Some of wine’s best share their most treasured memories with dad in a tribute to fathers everywhere
The connection between wine and family is undeniable. From wineries with rich, multi-generational histories to the important role wine has played at the family dinner table since the beginning of wine itself, there is no mistaking the inseparable relationship between the ties – and wines – that bind.
Since Father’s Day is just around the corner, we’re of course thinking of the unique place our dads have in our hearts. From the ones who swear they don’t like white wine, to the ones who had us smelling and tasting far before we could even reach the bar, to those who never hesitate to open up a bottle of something special just because you’re home, it’s a time to toast the fathers and father-figures who have – like a memorable wine – left an indelible mark on our lives.
While wine of course always makes a great gift for pops, we’ve taken a round-up of our favorite wines for Father’s Day gifting and sipping a step further, asking some of the extraordinary people behind these wines to share their favorite memories of their own dads – or kids – whether in wine or in life. Pour a glass, grab a tissue (you know, just in case), and read on to uncover stories that show how wine is so much more than a beverage, but a powerful vessel for memories, traditions, and shared experiences.
DAOU Soul of a Lion Cabernet Sauvignon
Brothers and co-proprietors Georges and Daniel Daou release the 10th-anniversary vintage of their flagship Cabernet Sauvignon, named in tribute to their father: 2020 Soul of a Lion. Since its debut in 2010, Soul of a Lion has received critical acclaim from wine critics and enthusiasts alike to establish DAOU Mountain in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles as one of the world’s leading estates for Cabernet Sauvignon. With its deep ruby color and complex aromas of blackberry, cassis, and graphite, Soul of a Lion delivers a rich and balanced palate of dark fruit, velvety tannins, and a long, satisfying finish.
“One of my favorite memories of my Father was when he would walk into our apartment in Paris with French pastries from the local shop and a bottle of wine,” says George. “One time he came in with two cases. He was so excited to have found a very special price on one of his most coveted wines – Chateau Cheval Blanc.
“When he would open that wine with such reverence and pour us a sip, it was like he said to us, ‘Step into my heart and my soul. I am sharing something that is very special to me.’ From these memories comes a profound sense of deeper connection through the lens of wine. These feelings never left my brother Daniel’s heart, even more than mine. And this made us want to give my father the same experience, if not better, with wine.”
Charles Krug Family Reserve Generations Red Blend
Generations is a Bordeaux-style blend created to honor our family’s past, present and future. The fruit is night-picked from our estate vineyards and aged in new French oak barrels. Aromas of berries and pomegranate dominate with notes of tobacco, bay leaf and dark chocolate. This wine is full-bodied with a firm, somewhat buttery texture; it entices with flavors of mixed berries, vanilla, and toasty oak.
“My favorite wine memory with my father, Marc Mondavi, was going out into the vineyards, tasting the fruit, smelling and tasting the soil, understanding how the soil and life around it could bring about life to the grapevines,” says winemaker Angelina Mondavi. “Then following the process from fruit to crushing to fermentation, then tasting through samples with grandfather, Peter Mondavi Sr. and my father to learn sweetness, bitterness, tannin, and so much more.
“The years I was trained between my father and grandfather were truly unique, and it was not until I became a winemaker myself that I realized how much influence my father and grandfather instilled in me at such a young age. They made me who I am today as a winemaker, believing in purity of the grape, accentuating and creating complexity during fermentation, and with a carefully thought-out oak regime, while maintaining freshness and vibrancy in the wine…In my opinion, I was one lucky young girl!”
Lange Twins Thirty Eight Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
Thirty Eight Vineyard is situated less than a mile from the Lange Twins winery, located in the Jahant AVA of Lodi. It was one of the first Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards planted by the twins in the late 70s and thus the oldest, offering low yields of intensely perfumed, elegant fruit. The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, Thirty Eight Vineyard, is a complex bouquet of black cherry, sweet tobacco, cocoa powder, and black currant that emerges and evolves as the wine opens. Upon tasting, the rich, spiced dark fruit flavor is accompanied by fine grained tannins that hug the palate and lead to a long, smooth finish.
“My favorite way to enjoy wine with my dad, Randall Lange, is on his declared ‘Big Red Nights,’ which bring all of us home for a family dinner alfresco – steak on the grill, veggies from the garden, and permission to open any bottle in the cellar (with no bottle maximums),” says winery president Marissa Lange. “We can’t wait until the grandkids are old enough to partake (as it’ll mean we can legitimately open more wine!)”
Podere Sapaio Toscana IGT
Sapaio’s 2019 Toscana IGT is the winery’s flagship label, truly reflecting the harmonious relationship with the land it is sourced from. The name comes from Sapaia, an ancient Tuscan grape variety, a nod to the strong ties with the territory. A classic blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Franc, this wine offers an elegant bouquet with notes of juicy cherry, dried raspberry, cedar, grilled herb and tobacco. The smooth tannins are balanced out by a vibrant acidity, making it enjoyable now as well as interesting to cellar for future occasions.
“My first memory regarding my father and wine goes back at least 50 years,” says Massimo Piccin, Podere Sapaio’s founder and owner since 1999. “He would buy Prosecco in carboys, and together we would bottle it at home, adding a little sugar to make it sparkle more. However, as a result, a lot of bottles would explode, so my father began to lock the cellar because it had become dangerous, especially for us children. I was very sad about this: the cellar was a fun place and it intrigued me a lot. Perhaps, however, the fact that it became a ‘secret’ place has made it even more charming and interesting for me over time.”
J. Lohr Carol’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
A true gem from the northern St. Helena region along the Napa River. Nestled across 27 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, this vineyard benefits from the ideal combination of well-drained, gravelly, sandy loam soil and a Bordeaux-like climate, producing richly textured, luxury-quality fruit. The wine displays fragrant black cherry and cassis aromas layered with hazelnut and spice from the French oak barrel aging. The palate is saturated with dark berry flavors alongside velvety, fine-grained tannins.
“Among my favorite memories with my Dad were the playful times with him when he was a young father,” remembers J.Lohr co-owner and chief brand officer Cynthia Lohr. “He took me to orchestra practice early in the morning when he would tease me for being so quiet, or scoop me up onto his shoulders and march me to bed. And then there were the delicious dinners my mother, Carol Waldorf Lohr, prepared, where we’d listen in rapt attention as he shared moments from his day. It was always inspiring to have a window into his entrepreneurial life. As a result of trying to keep pace with my father, I developed an intense curiosity that has shaped my approach to life.”
Argento Single Vineyard Finca Altamira Malbec
This 100% organic Malbec from Altamira, in the Uco Valley region of Mendoza in Argentic is a classic example of the power and elegance of Malbec. The wine offers intense red color, aromas of red fruits and dried herbs. It is fresh with a vibrant acidity but also full of depth and great mineral character. It’s long and juicy on the palate, with a smooth finish.
“One of my fondest memories is going around my father’s Malbec vineyard in Lujan de Cuyo. Our family estate holds many of our fondest memories,” says Argento’s winemaker Juan Pablo Murgia. “Being a dad means absolutely changing your perception of your life and the importance of many things becomes irrelevant compared to your child. My son is the most confident person I know, and he is only one-and-a-half years old. He makes me laugh so much!”
Far Niente Dolce
Each vintage of Dolce Napa Valley is hand-picked, not just cluster by cluster, but berry by berry from the winery’s 20-acre vineyard in Coombsville, with conditions that foster the development of Botrytis. The wine spends nearly three years in barrel, where it develops a bright stone-fruit perfume, elegant caramel undertones and a texture like silk. The 2008 Dolce offers aromas of spiced poached pear, peach cobbler and orange marmalade. The entry is honeyed, followed by creamy flavors which echo the aromas on the nose. The smooth and coating texture leads to a mouthwatering finish that balances out the sweetness and compels a second sip.
“Self-care is usually high on my list, so this Father’s Day I would like to plug in my guitar, read a book, and take a moment to remember my dear father who recently passed,” says winemaker Greg Allen. “Also, aside from exercising my rights and privileges to control the menu on this special day – filet mignon, portobello risotto, and sautéed kale with Far Niente’s Oakville Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, followed by a peach cobbler with the 2008 Dolce – I will reflect upon my father’s example of unconditional love and his kindness as I try to model that to my children.”
Lithology Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is absolutely worth the splurge for someone special, offering power and strength while being weightless at the same time. A great example of why the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard is so special, there’s cassis, blueberries, espresso, chicory, toast, and spices on the nose, with vanilla, cinnamon, and notes of orange peel, dark chocolate, and earthiness on the palate.
“Strolling through vineyards with my kids is a truly special experience,” says winemaker Matt Sands. “My work involves collaborating with talented growers from both Napa and Sonoma, so the iPad becomes an indispensable companion, keeping them entertained during the drive from vineyard to vineyard. Our sampling adventures aren’t complete without a quick stop at our favorite shop, Café Aquatica, to grab some scrumptious hot chocolate when visiting vineyards up on the Sonoma Coast, or Bouchon Bakery, for croissants when in Napa. It’s become a tradition we all look forward to. But the true magic happens when we step into the Vineyard, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the breathtaking landscapes that serve as a backdrop to our adventures, gratitude for the joyous giggles that fill the air, and above all, gratitude for the chance to intertwine my family’s happiness with the essence of my craft.”