from The Challenge of Ideas (1961)
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In 2005, as I was trying to better explain what Petite Sirah is, I thought that it would be a great idea to tie it to something we could all relate to, and to an all-American legend, in order to really drive the point home.

So, I tied it to John Wayne. I could just envision the full bodied swagger of that rough and tumble cowboy, who – underneath it all – was much beloved and respected as a performer.

Parducci Winery was smart enough to tie it into a new Petite they’d create, befitting of that concept; hence, True Grit.

They’ve also been smart enough to tie their True Grit into Hollywood’s new rendition of the movie True Grit, by pouring their wine at the movie’s release parties.

Parducci Uncorks Its True Grit, Wine Spectator, by Lynn Alley

[Proprietor Tim] “Thornhill said… The wine got its name several years ago when a publicist who was barrel tasting at Parducci quipped that the gutsy wine was a real “John Wayne among reds.”

Yes, I am the publicist…

What I wrote, to make my own point that Petite Sirah is The John Wayne of Grapes, in 2005, which was sent to my wine writer data base and to all the members of PS I Love You at the time, for which Parducci was, and still is, a member:

The John Wayne of Grapes, Our All-American Legend

Imagine, if you will, being plucked from your homeland shortly after being born. (Some would argue that you were ostracized.) You’re brought to the Atlantic, where you board a steamship headed for America. You land in New York, are put onto the next train headed to California, and you never look back. You’re Durif, about to morph into Petite Sirah, the All-American variety.

According to wine industry historian Charles Sullivan, Charles McIver of Linda Vista Vineyards (Mission San Jose) imported Durif to the U.S. in 1884, and coined it “Petite Sirah.” Affection? Size of the grape? Couldn’t pronounce “Durif?” Just didn’t want the father’s name to be dropped forever because it would make it harder to tell the story? Who knows… That’s lost forever, and continues the mystery of our legend.

What McIver is responsible for is that he brought the “Wild West” its greatest “Wild Child.” And, like so many others that have made the arduous, culture-shock journey, this is where it ultimately has flourished. Petite Sirah has been fully allowed to express all of its capabilities; not encumbered by what being of mixed lineage would have imposed upon its nature in France. Labeled in France as a misfit, Petite Sirah has solidly proven itself to be “The stuff that men are made of:” Durable, strength of intensity, and the ability to weather any challenge.

Although its grapes are petite, don’t be fooled. This burly, manly wine has been able to completely express its concentration of color, flavors, textures, and tannins in ways that could only be imagined in its own homeland.

The American Legend… Petite Sirah.

It takes true grit to get it, this Petite Sirah. It’s not for fainting ladies. It’s not for the White Zinfandel crowd. It’s for the cowboy or cowgirl in all of us. Fasten up your spurs, Partnah; we’re headed for a ride!

Did you know…

  • Petite Sirah survived phylloxera.
  • It was one of the wine grapes that home winemakers were being allowed to make and drink during Prohibition.
  • It was the dried grapes that were being shipped back east as raisins (for reconstituting).
  • And, it was the grape that Napa Valley was planted to by 60 percent in the 1960s.

Petite Sirah, Our All-American Legend!

And now Hollywood gets it. Did you see the movie “The Kids Are Alright?”

Here’s a review by Kristin Lin in the Fort Worth Weekly.

More Thoughts on “The Kids Are All Right”

2) During the incredibly awkward lunch where Nic and Jules meet Paul, he brings over a bottle of 1986 Petite Syrah to go with hot dogs. It’s not clear if he knows in advance what they’re serving. Even though Nic doesn’t like Paul, she still pronounces his wine “excellent.”

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