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WWDD? - "What Would Ditka Drink?"

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Nov 6, 2006 4:05PM

2006_11_ditka.jpgGiven his litany of DUI's and drunken television appearances with Johnny Morris during the "Super Bowl Shuffle" years, that answer would be "whaddaya got?" But if you're "Da Coach" as a marketing brand, you'd probably partner with a proven wine company. Say, Mendocino Wine Company, which lists Parducci, Zingaro, and Big Yellow Cabernet Sauvignon among their brands, to create Mike Ditka Wines. Then you'd drink a lot of your signature wine, pass out in the sun, and get caught on camera making fumbling advances on women young enough to be your daughter.

Readers who shop at Costco and Binny's will find the Ditka wines there starting this week, with a caricature of Ditka's signature Eddie Munster hairdo on the label. The retail prices for the wines range from $10-12 for Mike Ditka merlot and pinot grigio, to close to $50 for Mike Ditka "Kick Ass Red," a blend of zinfandel, syrah, and petite syrah intended for the white-collar Grabowskis. For folks who frequent Ditka's insufferable restaurant, the merlot and pinot grigio are currently available by the glass, with the entire line soon to follow.

Chicagoist had the pleasure opportunity to sample the Ditka line at a liquor industry trade show a couple months back. The wines take after the man - big, bold, brash and obnoxious. The pinot grigio is what a casual drinker would expect for the varietal. Ditka said that he had to have a pinot grigio, as it's the only wine his wife Diana drinks, but for the price you might as well buy a bottle of Santa Magherita. The grapes in the "Kick Ass Red" are too similar to each other in structure to make a standout blend, and tasted slightly sour to our palate. The merlot was the most enjoyable of the bunch, but had absolutely no finish. It was like gulping water.

After twenty years of milking the success of a football team that should have maintained its focus to win three straight Super Bowls, Ditka knows his audience. It's one reason we hope that, even with yesterday's hiccup against Miami, that Lovie and company win two before it's all over. We think there could be a market for a "Brian Urlacher's Babydaddy Gymboree."