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Napa for Papa


Napa Valley still produces some of the best wines in the world, and Father’s Day is a good reason to rediscover old favorites.

Greg Horton June 14th, 2011

“Don’t ever buy me anything I need as a present.” That bit of wisdom is actually from my wife. It’s a maxim I now live by when birthdays, anniversaries, and Christmases come round. It’s entirely apropos for Father’s Day.

Insignia at Edmond Wine Shop
Credits: Mark Hancock

Your dad may need ties, but he doesn’t want ties. He might even need that new wallet, the reversible belt, or the bobblehead Kevin Durant. But does he really want them, other than that bobblehead KD? He will smile and tell you “thanks” and you’ll still be his little girl or his pride and joy, but seriously, do you want an iron for your birthday? How about a lovely toaster?

If your dad loves wine, Father’s Day is the perfect time to buy him something he would never buy for himself. Buy him a wine he’s never heard of, or buy him one he hasn’t had since he and your mom “made” you, or even one you have to get contributions from your slacker siblings to buy.

Napa Valley produces red, Bordeaux-style wines that are malefriendly, even for our stubborn fathers. Some of these wines can age for decades, but offer complexity and beauty right now as well.

It’s appropriate to begin with a wine that is iconic even by Napa Valley standards. Joseph Phelps’ Insignia scored 91 points or more for 17 straight years in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. In 2007, it was No. 1 on Wine Spectator’s Top 100.

Bruce Upthegrove, a wine representative for Republic National Distributing, the company that represents Phelps, said Insignia is one of America’s best wines.

The 2006 vintage is still available in the metro, and it scored a 95 from Parker. The wine is rich and layered, with flavors of black currant, blackberries, licorice, pencil lead, olive and earth. It has a strong tannic backbone, but is balanced.

It’s available in fine metro wine shops, including Edmond Wine Shop, 1520 S. Boulevard in Edmond.

Matt Meyer, son of Silver Oak founder Justin Meyer, came through Oklahoma City last year to introduce his homage to his family’s legacy: Bonny’s Vineyard Cabernet. Meyer opened a bottle of his father’s Silver Oak Napa Valley from 1987 for a side-by-side comparison.

“I just wanted you to get a sense of what my father was trying to do,” Meyer said. “This is the same quality and longevity we’re going for.”

Both wines were stunning. The Bonny’s Vineyard, named for the vineyard Justin Meyer planted in 1974 as a gift to his wife, is “redder” than other Napa wines in this list. It’s layered and complex, with flavors of fig, red berries and cherry. Earth and tobacco

are present, but the wine is richer in red fruit than the brown flavors. It’s available at The Grape Wine & Spirits, 13325 N. MacArthur.

Merryvale wines have long fared well in the metro, even as its second label, Starmont, continues to grow in popularity in restaurants. Profile, the proprietary red blend from Merryvale, is a reminder of why wines become icons. Strong tannins, solid structure and intense flavors make this a brawny, delicious monster. Blackberry, black currant, licorice and earth lead to a lingering finish that shows cedar and dark berries.

It’s available at Edmond Wine Shop and Spirit Shop, 1117 Garver in Norman.

Palmaz isn’t exactly a household name, but the family is producing some remarkable wines in Napa, including their beautiful Amalia Chardonnay. The 2006 Palmaz Vineyards Cabernet is 100 percent Cabernet, unusual for this winery.

Florencia Palmaz, who was in Oklahoma City in May to introduce the wines, said the family selected the best fruit each year from blind barrel tastings, and “the Cabernet was best this year.”

The wine is elegant and bracing. Floral notes, particularly violet and black currant, are prominent. Chocolate and blueberry are present, and the finish is lingering, intense fruit.

The Palmaz is available at Edmond Wine Shop and Beau’s Wine Bin, 2810 W. Country Club Drive.

 
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