a coffee drinker’s guide to the coppola family wines

Francis Coppola asked me to write an “enjoyable and useful” piece about the wines he has dedicated to members of his family. I said of course! I’d love to!
Then reality set in. Overlooking the fact that it’s a seemingly daunting task to come up with something that Francis would deem not only enjoyable but also useful, I then realized that I know next to nothing about wine. I do know that white goes with fish and poultry and red goes with beef and… was it pasta? OK so I know less than next to nothing…
So how could I write about Francis Coppola’s wine? Simple. Excuse the pun but it all can be distilled down to a simple formula for what makes these wines so exceptional.
A. Francis is a passionate man
B. Francis is a true entrepreneur
C. Francis is passionate about his family
D. Francis is passionate about wine making
E. He’s produced high-quality wines that represent the love he has for his family
A + B + C + D = E
If I had to come up with one word to describe this world-renowned entrepreneur, it’d be PASSIONATE. He brings a sense of passion to everything he does, be it film, food, entertaining, or wine making. But if then you asked me what he’s most passionate about (stop asking me questions!),  it would most certainly be family. FFC is the Patriarch of a large, diverse, ultra-creative group of individuals. Everyone is made to feel welcome and accepted, and the more kids around, the better!
I may not know about wine, but I know about passion, and I know about family, and I know a little about coffee. Well how is that relevant, you ask (what did I say about asking questions!)  Think about it – wine enthusiasts aren’t that much different than coffee enthusiasts. Coffee beans are grown all over the world, there are different ways to process them, different ways to roast them – endless variety! Sounds like wine, right? And both wine and coffee enthusiasts can lean towards being a little fanatical…
So from the perspective of coffee, family and passion, I took a tour through the two winery web sites (-insert here-) to see what I could come up with. It doesn’t hurt that I’ve also taken a tour through one of their wineries as well – which really helps seeing how everything comes together to produce such a refined product and experience. Fancy!
The Francis Ford Coppola and Inglenook wines have several product lines developed by and dedicated to members of Francis’ immediate family. His family inspires him to create. So he created for them. Like different coffee blends and roasts have different personalities, so do different varieties of grapes fermentation techniques. And Francis has managed a most unique accomplishment with the wines he’s created for his family – he’s matched the wine personality to the family member’s personality. I’ll give you a tour based on the things I DO know about… (along with some help from www.francisfordcoppolawinery.comand www.inglenook.com )
Francis’ son Roman helped develop the RC Reserve, a bold take on Syrah. (Syrah, for us uninformed, is a dark-skinned grape grown all over the world. Its taste varies based on the climate in which it was grown. And after multiple Googling attempts, I still don’t know how to pronounce it. Sorry). Roman is a savvy businessman in his own right, as well as an awfully snappy dresser. (Anyone who models his wardrobe after Marcello Mastroiani has GOT to make a great wine!) Roman chose to develop a wine that, according to the Inglenook web site, combines elements of both the Old World and the New World. Which really mirrors Roman’s body of work quite perfectly. Old School meets New School. He keeps the family tradition alive in a thoroughly modern – and dapper – way. I imagine the RC Reserve to be like a hearty Italian Roast coffee, roasted about 3 days prior to you receiving it, grinding it finely in your burr grinder, and making yourself a fabulous cappuccino with your fancy Italian espresso machine…
And next we make our way over to the Gia collection. Gia is the granddaughter of Francis and Ellie and is in her own right an accomplished artist and filmmaker. She brings a whole new perspective to the art world and the wine world. (A brief perusal of her photographs makes me feel 20 years younger, at least!)
Her wines are meant to appeal to younger wine drinkers – perhaps people just starting to learn about wine (or people like myself who are old but still don’t know a thing). Effervescent, bright, dynamic… the wine offerings are lighter, unpretentious – what we would expect from youth. I could translate this into coffee as follows – she would be a medium roast, from, say, South America, maybe a Brazilian roast with a little more acidity and bite. Bright on the tongue. Served black with sugar.
The Sofia collection of wines is next on the tour. The only daughter of Francis and Eleanor, Sofia is – this may come as a surprise – also an accomplished film director like her father. She brings an air of softness and femininity to the craft, and the wines model this perfectly. She’s soft-spoken, kind, and so very elegant. If I could manage it, I would model my wardrobe after her. But sadly my budget doesn’t allow for it, and I’d look pretty strange wearing my Louis Vuitton feather shirt to Wal-Mart.
The Sofia wines are delicate, light, and subtle. This would be your perfectly made latte. The ratio of sweet whole milk and bold strong espresso is just right.
Lastly, we make our way to the Eleanor wine. Saving the best for last. Francis and Eleanor have been married over 50 years. Their accomplished family is quite a feat in itself, but to make a marriage and a true partnership last for 50 years? Amazing! And so I expect the Eleanor wine to be nothing less than spectacular.
Relationships are a work in progress. And although Francis and Ellie’s relationship has been a long one, the Eleanor wine has only been around for a few years and is itself still a work in progress. The FFC Winery website says this wine has depth and complexity. Ah, all the best relationships do! I imagine the Eleanor to be a medium-dark roasted bean from the region of Indonesia. Earthy, sultry, and a little funky – in a good way!
And so concludes the winecoffeetour. The collections of wine that Francis has dedicated to his family are themselves inspiring – we can see how much his family means to him. It’s reflected in the quality of the product and the love that pervades them all. Bravo FFC!

I hope to be able to drink them all one day…
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