Francis Coppola Director’s Pinot Noir 2014, Sonoma Coast
Cost: $20-22
W ith the Academy Award telecast coming up this weekend (Feb. 28), you might want to start hunting for some movie-themed wine to sip while watching them hand out the Oscars.
You can’t go wrong with any of the Francis Coppola wines. They are all well-made and reasonably priced, and available in most markets.
We tried the Director’s Pinot Noir last night, and it was a beautiful wine. It is a gorgeous bright red in the glass, with delicate aromas of raspberries and black cherries. It has a classic Pinot taste, loads of fresh cherries, blackberries and plums. The velvety finish lingers nicely.
The back label explains the name: “Be it film or wine, ‘directing,’ is about the creative choices that capture an artistic vision. In honor of Francis Coppola’s filmmaking heritage, we bring you Director’s Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, a silky wine…”
Francis Coppola Director's Pinot Noir.
Francis Coppola Director’s Pinot Noir.
The comparison to film is appropriate, because the winemaker works much like a film director, pulling characteristics out of the grapes and bringing them together much like a film director gets the best out of his cast and crew to create something of beauty.
This wine is a blend of Russian River Valley fruit where some of the vineyards produce grapes with notes of spice and earth while others add density and richness. This helps develop complexity in the wine. The grapes are harvested in the early morning hours so the fruit retains its vibrant natural acidity.
The grapes are fermented in open-top containers with daily punch-downs to extract maximum color and flavor. After fermentation the wine is placed in Burgundy-style barrels for 6.5 months. The barrels are 60 percent French oak, 40 percent Hungarian oak, 20 percent new and 80 percent used.
The winery offers a series of wines to reflect its own artistic interpretation of Sonoma County. The Director’s family of wines harness this vision with two distinct tiers: Director’s and Director’s Cut. Director’s is comprised of four classic varietals, which are grown in diverse vineyards across the entire expanse of Sonoma County.
By blending the fruit from a variety of geographic climates, they create wines that offer lush, ripe fruit flavors, a light silky texture, and soft, supple tannins—elegant wines designed for immediate enjoyment, which demonstrate Sonoma County’s unique character and style.
Director’s Cut wines were created as a way for wine “director” Corey Beck to craft wines that would reflect his own unique interpretation of the quintessential Sonoma wine. Corey’s vision for Director’s Cut embraces appellation-specific sourcing, meticulous fruit selection, and numerous blending trials so that the wines capture the distinct nuances of Sonoma’s microclimates in a highly refined style well suited to fine cuisine and premium wine lists.
Winery: One of the favorite jokes in the wine industry is you make a small fortune in the wine business by starting with a large fortune. It is a difficult business and many who get rich in other arenas, can’t compete in the wine industry.
Coppola is one of the exceptions. His wines are as good as his movies.
After his huge success with The Godfather movies, Coppola got into the wine business when he bought the former home and vineyard of wine pioneer Gustave Niebaum in Napa Valley’s Rutherford in 1975. The whole family pitched in for the first vintage in 1977 under the Niebaum-Coppola label.
He expanded in 1995 by buying the former Inglenook Winery chateau.
In 2006 the Coppolas bought the former Chateau Souverain winery in Geyserville and the company later became the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
Over the next four years Coppola worked to revitalize and expand the operation. New tasting rooms opened in 2010, with two restaurants, a swimming pool, a movie gallery, a performing arts pavilion and a park area with game tables and bocce courts.
Coppola says he was inspired by Denmark’s Tivoli Gardens to create a place for families to enjoy all the best things in life together.
Visitors to the property can choose from several tasting options, a tour of the bottling plant, a hike through the vineyards or a behind the scenes tour during harvest.
This property became the home for the popular Diamond Collection wines, 12 single varietals and two distinctive blends.
In describing how his winery turned out, Coppola said, “So when we began to develop the idea for this winery, we thought it should be like a resort, basically a wine wonderland, a park of pleasure where people of all ages can enjoy the best things in life – food, wine, music, dancing, games, swimming and performances of all types. A place to celebrate the love of life.”
The other Coppola brands include Director’s Cut, Director’s, FC Reserve, Archimedes, Eleanor, Pitagora, Gia by Gia Coppola, Rosso & Bianco, Sofia, Votre Sante and Su Yuen.
The company opened the Virginia Dare winery in Sonoma County last fall. It celebrates the myths, people, places and history that shaped American winemaking.
The name was revealed after releasing a series of four teaser wines – The White Doe, Manteo, Two Arrowheads, The Lost Colony – each revealing a different aspect of the Virginia Dare legend.
They also recently released two showcase wines, Virginia Dare Chardonnay and Virginia Dare Pinot Noir, both from the renowned Russian River Valley.
Hearty vegetable beef soup has all kinds of vegetables and noodles.
Hearty vegetable beef soup has all kinds of vegetables and noodles.

Goes with: Teri, Michael and I had this wine with homemade vegetable beef soup, one of my favorites. The wine was perfect, as the mellow fruit flavors offset the earthiness of the hearty soup.
For my soup I boil beef shank and pieces of beef stew meat, then add cut up potatoes, leeks, onions, turnips, parsnips, carrots, celery, canned diced tomatoes and parsley. Sometimes I add okra, when it’s fresh. I also add some beef concentrate and bouillon to add extra flavor. I also serve the soup over noodles.
I make a big enough pot of soup so we can eat it for several meals. If we don’t finish it within a week, I freeze whatever’s left and have it later.
The soup works with a lot of red wines, but Pinot Noir seems to work best because it doesn’t compete with the heaviness of the soup.
You could also drink this wine with pork tenderloin, brisket, grilled salmon, shepherd’s pie, truffle risotto, thyme and goat cheese potatoes or a mushroom and gruyere tart.

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