It's official: according to the website IMDb, Francis Ford Coppola's 33 credits as film director are bested, numerically, by his 44 current wine releases. A trivial comparison, or a revealing detail? Coppola's Geyserville winery, the former Chateau Souverain, was devised as a something-for-everyone wine fun camp ("Swirl," June 29, 2011); surely his manic roster of wines, from Alicante Bouschet to Zinfandel, belies a desire to not leave anyone out, from palates seeking the heart of darkness to those who simply want to pop a cork when Peggy Sue gets married. Here's a small sampling:
Sofia 2011 Blanc de Blancs, Monterey County ($19) A tribute to daughter Sofia, this frilly-labeled, pink-cellophane-wrapped bubbly has a clean, fresh laundry aroma with chemical overtones. The hue of a greyhound cocktail, with grapefruit flavors to match. The fizz and the acidity are a bit more aggressive than the packaging, but excellent mimosa material.
Director's Cut 2010 Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($21) Butterscotch candy aroma and baked apple flavor; crisp core cleans up the syrupy palate.
Francis Coppola Reserve, 2009 Dutton Ranch Pinot Noir ($36) A toasty Pinot, like an incense of baked rhubarb, chicory coffee and dark raspberry. Fairly brisk in the mouth, but finishing with overt, grainy tannins. Your barbecued tri-tip kind of Pinot.
Director's Cut 2009 Cinema, Sonoma County ($32) A Zin, Cab and Petite Sirah blend with warm aromas of berry jam, mu shu plum sauce and a dash of purple pigment. Gushing with pie-eating contest levels of blackberry flavor, a music-swelling, palate-tugging crowd-pleaser with a bittersweet finish.
Director's Cut, Dry Creek Valley 2009 Zinfandel ($25) Thick, jammy, growly Zin with furry tannins.
Diamond Collection, Magenta Label 2008 California Alicante Bouschet ($18) A historical curiosity, the kind of grape that Italian immigrants vinted in their Brooklyn basements during Prohibition. Odd aroma of dried fig, bicycle tire air and neutral flavor. Who knows, might be a surprise with hearty pasta.
Diamond Collection, 2009 Black Label Claret '1910 type' ($21) The gold netting over the bottle seems to be an homage to Gustave Niebaum's prudent packaging practices. Charred wood, briquettes, fig, soil-encrusted blackberry granola bar. Deep, frankly grapey flavor, broadly tannic but reasonably supple.
Archimedes, 2007 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon ($58) Named for Coppola's uncle, with a tribute to the Greek mathematician. Deep, dark wine with aromas of ultra-high cacao chocolate, orange zest and composted dark fruit. Chocolaty, rich, lush, intensely tannic, with a mouth-numbing finish for now; destined to pay handsomely in residuals for years to come.