Red Wine With Breakfast column: Raise a glass of red wine to Dad

  • Grapes dangle in the sunlight in Napa just before harvest last year. (

This Father’s Day raise a glass to Dad with one of these exceptional red wines perfect for barbecue pairing and oceanside sipping.

Luscious Pinot Noir makes my father’s heart melt, and as a Daddy’s girl, I am quick to find the most exceptional to share with him. On the Napa side of Carneros, Cuvaison Winery is currently toasting their 50th anniversary of producing stellar Pinot Noir wines, like their supple, sensual Swan Pinot Noir ($65) from the rolling hills of their estate. With long sunshine-filled days and cool evenings, California’s Santa Lucia Highlands creates vibrant Pinot Noir, as revealed in the Hahn SLH ($30) with notes of wildflowers and raspberry. Strawberry, cranberry, and forest-floor filled La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($30) has been a favorite of my Dad’s since the winery joined the region a few years ago, highlighting the distinct structure of Willamette Valley fruit.


From Russian River, MacRostie Winery’s estate vineyard, Thale’s Vineyard, produces rich, textured Pinot Noir ($58) as lovely as it’s vineyard namesake, owner/winemaker Steve MacRostie’s wife, Thale, layering blackberry, sweet spice and violet notes. Amici’s Russian River Reserve Pinot Noir ($65) is slightly more fruit-forward, highlighting raspberry and crushed cranberry with gorgeous freshness and acidity. With a meaty, bramble fruit and five-spice note, Merry Edwards Coopersmith Vineyard Pinot Noir ($66) marries acidity with tannin, for a balanced, structured, sustainably farmed wine.

Cooling Pacific winds blowing across rugged, unruly Anderson Valley vineyards makes the region one of the most untamed in Northern California growing wines with character. With vineyards throughout the region, Goldeneye shines with nuanced, refined selections to those that are more rustic and untamed. Ten Degrees Pinot Noir ($125) brings three of these vineyards together for an age-worthy, sophisticated wine. Goldeneye Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($58), blending fruit from all corners of the 15-mile-long region, shines with soft herbal notes melding with fresh red fruits. With distinct herbaceous spiciness and cool-climate freshness, FEL Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($38) layers clove, nutmeg, and anise with woody sage and thyme for a food-friendly, earthy selection.

Twenty years ago, Siduri Winery celebrated Anderson Valley in some of their earliest Pinot Noir wines, harmoniously taming robust fruit, crafting delicate wines. Today, Siduri Anderson Valley Pinot Noir continues to shine as a prime example of the region.

My sweet husband, the father to our puppy, Yoda, swoons for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Over the years of learning his palate, I know he prefers fruit-forward, bold yet balanced wines from Napa’s valley floor regions like Oakville, Coombsville and Calistoga, with Shafer’s One Point Five and Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon from the Stags Leap District and a Calistoga grown Chateau Montelena always leading the pack amongst his favorites.

From winemaker Rolando Herrera, Mi Sueno Cabernet Sauvignon ($75) from valley floor fruit in Coombsville and Oak Knoll reveals fresh violets, black licorice, ripe fig and dark chocolate.

From Oakville, Groth Cabernet Sauvignon ($65) brings a crushed stone, graphite note to their black and red fruit-filled cabernet, highlighting the alluvial soils of the region. Similarly, the dusty Rutherford Bench delivers earthy truffle, woody sage and thyme notes in the Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon ($35) providing an incredible wine for the price. Raymond Vineyard Rutherford Estate Collection Cabernet Sauvignon ($55) harmoniously melds plum, currant, crushed stone, spiced vanilla and black tea.

If your Dad prefers mountain-grown cabernet from earthy volcanic soils consider Napa and Sonoma’s mountain regions, like Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder, and the Mayacamus Mountains. From Mount Veeder, Mount Brave Cabernet Sauvignon ($90) and La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon ($90) from Howell Mountain both deliver blue and black fruit, woody herb, truffle, and warm spice. Pritchard Hill mountain-grown fruit delivers an almost ethereal expression of 100% cabernet sauvignon, melding concentrated tannin with a softness often only achieved from blending additional varieties into the wine in Chappellet’s Hideaway Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. ($125)

Sonoma’s Alexander Valley delivers both valley floor and mountain fruit, giving winemakers the opportunity to utilize various elevations in crafting their wine. Aged 100% in French Oak as of the 2015 vintage, Jordan Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($57) melds rich cassis, blueberry, and cherry liqueur for a consistently pleasing wine.

For Dad’s who love a blend, Napa’s Paraduxx has made an art of the blending traditional and nontraditional varieties together, crafting exceptional wines like their Napa Valley Proprietary Red Blend ($50) of primarily cabernet sauvignon with significant amounts of zinfandel and petite sirah.


Leading with zinfandel, followed by cabernet, petit sirah, Syrah and charbono, The Prisoner ($70) layers milk chocolate, black cherry, and vanilla, making this barbecue-friendly wine a consistent summer favorite. In the Roussillon region of southern France, Domaine de Bila-Haut crafts their Syrah-dominant blend, L’Esquerda ($28) melding wildflowercherry, and pepper with smoked spice. The Super Tuscan blend from Aia Vecchia, Sor Ugo ($36) reveals the subtle restraint of Old World winemaking, revealing licorice, fresh mint, and rosemary.

Hayley Hamilton Cogill is a sommelier, wine writer, and educator. Together with her husband Gary Cogill, an Emmy award-winning film critic, they host “Cogill Wine And Film, A Perfect Pairing” podcast on while living on Hawaii Island in Kamuela while both writing for West Hawaii Today.

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