It’s that time of year again, Father’s Day is once again upon us. Time to buy dad another ugly tie, box of golf balls or bottle of wine. In years past, I’ve had the intention of coming up with a new and better gift idea, only to fall back on some of the old standards. This year however, I believe I’ve stumbled across a unique and different alternative for the fathers out there. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still one of the “old standard” gift ideas, a bottle of wine, just with a different spin.
Over my last 20+ years in the bar/restaurant business, I’ve noticed a burgeoning area of the marketplace where once there was none. Celebrities have entered the wine making business, with varying degrees of success. Stars from Hollywood like Francis Ford Coppola, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are now producing high quality wines. Musicians have also gotten into the act. Bands like The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and The Police (to name a few) all have bottles currently on the market. Last but not least, we can’t leave out the famous athletes who have now added their names to the growing list of famous winemakers. All time greats like Wayne Gretzky, Ernie Els, Mario Andretti and Joe Montana are all in the wine business.
My choice this week comes from “Da Coach”, Mike Ditka. Ditka was known as a tough, hard nosed player and coach of arguably the best football team ever, the Super Bowl XX champion, Chicago Bears. Now a broadcaster on ESPN, Mike has a variety of business interests outside the world of football. He owns a chain of steakhouse’s, “Ditka’s”, sells a line of cigars, and since 2006 has produced his own line of wines (eight varieties in all). Relaunched in 2012, Mike Ditka Wines are designed to combine the coach’s passion for food and wine. He was looking to produce a reasonably priced, high quality product that complemented the dishes in his restaurants.
Sourced from vineyards north of San Francisco, Mike Ditka Mendocino County Cabernet Sauvignon is a clean and shiny ruby red that has been aged in oak barrels for 25 months. Upon opening, one gets an aroma of plum, cinnamon and vanilla. At first taste, there is a burst of blackberry, black pepper, and vanilla. The tannins are well balanced as it has a smooth berry and delicate chocolate finish. This wine has been designed to stand up to bold flavors and it does just that. With Ditka’s menu in mind, it pairs very well with a juicy steak.
Readily available throughout the midwest in retail, (online everywhere else) this unique Cabernet is reasonably priced from $14-$21. An ideal gift for the father who is an avid sports fan, this bottle is not just a novelty product being blindly endorsed by a another celebrity. “Da Coach” himself assisted in the tastings that led to the final bottled product.