Tag Archives: coppola wine

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.


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.


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

… an offer I couldn’t refuse.


Francis Ford Coppola wears a lot of hats. Most know him thanks to his epic movies (ahem, “The Godfather” series). Those of us who enjoy a glass of wine now and then see him through a different lens (pun completely intended). In the 1975, Francis and Eleanor Coppola purchased the Inglenook winery and pursued a venture as vintners. Luckily … the Coppolas do it well. Refreshingly, Coppola isn’t just the name on the bottles, but has a hand in everything that happens at the winery, and even designs the labels himself.

Being one who appreciates almost all things Coppola, I was so delighted to be invited to a Coppola wine dinner at Ruth’s Chris. Two of my favorite things at once? I’ll just say that they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. (Yeah, I did it)

Upon arriving, I was handed a glass of Sofia Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine. It was perfectly effervescent, slightly fruity, very dry, and the perfect way to start the evening. I’ve had it before in the individual serving size (which comes in a can, accompanied by a straw), but never from the bottle … and I liked it. Apparently Francis promised Sofia that he’d name a wine after her, and a year before her wedding, told Corey Beck (Coppola’s winemaker) that it was his charge to make it happen in time for her wedding. He made it happen, and the Sofia line followed.

Dinner started with a shellfish salad and was accompanied by the 2011 Diamond Chardonnay. I seldom enjoy (or even drink) white wines, but I very much enjoyed this one. It had a nice fruity flavor and a sweet finish. This will definitely make an appearance beside with my summery pork dish I make … is it May yet? (Mouth waters.)


The second course was mushroom risotto (ohhhhh my gosh) and was accompanied by the 2010 Votre Santé Pinot Noir. This.wine.was.amazing. Named with his grandmother in mind who always started meals with a toast of “to your health” in French (à votre santé), the wine is deliciously complex and paired beautifully both with the risotto and the main course. The lightness of the wine was surprising for its complexity.

Third came the lobster … oh so much lobster, Rockefellered, and accompanied by an 8oz filet of buttery soft beef cooked to perfection. Paired with the 2010 Diamond Claret, I couldn’t stop eating and drinking. (My scale hated me this morning, but it was so worth it.) Every bite and sip brought out another facet of the wine’s flavor, which was incredibly rich. The Claret is a red blend that pays homage to the Inglenook vintners … it’s their signature red, and for a reason. Ringing in at just $21, this wine will be a must-have for future filet dinners, and the gold netting on the bottle makes it feel so much more expensive than it is*.

Our last course was a decadent chocolate flourless “sin cake”, and the final wine pairing was the 2010 Director’s Cut from the Alexander Valley (even I know that’s a great region). The bottle is incredibly unique (they had to purchase a special machine from Australia just to affix the label to the bottle!) and the wine it holds is, also. Complex and thick (the way any red wine lover who likes to chew their wine would love), the Director’s Cut is aged in French oak barrels and has a dark, bold color.

In conclusion, the only way the meal could have been any better was if I didn’t have to stop eating and drinking … and I had a cigar.

*Most of the Coppola wines range from $12-21.

**I attended this event free of charge.**