By Rose Murray Brown MW Published in The Scotsman 11 June 2016
Forget socks and ties this year for Father's Day (Sunday 19 June), appeal to your Dad's vinous side:
CHARITABLE APPEAL ***STAR BUY***
My top choice for Father’s Day this year is OUR FATHER’S SHIRAZ 2014 (£25 www.ourfatherswines.co.uk). Created by a fellow Master of Wine Giles Cooke in memory of his father who died of lung cancer. Cooke wanted to give something back, so instead of running a marathon he selected a 125 year old vineyard in Barossa Valley – and made a Shiraz. One of the best Barossa Shiraz I have tasted recently (pictured above): very overt wild berry and violet aromas, lush soft palate with beautifully ripe tannins and a fine long finish – serve with roast beef or venison. Donations go to St Columbas Hospice in Edinburgh who helped his father in his last days, as well as other chosen charities including Cancer Research UK.
If your Dad likes a traditional Rioja with his Sunday roast lamb, LA RIOJA ALTA VINA ARANA RESERVA 2008 (£19.99 Waitrose) is a Reserva in its prime right now with soft spicy richness and a lovely mellow length. Another superb Rioja buy from the same producer with delicious coconut and vanilla aromas, rich velvet smooth palate and a long powerful finish is LA RIOJA ALTA VINA ARDANZA RESERVA 2007 (£19.75/£23.25 Majestic Wine) which scooped the top Rioja award in the recent Wines from Spain Awards.
ROBUST RHONE LOVER
If he is a Rhone ranger who usually drinks Cote du Rhone, Crozes Hermitage or Chateauneuf du Pape, give him a deliciously mature meaty example of Syrah from the northern Rhone: ST JOSEPH ROUGE 2005 Domaine de la Cote Ste Epine (£17.99 Raeburn Wines, Edinburgh). This Syrah is brilliant value for those who like their reds spicy and mellow.
Most Dads love stoking the barbie, so help him along with a great juicy new Malbec on Majestic’s shelves: ZUCCARDI BRAZOS DE LOS ANDES MALBEC 2014 (£7.49 Majestic Wine). Violet, chocolate notes, lush damson fruits with a soft velvety texture and a touch of spice from Syrah in the blend – a good match for grilled beef steak or spicy venison sausages.
Affordable mature claret is often hard to find. For lovers of mellow Cabernet-based Haut Medoc claret, CHATEAU LANESSAN 1998 (£17.99 offer price normal price £19.99 www.laithwaites.co.uk) is still holding up well after 18 years. If your Dad prefers softer lusher Merlot-based St Emilion claret, CHATEAU LARCIS DUCASSE 2004 (£46 Raeburn Wines, Edinburgh) comes from an estate which was revitalized back in 2002 by Bordeaux’ leading consultants Nicolas Thienpont and Stephane Derencourt: a classic mature St Emilion with a minerally linear style and silky soft texture.
If he enjoys drinking Californian Zinfandel or Italian Primitivo, but has an adventurous spirit, give him a wine from its Croatian parent grape, Plavac Mali. DINGAC 2011 Mateo Vicelic (£25 Berry Bros & Rudd www.bbr.com) is a fascinating spicy cherry fruited red with similar raisiny sweetness to Zinfandel, grown in an unusual location: on the high limestone terraces of the Peljesac peninsula on the coast between Dubrovnik and Split: a winner at our recent Balkans tasting.
Is your Dad an Amarone lover? The market is flooded with a great many poor cheap Amarones these days, so make sure you get him a bottle of the ‘real deal’ when it comes to Verona’s ancient dried grape wine. AMARONE CLASSICO DELLA VALPOLICELLA 2011 (£58 Drinkmonger, Edinburgh; Villeneuve Wines, Edinburgh & Peebles; Fine Wine Co, Edinburgh; Luvians, Cupar & St Andrews) has dark chocolate notes, lush intense mouthfeel and bitter sweet soya notes.
A GIFT FOR LIFE
One of the best gifts you can give a wine lover is a subscription to the UK’s best wine mail-order club – The Wine Society. Their wines regular beat off stiff competition in our tastings for this column – from brilliant Spanish bargains at £6.50 to clarets for current drinking (LIFE SUBSCRIPTION is £40 – and it can be bequeathed: www.thewinesociety.com).
If your Dad has expressed an interest in learning more about wine or he has just retired with more time on his hands – give him a voucher to try out a WINE TASTING EVENING, wine and charcuterie tasting or FINE WINE DINNER in Edinburgh, Glasgow or St Andrews (gift vouchers from £35 www.rosemurraybrown.com).
Whenever anyone asks me which wine book to buy, I recommend THE WORLD ATLAS OF WINE (published by Mitchell Beazley) by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson MW. If your Dad enjoys wine and travel, this would make a great gift with its informative potted profiles on each wine region and clear detailed maps to help him navigate the best wineries – this wine bible is now in its 7th edition (£40 www.amazon.co.uk).
PERSONALISED PORT ***STAR BUY***
Does your Dad have a penchant for Port? PENFOLDS FATHER GRAND TAWNY (£19.99 www.laithwaites.co.uk) is a very refined elegant Australian fortified wine – a port-style of wine that the Aussies used to be famous for back in the 1900s. Each individual grape variety (Grenache, Shiraz, Mataro and Cabernet) is aged separately in old cask – the average age of the blend is 10 years plus and on average it contains around 15 different vintages in the blend. A mature nutty tawny which could be served as an unusual aperitif or with mature cheeses.
If your Dad loves playing with new gadgets and you want to encourage him to cut down a bit on his drinking, club together with the rest of your family and buy him the latest gadget in wine preservation – the CORAVIN MODEL TWO ELITE (£279 www.coravin.co.uk; Woodwinters, Edinburgh; Harvey Nichols; Selfridges; Harrods). With this ingenious device he can draw off just a glass of wine from his favourite bottle – and enjoy what he wants, when he wants, without finishing the bottle. Coravin works using inert Argon gas – the device pierces through the cork with a needle and draws up the wine into the glass. Your Dad can then pop the bottle back in his wine rack with cork intact for another week, month or year.
IN THE FIZZ
Want to celebrate with Champagne, buy the best non-vintage on the shelves widely stocked by Scotland’s top independents: CHAMPAGNE CHARLES HEIDSIECK RESERVE BRUT NV (£43 Drinkmonger & Beerhive, Edinburgh; Lockett Bros, North Berwick; Luvians, Cupar & St Andrews; Aitken Wines, Dundee; Valhalla’s Goat, Glasgow; The Wine Society). This is one of the most awarded non-vintage Champagnes – and rightly so. It has a rich biscuity aroma, creamy honeyed palate from its high percentage of mature reserve wines used in the blend.
Join Rose’s Hidden Gems of Spain wine & charcuterie tasting in Edinburgh Friday 14 October £45 www.rosemurraybrown.com