Wine Review: Coppola Diamond Collection Ivory Label Cabernet Sauvignon (California)
My review of an excellent Cabernet Sauvignon from one of California’s biggest producers.
I won’t make any cheesy Godfather references or offer you a wine you can’t refuse (okay, maybe except for this one).
I’ve sampled almost the entire collection from famed movie director-turned vintner Francis Ford Coppola over several years and even visited and toured his winery, the adjacent movie museum (free!), and four-star restaurant in Sonoma County on the west side of Hwy 101. It’s stupendous. Highly recommended.
Everything Coppola puts out from his industrial-scale wine collection ranks as satisfactory to well above average, especially for the price. Whether by accident or not (probably no accident, since Coppola’s relatives are rooted in Calabria–one of Italy’s poorest regions), Coppola realized early on that wine can be enjoyed by everyone and need not be the exclusive domain of the rich and sophisticated. And so when he purchased Niebaum, founder of the Inglenook Winery, his ambition was to deliver an affordable experience where all people can have fun with Coppola wines — from his pedestrian $7 bottle of Rosso to higher-end reserve vintages costing considerably more, but mostly under $40.
The Diamond Collection Ivory Label Cabernet Sauvignon is right there in the middle, at the $17-a-bottle sweet spot. I pulled this luscious little lovely off the shelf a few nights ago, as she must have been hidden amongst wines that are commonly enjoyed within the 4-6 year time frame. At nearly ten years old, she was aged to perfection.
This selection drank as a full-bodied blend, with just the right balance of fresh fruit and front-end pleasantness, with a clean, smooth aftertaste. I give a slight nod to the Clarets, which are abundant in the Coppola wine canon. Claret is a British term used in reference to red Bordeaux-style wines. I think he does those slightly better, but no complaint here with the Ivory Label Cab Sauv which plucks grapes from all over the state, from El Dorado to Paso Robles. I’m also very high on his lone Oregon Pinot Noir, which I will review on another occasion.
Coppola’s production is now so vast he must buy grapes from other regions in California, but his products have never sacrificed on quality nor pressured the comfortable price points we Coppola loyalists are accustomed to. Pretty much with any Coppola offering, you can pull from the shelf and always be pleased.
Grade (100 point scale): 92
Value: (10 point scale): 6
Recommended: Yes (especially as a crowd-pleaser — any red wine drinker will enjoy)