Francis Ford Coppola knows movies. He’s also become a successful winemaker and creator of www.FrancisFordCoppolaWinery.com.
The two art forms come together and are honored in his new Director’s Great Movies wines. The labels from artist Laurent Durieux present the film themes – in the case of the initial vintage, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1939), King Kong (1933) and Jaws (1975).
The wines are from Coppola’s winemaker, Corey Beck, whose creativity and imagination turn each into a variation on a theme. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, for example, sent us tripping down the road with Dorothy and her companions, Toto, The Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion. Coppola calls it a wine that “will keep you coming back for more.” We have not been avid Merlot fans in the past, but this rich and engaging 2014 version enchanted us.
A Coppola spokesman, Marlow Bruce, director of p.r. and communications, calls the movie business part of Coppola’s wife and recalls that a poster he saw by Durieux initially gave him the idea. “He figured it would be a great thing to put on a Coppola wine label, and it was a natural connection.”
The concept, Bruce observes, is based in the artwork labels and more Director’s wines will be forthcoming, some limited editions and others that will stay. “It’s an evolving project and we’re excited about it. The current Coppola Great Movie wines are duel appellation, so we’re playing with what sources we have and what opportunities we have in the future for grapes from different regions.” Once the winery received licensing from the movie houses, he explains, it was good to go.
Customers are responding favorably to the new line – “wonderfully,” declares Bruce. “People really love the eclectic artwork and the novelty of the wines, as well as the juice in the bottle.”
“I originally met artist Laurent Durieux when he approached me about a Godfather movie poster he had created,” says Coppola. “His posters are not in association with the movies’ advertising campaigns, but are his creative interpretations of the films. I immediately saw the passion in his artwork and thought his posters would transform into great wine labels for my Director’s wines, giving the brand a more vibrant and recognizable movie tie-in,” says Francis Coppola. “I’ve chosen several movies that I think are exceptional. I’m presenting them almost as a recommendation, with the wine being a collector’s item.”
The Wizard of Oz vintage Merlot offers ripe plum and blackberry notes as well as hints of tobacco, chocolate-covered acai berry and spices. It’s 68 percent Sonoma County and 32 percent Monterey County grapes.
King Kong is a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon with strong notes of blackberry, an oaky nose and a creamy texture. It’s 73 percent Sonoma County grapes and 32 percent Monterey County. The third wine, Jaws, is a Chardonnay with ripe, tropical fruits – think pineapple and lemon – and is oaky with good minerality. The grapes are 65 percent Sonoma County and 35 percent Monterey. The three wines range from $21 to $24 SRP.