Ottawa, ON

June 2021

Now in year two of a global pandemic, it’s brought a lot of things into perspective, and reinforced that saying, “You only Live Once”. As such, for special occasions like Father’s Day, it’s nice to treat the wine-loving Father(s) in your life with some wonderful wines, whiskies, and other great consumables that both enrich our lives and command a bit of quality RnR time to enjoy, which every Father appreciates!

I’ve selected a handful of great wines and spirits which Dad will appreciate, and they’re all available either at LCBO or winery direct.

Starting with a storied Napa winery that put California on the map during following the 1976 Judgement of Paris.

Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – $89.95 at LCBO

Iconic Napa winery Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars’ Artemis highlights exactly why this storied winery, and this wine, are internationally renowned! From winning the Judgement of Paris as the best Cabernet Sauvignon in 1976, to the launch of Artemis in 2001, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars has caught the attention of many around the world with their outstanding Cabernet. Artemis 2018 is a blend of 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot, and 1% Malbec, from some of Napa’s finest vineyards. Artemis’ deep colour and expressive bouquet shows ripe dark berries, blueberry pie, chocolate, graphite, and scorched earth. It’s big, it’s textured, and it’s incredibly well balanced! Dark fruit, spice, savoury notes with a distinct textured mineral finish make this gorgeous Napa Cab an ideal pairing with charcoal grilled steak tenderloin with Port reduction and crumbled Blue Haze cheese on top. Enjoy now or cellar 10-15 years and enjoy the evolution of this wine. Tasted June 2021. 94+ points. Matt Steeves – Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Artemis Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 – $89.95 at LCBO

Iconic Tuscan producer, Ruffino, and their ultra premium Riserva Ducale Oro is a wonderful gift for Dad now and all year round.

Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2016 – $49.95 at LCBO

(2015 vintage review): Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione is produced only in the best vintages, a tradition started in 1947 to showcase the finest fruit from Ruffino’s acclaimed vineyards. The 2015 sourced fruit from Ruffino’s Gretole, and Santedame estates in the renowned Castellina subregion of Chianti Classico. First impression shows that classic rustic Chianti Classico bouquet full of cherry, dried fruits, herbs, resinous balsamic notes, wood spice, graphite, and sous bois. Elegant, silky smooth, and beautifully balanced, Ruffino’s Riserva Ducale Oro showcases the best of this storied region in an accessible offering making it great for enjoying regularly with charcoal grilled steaks and also a perfect gift for any wine lover looking for a premium wine that’s ready to enjoy now but also worthy of another decade of aging. Thanks to a half decade of aging already, it’s immediately accessible with its fine softened tannins and fresh acidity making this premium Chianti equally suited for rich dishes such as pasta bolognese or cinghiale in umido (stewed wild boar). Enjoy 2020-2030. Tasted July 2020. 93 points. Matt Steeves – Ruffino Riserva Ducale Oro Gran Selezione Chianti Classico 2016 – $49.95 at LCBO

With BBQ season in full swing, having a special bottle that doesn’t break the bank is a great choice for Dad to serve with his next BBQ session.

Unshackled Cabernet Sauvignon – $29.95 at LCBO

Prisoner Wine Co makes some seriously bold and delicious wines, and Unshackled Cabernet Sauvignon is guilty of exactly that! A blend of 80% Cab, 10% Petite Sirah, 5% Syrah, and 5% Merlot, sourced from several regions in California’s Central and North Coasts, including Monterey, Lodi, Paso, Sonoma, and Mendocino bringing the best characteristics of these regions to this impressive blend. The nose shows delicious dark berries, plum, raspberry pie, sweet spices, and a hint of dried herbs and graphite. The palate highlights how ripe and well structured this wine is, with spicy dark fruits, fine tannins, all in a big and robust style with creamy texture, great balance, and remarkable freshness. Keep it locked up for 5+ years or enjoy now with tangy BBQ, braised dishes, or around the campfire with good company. A guaranteed hit, this is certainly a buy by the case wine while it’s available! Tasted May 2021. 93 points. Matt Steeves – Unshackled Cabernet Sauvignon – $29.95 at LCBO

One of the most impressive Chardonnay’s you’ll taste, and it’s proudly Canadian. From the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, CheckMate is wowing the wine world with their super ultra premium Chardonnay and Merlot offerings, including this slightly aged 2015 Fool’s Mate which is available for purchase winery-direct.

CheckMate Fool’s Mate Chardonnay 2015 – available winery direct

With each and every vintage CheckMate Artisanal Winery is solidifying their reputation as one of Canada’s leading wineries, producing world-class Chardonnay and Merlot from the south of the Okanagain Valley, in Canada’s wine capital, Oliver, BC.

2015 Fool’s Mate Chardonnay is a benchmark expression of ultra premium Okanagan Chardonnay. Sourced from five estate vineyards across the Black Sage Bench, Golden Mile Bench, and Osoyoos East Bench, Fool’s Mate brings together the best fruit from many of the best vineyards in the far south of Canada’s pocket desert. Richly coloured, this unfiltered and unfined wine showcases the purest expression of southern Okanagan ‘bench’ fruit. Bright citrus fruit, buttered croissant, lanolin, and zesty minerality on the nose and palate. This beautifully balanced, full bodied, and linear Chardonnay highlights the quality and elegance CheckMate are achieving in their portfolio of Cru-quality Chardonnay. Enjoy 2020-2030+. Tasted April 2020, May 2021. 96 points. Matt Steeves – CheckMate Fool’s Mate Chardonnay 2015 – available winery direct

Every Dad likes to have a special spirit to enjoy, to share with some pals, perhaps enjoy with a fine cigar, and to whip up some great craft cocktails and Redemption Bourbon is a great choice for all of that.

Redemption Bourbon – $49.95 at LCBO

Redemption Bourbon and their pre-Prohibition Whiskey revival showcases the Rye-forward style of Bourbon made popular a century ago, which is particularly appreciated in today’s premium Whiskey market. A mash of 75% Corn, 21% Rye, and 4% Barley, aged in new American oak barrels, Redemption’s Rye-forward style with its sweet and subtle spicy profile makes it a great Whiskey for sipping neat and a fantastic option for crafting epic Bourbon cocktails. As they say, Prohibition didn’t end the sale of Whiskey in the South, it just renamed it to ‘medicine’! Highly trying some of this ‘medicine’, perhaps in a Mint Julep in the summer sun, or a Whiskey Sour this Father’s Day and throughout the year!

Finally, Port is a great treat to enjoy throughout the year, whether it’s after a meal or before dinner in a Port cocktail, and with a fine cigar – absolutely amazing! And unlike wines, Tawny Port lasts several weeks once opened without risk of spoiling. I recommend keeping it in the fridge and ideally enjoying it within a month.

Messias 10 year is a fantastic 10 year aged Tawny Port! Full bodied, creamy smooth, with loads of dried fruits, Medjool dates, sweet spices, and all wonderfully balanced with a fresh and creamy finish that persists for minutes. Enjoy this impressive Port with charcuterie platters, and your dessert of choice, mine – Pistachio Crème Brûlée or pecan pie. Tasted February 2021. 93 points. Matt Steeves

Available at LCBO – $29.95

Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful Father’s Day and I hope you’re able to enjoy some of these Somm-selected wines and spirits! Stay well and enjoy!