We ventured to the Frances Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, California to search for Wow! pairings of Coppola wines and three cheeses we had brought with us. On the grounds of the winery we enjoyed the beautiful outdoor patio near the dramatic curving-stairway leading from the parking area to the tasting room and guest services area. At a small outdoor table, Barbara, Norm and daughter Cynthia savored Wow! combinations of Coppola wines and the cheeses.
The winery grounds and guest areas are spectacular, as you would expect of a Frances Ford Coppola production. In the tasting room and restaurant areas are rooms and hallways filled with props, pictures, oscars, Tucker car, etc. from various Coppola movies. The lavish swimming pool and pavilion are beautiful and cater to visiting families.
Here are the highlights of this venture in our ongoing quest for those pairings that give our taste buds and olfactory nerve cells that exhilarating experience of “Wow! This wine and cheese combination is fantastic!”
We began our adventure at Trader Joe’s grocery store in Santa Rosa where we purchased three excellent, intriguing cheeses:
(1) a Dutch goat’s milk cheese (Potatoes Au Gratin).
(2) an Italian sheep’s milk cheese (Italian Rustico)
(3) a cow’s milk cheese, (six-month aged Gruyere)
Heading north on Highway 101, we took the Independence Avenue freeway exit in Geyserville which put us within a few yards of the archway entrance to the Coppola winery. With the assistance of Coppola tasting room expert Lori Reed, we selected three wines to pair with the cheeses:
(1) Francis Coppola Diamond Collection 2008 Pinot Grigio with its pear and citrus aromas and flavors of green apples, pink grapefruit and minerals.
(2) Francis Coppola Reserve 2007 Syrah (Mounts Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley) which is co-fermented with 3% Viognier to lift the aromatics and help accentuate it’s bright magenta color. This is a smooth, rich, alluring wine with gratifying flavors of black cherries, raspberries and plums accented with some smokiness, cloves and anise.
(3) 2006 Archimedes, a robust intriguing blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon from Alexander Valley grapes and 24% Cabernet Franc from Knights Valley grapes grown at the foot of Mount St. Helena. Incredibly smooth with intense aromas of dark sour cherries, cranberries and sandalwood with a very nice spiciness.
Our Wow! Combinations
We always want to remind you that there are no “wrong answers” in Wow! pairings. One person’s individual taste buds, olfactory nerve cells, and mind-state can produce a Wow! response to the interaction of specific wines with specific cheeses while another person may not get the Wow!ness of that combination, but does experience a Wow! effect from a completely different wine and cheese pairing. Therefore, all of your experiences of Wow! pairings are valid.
Norm, Barbara and Cindy each experienced “Wow!” interactions in our pairings:
(1) Barbara said “Wow!” to the Italian Rustico sheep’s milk, creamy, smooth, full-flavored cheese with a hint of lemon paired with the Pinot Grigio. Her experience was that the wine and cheese “totally complemented” each other. A very satisfying combination in total balance. Wow!
(2) Norm enjoyed an explosive Wow! with the combined flavor of the Archimedes wine with the Gruyere cheese. He described an accentuated cherry with a very long, pleasing after-taste. A Wow! discovery.
(3) Cynthia opined that the Dutch goat cheese Potatoes Au Gratin produced a “Zing! … explosion of a new combined flavor” that caused an involuntary “Wow!” exclamation as she savored the combination.
(4) All three of us experienced the Wow! effect of combining the Gruyere with the Syrah. For all of us the cheese enhanced the fruits of the wine and yet were perfectly complementary to each other. Three Wows! on this one.
Our bonus on this venture was enjoying the spectacular vistas from the elevated winery location. The Alexander Valley spread out before us with majestic Mount St.Helena (hell-Ee-na) in the distance. Jaw-dropping beauty.
On to future Wow! pairing discoveries
So that’s our report on this venture. We continue to thoroughly enjoy our Wow! pairings of specific wineries’ wines with specific cheesemakers/cheese vendors’ cheeses as we experience these pairings in picturesque locations around the country. Once again we encourage you to enjoy and explore pairings at your favorite scenic sites, to new beautiful and exotic locations, or at a party in your home. Wherever you and your family and friends experience special Wow! wine and cheese pairings, we would enjoy hearing from you about them.