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waters on wine

Many liquor stores present Father’s Day as a one-size-fits-all occasion where dear old dad is sure to love scotch, premium wine or craft beer. However, a meaningful gift should represent his tastes and interests, otherwise it’s just another bottle from the display at the end of the aisle.

The better strategy: Rely on a thoughtful sip that recalls a memorable occasion or travel adventure. However, I also have some ideas if a well-made wine or, yes, scotch, happens to be on your shopping list.

These are a range of wines – and two crowd-pleasing scotches – that I have enjoyed in recent tastings. They certainly are worthy gifts, especially if you read the reviews and sense some of your father’s passions (or possibly your own). I suspect the real satisfaction might come from enjoying them together.

There’s a selection of notable reds, in a range of styles and weights, from lighter pinot noirs to sturdy Cabernets and, finally, a heavyweight shiraz. These are all built for sipping in a big-bowled glass and, let’s hope, will stimulate good conversation and a meaningful celebration of the roles we play in each other’s lives.

And while rosés are commonplace recommendations for Mother’s Day, why not bring them out in June when their refreshing character is bound to be appreciated by dad too?

Aberlour 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Scotland), $77.20

Rating:91 /100

Aberlour blends whiskies aged in used bourbon and sherry casks to produce an easygoing, fruity and flavourful style of spirit. The aroma is a real drawing card for me, which is why I prefer it without adding water. An appealing smoky note helps to balance the sweeter character and adds interest to the lingering chocolate and raisin notes on the finish. Available in Ontario at the above price, $76.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $67 in Quebec, $74.29 in New Brunswick, $68.99 in Nova Scotia, $65.99 in Prince Edward Island, $71.99 in Newfoundland.

Bread & Butter Rosé 2020 (United States), $18.95

Rating:89 /100

This inviting dry rosé from California is a blend of Grenache, barbera and muscat, which combine to offer a simple mix of juicy fruit and floral aromas and flavours. A stylish wine to enjoy this summer and fall, it has a soft texture that carries through to a refreshing finish. Drink now. Available in Ontario at the above price, various prices in British Columbia and Alberta, $28.49 in Saskatchewan, $22.99 in New Brunswick, $23.69 in Newfoundland.

Glenfarclas 12-Year-Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Scotland), $73.35

Rating:92 /100

Crafted in an attractive and approachable style, this enjoyable whisky from a popular Spreyside distillery is balanced and complex. The mix of dried plum, honey and spice notes are nicely rounded out by a citrusy, nutty and slightly smoky finish. The effect of the sherry cask aging really shines through here. It’s nice served straight. Available in Ontario at the above price, $89.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta, $72.50 in Quebec.

Kim Crawford Pinot Noir 2021 (New Zealand), $23.95

Rating:88 /100

The recent release of pinot noir from Kim Crawford presents appetizing cranberry and cherry aromas and flavours as part of a vibrant and dry red wine. The core of fruit gains interest from some spice and floral notes. It is a lighter yet serious red to enjoy with a meal. Drink now. Available at the above price in Ontario ($21.95 until June 19, 2022), $24.99 in British Columbia, $25.99 in Saskatchewan, $22.99 in Manitoba, $22.95 in Quebec (2020 vintage), $26.49 in New Brunswick, $23.99 in Nova Scotia, $25.99 in Prince Edward Island,

La Crema Pinot Noir Rosé 2021 (United States), $27.95

Rating:91 /100

Made from pinot noir grapes grown in Monterey County, this expressive dry rosé offers berry and melon flavours with mouth-watering acidity that contributes to its refreshing character. Bright and juicy, this is an elegant pink wine that’s pleasurable on its own or accompanying a meal. Drink now. Available in Ontario.

Loveblock Pinot Noir 2020 (New Zealand), $37.95

Rating:91 /100

Produced in Central Otago from a vineyard called Somebody’s Darling, Loveblock can be counted on for pretty and polished pinot noirs. The focus is on juicy red berry flavours, with bright acidity and ripe tannins that have me excited to see this again after some years in the cellar. Drink now-2028. Available in Ontario at the above price via, various prices in Alberta, $34.99 in Manitoba, $35.99 in Nova Scotia.

Porcupine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 (South Africa), $16.95

Rating:90 /100

Porcupine Ridge is an affordable brand made by South African winery Boekenhoutskloof, which is a celebrated producer of Syrah, cabernet sauvignon and Semillon. This stylish cabernet delivers terrific concentration and character; the slight addition of cabernet franc adds to its fragrance and complexity. There is real charm and value for money here. Drink now-2026. Vegan friendly. Available in Ontario at the above price via

Two Hands Angels’ Share Shiraz 2020 (Australia), $24.95

Rating:92 /100

Angels’ Share uses grapes grown in the McLaren Vale region of South Australia to capture the bright and opulent personality of shiraz. It is an impressive red with layers of concentrated fruit flavours and terrific structure, a bold and flavourful wine that’s ripe and ready for your next barbecue. Drink now-2035. Available at the above price in Ontario, $34.99 in British Columbia, various prices in Alberta.

Vina Chocalan Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva 2019 (Chile), $17.99

Rating:88 /100

Cabernet from Maipo continues to be one of the most thrilling wines coming from of Chile. This serious and affordable example blends cabernet sauvignon with 10 per cent carmenere and 5 per cent petit verdot to produce a balanced and complex red wine. The flavourful mix of dark fruit, herbal and coffee notes combined with firm tannins make for a wine that’s best enjoyed with grilled or roasted meat dishes. Drink now-2024. Available in British Columbia at the above price, various prices in Alberta and Manitoba.

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