I spotted this in a Publix supermarket and having never tried a Coppola wine, I had to have it. These wines aren’t easily available in the UK so I picked it up to bring home (although I’ve since found you can buy it from Amazon UK). Publix supermarkets are lovely, they have a Co-op ownership model and a Waitrose/John Lewis approach to service and quality. The only downside, beside slightly higher pricing, that I found was an inability to dash in and buy a few items and dash straight back out. Everyone wanted to say hello and pass the time of day with a little chat about the weather, even more so than is normal for the South.
The wine bottle was interesting to European eyes. It comes in a wire cage, like an old style Rioja and in a heavy broad shouldered bottle like a Californian wine. I do not know why. It calls itself a claret, when any British person knows that a claret is a red Bordeaux. I guess that now American wines can no longer legally style themselves Bordeaux, Burgundy or Rioja willy nilly they opt for less definitive and legally defensible terms like “Claret”. Whether appellations will survive an America First approach to trade and products remains to be seen.
Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection “Claret” ’14 itself is a bright, cheerful red, it smells cheerful too with lots of sweet fruit. It isn’t exactly sweet, but tastes off dry, with a medium acidity. The tannins are all ripe and soft. It’s medium bodied with an alcohol level just on the high side of medium. It tastes of sweet fresh fruit – plums, damsons and morello cherries. There’s a little soft, toasty spiciness on the tail, but not a great deal of lasting flavour. It’s more-ish in a cherry pop kind of a way. I wouldn’t have placed it as a Bordeaux, I checked to make sure there was no Zinfandel in there.
The wine is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec, although there’s no indication of proportions. It’s blended from vineyards across California.
I enjoyed this wine and found it easy, pleasant drinking. From a UK perspective it was reasonably priced at the time, although global exchange rates are in a state of flux making comparisons unfair. Once you added UK Excise Duty this wine is around the £20 mark and I think £5 of that would be spent on the Coppola name and another quid on the curious packaging. I think I’d stick with an actual Claret, or opt for a Californian wine that wasn’t trying so hard to look European.