The old man has done so much for you over the years, and you want to find the perfect gift to let him know that he is loved and appreciated. This time give him something that he will actually use. The solution is easy: dads will always use a gift of booze! This Father’s Day, consider these favourites from Niagara’s wine and beer country, tailored to whichever type of dad you’re lucky to have.
The Backyard Hero Dad: Bench Brewing Company’s Twenty Mile Creek Farmhouse Ale ($2.95 for 473mL can)
Your dad’s thing was pushing you on the swing, raking the leaves by hand, and grilling up some mean eats on the barbeque. If your dad is the “backyard hero” type, then Bench Brewing Company’s Twenty Mile Creek Farmhouse Ale is the gift for him. Something that feels good going down while watching the sunset from the back patio.
Sometimes called a ‘Saison,’ Farmhouse Ale is a style of beer that was first created on farms in Belgium. The beer was traditionally brewed during the wintertime to be enjoyed by seasonal workers in the summer months. Its time left in the bottle would allow it to undergo a secondary fermentation, which is why this style is recognized for its yeasty haze and its high level of carbonation. Fruits and spices were often added to create a more complex flavour profile.
Twenty Mile Creek Farmhouse Ale is refreshing, with strong citrus flavours and some biscuit tones. It is medium-bodied and dry on the palate. The perfect choice for the dad who loves to be outdoors.
The Handyman Dad: Dillion’s Small Batch Distillers’ Sweet Vermouth ($19.95 for 750mL)
Your dad is a Mister Fix-It type. Whether it be a squeaky back door, a dirty sparkplug, or your grade 8 science project, your dad was always ready to help with his tools. A dad that is good with his hands loves a new toy that he can build something with. Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers’ Sweet Vermouth is the perfect new building block for your handy pops.
Vermouth is a style of fortified wine. Fortified wine is made by adding rectified grape spirit to a base wine partway through its alcoholic fermentation. The influx of high-alcohol grape spirit kills the yeast and prevents the remaining natural sugar from undergoing alcoholic fermentation. This results in a wine that is high in alcohol and is also high in natural residual sugar. This Sweet Vermouth is made from 100% Niagara grown Viognier grapes. Further ingredients are added to boost the complexity of the flavour profile: estate-grown wormwood, vanilla, and bitter orange peel are added, among other natural ingredients.
Dillon’s Sweet Vermouth can be enjoyed on its own over ice, but it is best utilized when it is mixed as part of a cocktail. Your handy dad can pull out his “other tools,” (aka a shaker tin) for this one. Sweet vermouth is an essential constituent in a Manhattan (2oz Canadian whisky + 1oz Dillon’s Sweet Vermouth) or a Negroni (1oz Dillon’s gin + 1oz Campari + 1oz Dillon’s Sweet Vermouth). The possibilities will keep your Mr. Fix-It father busy for a while, with something new always to be discovered.
The Patient Dad: PondView Estates’ 2014 Bella Terra Cabernet Appassimento ($70 for 750mL)
Your dad showed an active interest in shaping you into a confident, capable adult, even from your earliest years. He had you on his knee as he worked out the household budget, and he shared his favourite books with you. If this is your dad, I recommend a wine that a patient man can appreciate: PondView Estates’ 2014 Bella Terra Cabernet Appassimento.
Appassimento wines are made from grapes that have been left to dry after the harvest. A 6 week period of drying before pressing allows much of the water to evaporate out of the fruit, leaving behind a concentration of flavour compounds and natural sugars. When this extra potent juice is vinified, a wine is created with a great depth of character and concentration of flavours. This blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon was matured in new French oak barrels for 28 months to soften the tannins, add some vanilla character, and allow new, complex flavours of licorice and coffee to develop among a backdrop of black raspberry.
A complex and full-bodied wine that is not for the casual glugger. The 2014 Bella Terra Cabernet Appassimento is a wine for the serious connoisseur. It will be appreciated by a patient and man, like your dad.
The Dad That Has Everything: Treat Them to an Authentic Tour Experience!
Niagara beers, wines, and spirits can be found all over the peninsula. Instead of bringing a bottle home, why not bring your dad to the tasting bar! Bootleggers Brewery, Winery & Distillery Tours offers tour packages for every kind of dad.
Why not try the Krazy Kanuck Tour. It’s a Kross-section of Niagara’s greatest cideries, wineries, breweries, and distilleries. Or, for the foodie of the house, try the Hop & Vine Tour that pairs delectable gourmet foods with your new favourite wines and brews! And if that’s not enough, we’ve even got a Speakeasy Dinner Tour that takes you back to the days of rum-running and prohibition.
Whether it be a VQA wine, a Niagara vermouth, a beer from the Bench, or a full-day touring experience, you won’t be empty handed on Father’s Day! Cheers to you and Dad!
By: Michael Twyman, Sommelier and Wine Smart Guide for Niagara Vintage Wine Tours and Bootleggers.