Published on December 20th, 2014 | by Greg0
Parducci True Grit: Red Wines For The Holidays
Between Tuscany and Mendocino, there’s an obvious connection: fine wines. There might be a less obvious one as well, one that ties together California dreams, a classic American mythos, and pasta. The cowboy ideals in Hollywood film were never better than in the spaghetti westerns, and whether you’re a fan of the 1969 John Wayne film or the modern Jeff Bridges version, one of the foremost movies that brought the hard-nosed Texas Ranger to life was True Grit.
And now we’ve had it bottled. To be more precise, we’ve had a couple of different varietals from Parducci Wines that bear the True Grit name, an homage from Tom and Tim Thornhill, owners of Parducci Wine Cellars who were once told that their Petite Sirah was the “John Wayne of red wines”. With a history dating back to 1932, the most recent vintage was from 2012, and we’ve been trying a pair of reds alongside some early holiday feasting. If you’re looking for a nice bottle for your family meal this year, and want something with a fun story, make sure you check out Parducci.
Their 2012 True Grit Reserve Petit Sirah was our favorite of the two. Flush with full fruit, this velvety wine has a bit of Syrah as well (8%) and just a touch of Grenache (1%). Aged in a mix of New American oak and seasoned French/American, it’s well-balanced and can definitely hold up to a few more years of time in the bottle but is eminently drinkable now. Official tasting notes mention “white pepper and vanilla, followed by an intense rush of fresh blackberry, dark chocolate, pepper and caramel flavors”- but when we opened ours, a bit of time aerating brought out a bit more of the spice. It lingers nicely, and isn’t pretentious, but is priced just a bit higher than we expected ($29 a bottle).
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon isn’t available on the site yet (though the 2011 is). Classically built, this is a deep and dark, meaty wine ideal for pairing with the Christmas lamb, and there are plenty of tannins to work around and feel. Parducci mentions “rich flavors of dark carob and cassis”, but don’t point out the velvety nose, inviting and enticing, sure to pull you in. The finish isn’t as, well, finished as we might expect from a couple of additional years aging but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the bottle (likely priced around $30) immensely. The True Grit wines seem a drinkable embodiment of the Mendocino ethos with an Italian heritage- solid, uncomplicated, and satisfying.