At almost every event at my parents home, Dad was the ringmaster. Once he’d greeted you with a big, warm hug, he’d ask what beverage he could serve you. For family dinners, he always had some sort of red wine on hand. He wasn’t a connoisseur by any means. For a wine to make his cut it had to have three things: a fairly recognizable name, it should be red (because it was healthier) and it had to come in a large enough bottle so everyone could have one … or a few glasses. He chose what he thought everyone else would like. Ultimately, his choice really didn’t matter; what mattered was how great a time we had dining, and sipping wine with a spirited conversation.The wine played a small yet pivotal role.
A winemaker once told me that part of what made a wine good is the experience you had while drinking it. The wine should not only taste good but enhance the fun you had with the people around you. My dad didn’t choose wine for its cache, expense or terroir. He chose it because it seemed right. And we always had a great time. So in that sense, he chose well.
Tonight, to celebrate HubbyDoug, and both our fathers who’ve moved on to the great beyond, we chose a new wine for us ~ an ’07 Markham Vineyards The Altruist Cabernet Sauvignon. I fell in love with the full blackberry on the nose that I didn’t have to work too hard to get. It tasted of rich, black cherry, cassis, and alcohol (that didn’t make me cough). On the finish was a laid back caramel and vanilla. The mouthfeel was very creamy even though it was dry wine. And it made an amazing transition from our filet mignon with garlic mashed potatoes to strawberry | pineapple shortcake. I didn’t believe a dry, complex red could make that jump. But it did, and beautifully.
Though we lost him only three years ago, this is is the first Father’s Day that doesn’t hurt. And I know he’d be okay with that. Like most fathers, the best ones anyway, he’d want me to move forward, remember the spirit of the good times we had, and to make more, new and wonderful memories.
An altruist is exactly how I’d describe my dad. He did so much for so many throughout his life. This was a fitting wine with which to toast him.
To all Dads today ~ those still present with us, or in spirit, I raise my glass.