A great all-around varietal for Dad's barbecuing, update on Village Vineyard and Looking Ahead

Merlot and barbecued burgers for Father's Day are a sure thing. If you are a dad or know a dad, I’d wager you’re barbecuing this weekend. If you’re one of those men who will forgo beer in favor of wine, allow me to strongly encourage Merlot on the table.

Paul Giamatti’s character, Miles, in the movie Sideways has a pretentious phobia of Merlot but in truth it’s a food-friendly wine, particularly with beef, pork and salmon-some popular options for Father’s Day in these parts, I imagine. The trick is to purchase a quality bottle, not just any ole’ thing.

Merlot kind of outstayed its welcome in the 90’s but, like shag carpet and bell bottoms, everything deserves a second chance, wouldn’t you agree? I personally never understood the resurgence of shag or bell bottoms but plenty of other people bought into it so I’m running with it as an analogy.

When choosing any wine, always go with the appellations (specific growing area) best known for producing that varietal consistently well. Napa Valley, Sonoma and the Columbia Valley in Washington (think Walla Walla and Horse Heaven Hills though the area spans 11 million acres) top the Merlot list.

Burgers can be served a myriad of ways and, depending on the ingredients, the wine recommendation may vary. Add some bacon and Zinfandel could be argued and, although I haven’t had a hamburger since visiting my grandparents in Mt Angel when I was in my very early 20’s (Grandpa was a butcher by trade. What’s a vegetarian granddaughter to do?), I can understand that. Regardless, Merlot is still the most versatile barbecue option. There’s not much barbecue-wise to be thrown at Merlot that it can’t rise up to.

Mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, mustard-all excellent flavors with Merlot-and quintessential burger accompaniments.

If you’re elevating your get together with some choice steaks, a Cabernet Sauvignon might be in order but, again, purchase a quality bottle or two of Merlot and you have backyard barbecue covered. Merlot tends to have a lot of fruit characteristics and its medium tannins pair well with the vinegar associated with barbecue.

Happy Father’s Day to all you men out there!

Looking ahead:

Some labeling issues have caused the new kid in town, Village Vineyard, to push their opening date back from Father's Day (June 15) to Friday, July 18.

Patti Kuni, Julie Kuni, Andy Thomas

Don't forget Total Wine & More's special tasting this Saturday, June 14th.

Mark your calendars: June 20-22nd is Vancouver's 2nd Annual Craft Winefest, held at Esther Short Park from 3-10 p.m. on Fri, noon-10 p.m. on Sat and noon-7 p.m. on Sun. The Craft Winefest is sure to be a wine-tasting paradise with 150 wines from 40 wineries advertised. Benefiting the ARC of SW Washington, it's a worthy cause to raise a glass for. There'll even be micro brews from Clark County brewers and Patrick Lamb is performing Friday night. A $15 ticket buys you a 3-day pass to the event.

Masquerade Wine Company in Bellingham

Clark County wines will be well-represented but there'll also be stand outs from Walla Walla such as Basel Cellars and Locati Cellars. Masquerade Wine Companya winery I enjoy visiting when I go to see my folks in Bellingham, is making the trek down I-5 to pour some of their delightful offerings. Tenino and Castle Rock will be represented as well as Naked Winery from Hood River. Looking for something to do next weekend? Look no further than Vancouver's 2nd Annual Craft Winefest.