Russ Winton: Wine List

Wine Line: Godfather hits some high notes

Dear Mr. Coppola:

The editor and I had the opportunity to stop by your winery about a month ago, and we were a bit disappointed.

We were looking forward to splashing around in your beautiful 3,600-square-foot pool, but Mother Nature wasn’t very cooperative. It rained. This also canceled playing bocce ball, checkers, chess and backgammon, as well as the live music you have every weekend on the Pavilion Stage.

We were looking forward to renting one of those really cool cabins for the day, but I guess that will have to wait for another visit. Don’t get me wrong, Godfather, er, Mr. Coppola, our time there was not a complete zonk. The fabulous food, the wine and expert service saved the day.

First of all, whoever is in charge of your employees should get a raise. Everyone we dealt with was helpful and pleasant, from our tour guide to our restaurant servers. Considering the gloomy day and the rain forcing everyone inside, your team performed well and the service was excellent.

The tasting of your wines was informative and fun. It’s nice to see that you have a gratis tasting as well as a $5 and $10 tasting for the reserve wines. I think other wineries should follow suit.

I was glad to see that your restaurant wine list had other Sonoma County wines available at moderate mark-ups, which is a nice touch. Your Diamond Label Wines were the bargain of the day. Thank you for the reasonable wine pricing.

Your restaurant, Rustic, was the highlight. The menu took me about 25 minutes to read. We shared an order of Nonna’s Anchovies for a starter. I had the pizza vesuvio, half-folded with ricotta, ham and salami on the inside and mozzarella, ham, mushrooms, black olives and artichokes on the outside. The editor ordered the short ribs Argentine- style with chimichurri sauce, served with grilled seasonal vegetables. We ordered the Diamond Label Malbec, which made for a killer (oops!) lunch.

The added bonus was the movie gallery. Your five decades of filmmaking provided some amazing movie memorabilia: Don Corleone’s desk, your five Oscars and, best of all, the original automobile from the movie “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” I love that movie and I shared his dream with my economics classes for many years. Now I am happy to share your dream, the Francis Ford Coppola Winery, a place where families can come together and enjoy food, wine, music, games and swimming. Cheers to you, Godfather, er, Mr. Coppola! Thank you for a wonderful day in your wine wonderland.

RUSS WINTON,

Wine Line

What’s on our table

I'm heading to Mariposa on July 29 to taste wine at the Casto Oaks tasting room to try their 2008 cabernet sauvignon, a gold medal winner at the SF Chronicle Tasting (I hear the '09 is even better). I’m taking a bottle to Savoury’s (no corkage on local wines) for a great meal and then I’ll cross the street to hear the fabulous blues of the Bob Tones in Art Park. Great wine, food and music, just 37 miles away. See you there. Cheers!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Find me on Facebook or at rgwinton@yahoo.com.

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