I usually ignore wine and pop culture tie-ins, such as the one I received not long ago for “True Grit” featuring the re-make of the movie classic and the wine of the same name. In this case, however, not only did I thoroughly enjoy both but was fascinated to come acros s the back story of just how True Grit wound up on the a wine label.
True Grit the wine is a $30 Petite Sirah produced by Parducci Wine Cellars, part of the Mendocino Wine Company in California’s Mendocino County. It turns out that the idea for the name came in 2005 when a publicist suggested to Tim Thornhill, Parducci’s proprietor, that petite sirah was a “John Wayne among reds,” Thornhill related to Wine Spectator. The publicist was Jo Diaz, who has promoted petite sirah for years through her “PS I Love You” campaign (but who does not represent Parducci itself). I’ve always thought the slogan was a bit hokey and haven’t referred to it until now, but it seems to have worked well for the variety, and Jo, I’ve discovered, has a very good ear for this sort of thing.
She recalls the Parducci experience on her own wine blog and reprints a release on petite sirah she wrote at the time in which she called it the “all-American variety” and a “burly, manly wine.” The description may have fit well with the petite sirah campaign and the True Grit narrative, but I doubt Jo will mind if I say that it doesn’t quite do justice to the 2007 True Grit, which is a wine of elegance and complexity (along with a little brawn). It is marked by herb-infused black cherry and blackberry notes, an earthy core and unsweetened cocoa on the long and considerably tannic finish. Although alcohol is 14.5 percent, this is not a big or heavy wine, with the overall impression bright rather than ponderous. As I breathed in the aromas again a few days after opening the bottle, Bordeaux even came to mind.
No, True Grit the wine may have a pair of cowboy boots with spurs on its label, but I can’t imagine Rooster Cogburn (Jeff Bridges or John Wayne) trading his bottle of hooch for a glass of this sophisticated and just slightly gutsy red. (Received as a press sample.)