If you’re a wine connoisseur, you probably find yourself in an odd conundrum when hitting the aisles of your local spirits store on a Friday evening. It’s 5 PM, you’ve got pressing plans with your couch and a quart of General Tso’s, and you should have been in your sweatpants nearly an hour ago. But, you’re standing in the middle of a wine store with a easy fixable problem: which wine will accompany you home? A quickly remedied conflict, unless, of course, you’ve developed a taste for a specific brand. Then, you’re stuck with a weightier dilemma: do you pick your favorite wine…or try something brand new?
If you’re at all like me, your hand pauses before snatching up your preferred Cabernet. The angel on your left shoulder says “Stick with what you know…you won’t be wasting your money!” The devil on your right shoulder, however, already has your wallet out. “You ALWAYS get that bottle…try something different!”
I don’t want to be a predictable wine taster, but I do adore the dependability of a good label. I’m no wine expert, but I’ve at least moved up from drinking bulk wine from the bottom shelf. I usually won’t spend over $20 on a bottle, but I also have a few wheelhouse selections that are decent for $10 or less. The only bottles of wine I’ve ever plunked some serious cash down for have been from Italy. In summary, I’m moderately discerning (with a few secret trysts with boxed wines and wine spritzers).
And in my attempts to further my wineducation, I rarely ever get the same bottle twice. To be honest, I can probably count on one hand the number of brands that have reappeared in my wine cooler: Debonné, Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells, and Apothic Red, for starters. When I find something I ardently adore, it’s tough to try new things.
Enter Coppola Wines. I began my love affair with the Coppola Winery a few years ago when I sampled a bottle of their Cabernet Sauvignon. It was one of those wines that sticks with you, even after you empty the bottle. I remember finding it highly entertaining that the wine I was drinking was also made by the same family who spawned The Godfather. I also find it entirely unacceptable now to watch that film series without drinking a glass of Coppola wine.
Their Cabernet was instantly and thoroughly grounded, a word I like to use when stumbling upon a great wine. It’s wasn’t overly fruity, the sugar presence was subtle, and the finish was smooth, through and through. I don’t know what it is about Cab Savs, but when you find a great contender, you really, really appreciate it.
That was the moment when Coppola Wines cursed me forever. I began to try more and more of their labels, extending my list of favorites to include my favorite splurges, the Red Zinfandel and the Black Label Claret.
The Red Zinfandel is a great wine that appeals to many: those with a palette craving berries with a light touch, and those who would prefer something with a sweet side. For example, my mother has notoriously raged against dry wines, opting for Lambrusco, Niagara, and Catawba. However, I think might stand a fighting chance at peaking her interest in dry wines with Coppola’s Zinfandel. Everyone has a friend like this….the one who “likes” wine as long as it somewhat resembles Welch’s grape juice. You try and try and try to get them on Team Dry, but nothing seems to work. I’m telling you: this Zinfandel has just the slightest bit of sweetness that it appeals to palettes dry AND sweet.
When we sampled this wine at a recent party, everyone who sampled it had great things to say: it’s rich, somewhat fruity, hints of raspberry, kind of sweet but grounded with depth. If the Red Label Zinfandel was a person, it would be the seemingly shy city librarian who secretly loves to hang glide and lead her paintball team to glory: reserved, but a lot of fun to be around after hours.
Then, there’s Coppola’s Claret…my long, lost friend…my Achille’s heel to my wallet…my rehab purchase after a really awful day at work. I almost need to work my stress level up so high that I feel like I deserve a bottle of this heavenly gem. Why is it heavenly? Well, it’s roped in gold string crafted by the angels and woven by fairies in the bewitching hour. So, of course it’s out of this world.
I remember hearing the word “claret” many years ago when working on a musical version of Jekyll & Hyde. It was said by someone sporting a very Victorian get-up, boasting a very impressive mustache and laboring on a pretentious walking cane. He ambled down the street, overly impressed with his untouchable morals and contributions to society. So, my earliest impression of anything labelled as a “claret” came with images of a dark, Victorian study emblazoned with candlelight, dusty encyclopedias, and expensive carpeting.
Coppola’s Claret is just as complex. When the dark wine hits your lips, you feel as if you’ve been whisked away to a murder mystery set in the 1800’s, brandy snifter in hand and ready to indulge in an epic game of whodunnit. It also boasts hints of berries, but also chocolate and oak. It’s a pleasant beginning and a pleasant finish…except when you realize you’ve emptied the bottle in one sitting.
As you can see, Coppola has made all of my future wine trips to the store almost unbearable. I just visited a wine outlet today, and I realized that Coppola Wines are like the ex-boyfriend you can’t seem to get over. Your love was so intense that it scared you both. You parted ways because you wanted to make sure you played the field before committing to one person for the rest of your life. But, every time you see them, you’re tempted to rekindle the flame. All other people pale in comparison to your one, true love.
This explanation is precisely how I feel about Coppola wines (minus the embarrassing mix tapes and saved voicemails). I so strongly fell in love with their brand, but I wanted to keep expanding my wine knowledge. So, I’d enjoy a bottle once in a blue moon, but tried my hardest to taste other labels. And every time I’d pass by the Coppola section, I’d sigh an angsty sigh, fraught with longing and indecision. I want to try other wines, but the Claret is just so good. Every new wine I’d taste, I would compare to Coppola.
The brand is trustworthy. It’s consistent. I’ve never had a bottle I didn’t like. So maybe, just maybe, it might be time for me to settle down and commit to saying that Coppola is my favorite wine label. I’ve gone out there, played the field. And Friday nights still lead me back to my couch and my Claret…and my Cabernet…and my Zinfandel. So, Coppola, I guess what I’m saying is…I’m just a girl, standing in front of several bottles of wine, asking them to love me. Can we make this relationship Facebook official?
Want to learn more about Coppola Wines? Want to take the ultimate wine pilgrimage and stay at their winery in California? For more information on their Zinfandel, Claret, and family of wines, please visit: