10, with the promise of preparing dad an equally hearty dinner. Throw in a vintage port, and dad will be one happy man.
• For a finishing touch, add a wine or cocktail reference book. Karen MacNeil’s “The Wine Bible” or the “Larousse Encyclopedia of Wine” are two of the definitive reference manuals out there. Dad can explore his favorite varieties or regions, how wine is made and in general expand his base of wine knowledge. These books cost $20 and $40, respectively, and are widely available.
Pool a few of these items together and create a terrific wine and spirits gift basket. He might even share a sip.