Raise a Glass to Dad

There is a soft spot in my heart for a good daddy. I had one of the very best in my grandfather, am lucky enough to have one in my dear step-father, and get to be married to one of the best. My step-father learned early in our relationship that the best way to parent is to show love first and foremost. Love for my mother, love for me and my sister, love for our family. He has always been a friend, always stayed focused on ensuring we knew how special we are, and always up for whatever crazy thing we threw at him, including requiring him to come up with a performance for Christmas Eve entertainment.

And, in honor of my dad, and all the great dads out there, including my dear, Gary, the proud papa to two beautiful girls, grand-dada to two grand babes, and dad to my baby, Yoda, let’s raise a glass.

My dad isn’t much of a wine guy. He’ll always appease me by giving a glass a little try or two, but it has never been to his taste. In the early years, he was always a rum and coke guy. In recent years his palate has shifted to sipping tequila. The beauty of him enjoying tequila today is that there are hundreds of options easily available, from highly inexpensive to ultra-premium. Consistently delicious is Don Julio Reposado Tequila (around $45 a bottle) crafted from 100% blue weber agave and aged eight months in American oak barrels, giving a slightly spicy, honey, and blanched almond flavor to the spirit, melding with soft floral notes.

Every dad wants to feel like the king of his castle, so go big with an Anejo tequila with Gran Corralejo Anejo Tequila (usually available for around $110.) Not only is the packaging impressive, created as a replica of the 18th Century Spanish Royal Crown, but only 2000 bottles of the spirit are produced annually. Double distilled for smoothness, then aged for 2 years in French oak foudres, giving toasted hazelnut, caramel, toffee, sweet spice, and dried orange peel notes to the tequila. An impressive presentation and a lovely tequila to sip slowly and enjoy.

Gary loves a good tequila as well, usually in a margarita vs. the sipping style. However, a bold, Old World red or hearty Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon will suit his palate any dad. In the southeastern part of France’s Rhone Valley, at the foot of Mount Ventoux, Château Pesquié showcases the spicy, red and black fruit-filled varieties of the Rhone with finesse and elegance. From biodynamic estate vineyards within Ventoux AOC, Château Pesquié Silica ($32) blends predominantly Grenache with a bit of Cinsault grown in sandy soils, with a touch of limestone. The soft, supple palate displays layers of red berries, red cherry, wildflowers, and soft herbs. Nicely expressive aromas with a finessed, delicate palate, making it incredibly easy to enjoy on its own. Or, pair with grilled game birds, like duck or pheasant, roasted chicken, wild mushrooms, or butternut squash risotto.

Napa Valley’s Brandlin Estate lies on the rugged slopes of Mount Veeder, above the valley floor towards the southern end of the valley with cooling influence from the San Pablo Bay with decomposed granite-filled soils, the Brandlin Estate vineyards enjoy a lengthy growing season, which results in highly concentrated, small-berry fruit, which delivers concentrated flavors in the wines. There is a wild, earthiness to the wines of Mt. Veeder, as showcased by Brandlin in their Bordeaux-varietal and Zinfandel wines. Brandlin Henry’s Blend Proprietary Red ($110) honors the fruit grown here with a sense of place and character. Robust and dense, the predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon blend reveals layers of black fruit, including blackberry, black plum, and cherry, with toasted notes of nutmeg and allspice, melding with wildflowers, and espresso.

My grandpa was a scotch man, loving a good single malt, but usually satisfied with a nice blended scotch whiskey. A true Scot, he favored the earthy, peaty style from Islay, always enjoying a three-finger pour over ice at the end of a long day at work. I like the softer style of Speyside, produced without the influence of peat, showcasing more of the nutty notes of the grain-based spirit. As it is a special day, give dad a good single malt, like The MacCallan 12 years or The Balvenie 12 years old. Kirkland Signature, the Costco brand, even makes an impressive 20-year-old Speyside single malt, revealing toasted warm spices, sweet caramel apple, and nutty toffee, usually for about $70 a bottle. A steal compared to comparable 18-year-old single malt options.

Happy Father’s Day. #Cheers!



  1. What a beautiful and ‘well-said’ dedication to, not only, the drink of choice, but also, the men in your life. Great piece, as always.


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