Category Archives: Event Recaps

A Day with the Coppolas

I don’t like to play the “I got to do this and you didn’t” card, but I was recently invited to a couple events that were pretty incredible that I HAD to share with my readers.

I  was invited to spend an evening (along with about 100 of my closest friends) at Lakewood Theater with the one and only Francis Ford Coppola.  Even more amazingly, FFC Winery invited me to join Francis’ wife, Eleanor, for their “Women in Wine” lunch.

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I’ll just say this … the whole day was incredible.  At lunch, I was among some of the most illustrious women in the Dallas wine scene in the Red Slippers Suite at the Hotel Zaza.  The fashionable gaggle of ladies was greeted with a glass of the Coppola Winery’s sparkling wine, Sofia Blanc de Blanc, and headed up to the suite for our three-course lunch by Dragonfly.  We were asked to go around the table and toast the woman to our left and right, but were told that Francis’ superstition was that, if you didn’t maintain eye contact during a toast, you were guaranteed eight years of bad sex.  Just to be safe … we all followed the instructions!

Each course welcomed incredible conversation to go with the great food and the perfectly-paired wines.  The first course was a Bluepoint Oyster Spring Roll with Tobiko Caviar Creme Fraiche paired with another glass of their Sofia Blanc de Blanc.  While we enjoyed this, Eleanor asked each of us to share why we love wine.  Each woman’s answer was incredibly different, but intriguing.

Eleanor then told us a bit about her life with Francis.  Did you know that she’s an accomplished film and sculpture artist who has shown throughout the world, an author, a documentary filmmaker?  She is, no doubt, the strong woman that made the man.

Our second delicacy was a Baby Kale Salad with house-cured duck ham paired with the 2012 Gia Pinot Noir, named for and created by Francis’ grand-daughter and director/screenwriter of the soon-to-be-released “Palo Alto”.  This wine is not yet available to the public, but when it is, get your hands on it as it’ll be perfect for a summer dinner on the patio.

The third course was Roasted Prime NY Strip Steak with Shitake Mushrooms paired with Eleanor’s own wine, Eleanor.  Eleanor had a large part in creating the wine whose label bears her name and her very own art, and the wine was as complex as the woman herself.

Dessert … oh dessert … was a buffet of some of Dragonfly’s favorites with more Sophia.  Dessert was actually sad as it meant that the experience was coming to an end.

Before adjourning, we were all given permission to call our gracious and dynamic hostess “Ellie”.  I’ll probably stick with Eleanor, but knowing there’s the option is kind of … awesome.

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The evening held as many delights, including light bites and various Coppola wines poured generously throughout the event venue, the historic Lakewood Theater.  Francis spoke about his lifelong passion of filmmaking, his accidental yet fortuitous foray into the wine business, and most importantly, his family.  Hearing such an inimitable man speak about the small things in life that he enjoys, like writing songs for his grandchildren, was a real treat.

Overall, it was a really memorable day.  As much as I loved the Coppola wines, knowing the story behind some makes me love them even more!

Photo Credit: Lisa Stewart

Event Recap: La Marca Happy Hour at Times Ten Cellar

I am lucky to have some friends who can pinch hit when my day job heats up.  Thanks to Rachael Kohler for stepping in! (She’s also a legit sommelier, so her notes are going to be better than mine ever could be anyway!)  


written by Rachael Evans Kohler

Times Ten Cellar hosted the event, and was as rustic yet elegant as ever.

I was lucky enough to grab a minute with Carmen J. Castorina, Director of Communications for E&J Gallo Winery, and wine maker of La Marca, Fabrizio Gatto.  Both gentlemen were extremely charming and very enthusiastic on America’s perception of prosecco, and particularly the big interest from Texans!
I had the good luck to sit next to Meredith Steele, a food blogger/freelance food writer.  Her perception of the wine was interesting because she instantly commented on how friendly the wine was to the charcuterie we were enjoying. Not all wines are pleasant around cured meats, aged cheeses, and spiced sauces!
  • La Marca is now a DOC* and produces 35% of all prosecco in it’s designated region- biggest producer
  • They only produce this sparkling wine using the Charmat method, basically fermenting the juice in large tanks rather than inside the bottles as they do in Champagne.  This keeps it very light, fruity, and fresh.
  • They are not  trying to make a serious, intense, yeasty champagne-style wine, but rather a fan-pleasing style that goes with anyone, any food, and any time.
  • They’ve come a long way in the last 8 years, from two guys driving across the US trying to sell this unknown wine, to flying around the country to meet the demands of interested buyers.
  • The blue label and packaging are extremely close to “Tiffany Blue”- a point they swear is just coincidence … but one that works in their favor!
For the hour that I was there, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  La Marca accomplished its intensions by opening up conversations, turning strangers into friends, and the demise of a delicious appetizer by everyone at the table.
*DOC means ”controlled designation of origin”.  Basically it is a classification of where a product came from. Read more.