The four of you as old as I am will easily remember The Godfather, director Francis Ford Coppola's 1972 movie about the Corleone family and its Mafiosi machinations. That's the one where the guy woke up with a horse head in his bed-and on the heels of that scene (and Marlon Brando's landmark performance), Coppola was thrust into the ranks of media darlinghood. He's gone on to produce and direct a million films and dive into another million enterprises since then, but life caught up to him in 1990, when his Zoetrope Productions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
It would have been way too bad if that bump in the road had derailed his forays into the wine industry. Geyserville, Calif.'s Francis Coppola Diamond Collection, for instance, put out a gem of a Claret in 2004. It's really, really, really dry and really, really, really red, which means it's exceptional with meats and pastas and heavier cheeses. And like any self-respecting Claret, this one's got a bit of a gritty finish, which means it wants you to handle it with care. A glass or so is plenty, thanks-any more, and that nagging aftertaste will spoil the rest of your gustatory escapade.
Coppola Diamond Collection fare goes for around $17 a bottle, and you can find it pretty easily. It's very decent stuff indeed-no small thanks to the entrepreneurial Coppola himself, who'd never let a little thing like a Chapter 11 get in his way.