We have been reviewing Francis Coppola’s wines for several years now and are pleased to report steady improvements in the quality of winemaking under Corey Beck. The improvements have been the result of better sourcing of grapes from Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley, and through out California. Winemaking reveals restraint in both extraction and the use of oak, leading to wines of excellent balance and refinement.
We are also pleased to note that more attention is being given by Francis Coppola to the crafting of excellent quality Chardonnay and Pinot Noir under The Francis Coppola label and two relatively new labels, Bee’s Box and Virginia Dare. Bee’s Box is the newest label, a mid-priced wine offering fragrance, purity and flavor. The label was actually developed around the efforts of the winery to protect a swarm of bees that had invaded the winery’s property.
Virginia Dare is a slight cut above Bee’s Box in terms of price and quality. It show case wines are sourced from Russian River Valley vineyards. It is an appealing label drawing on the legends associated with Virginia Dare, myths, people and the history of American winemaking.
Francis Coppola 2015 Chardonnay Director’s Cut Russian River Valley ($23) 90 The Chardonnay Director’s Cut offers ripe aromas of tropical fruit toasted oak and a rich creamy mouth fee with concentrated flavors. Aged in French oak barrels. Francis Coppola 2015 Chardonnay Reserve Dutton Ranch Jewel Vineyard Russian River Valley ($38) 91+ This Reserve Chardonnay offers perfumed aromas of citrus and tropical fruit. It is crisp and dry on the palate with concentrated tropical fruit flavors. Aged 11 months in new French oak, it conveys a rich mouth feel, nicely integrated toasted oak notes and a vibrant finish. Francis Coppola 2015 Pinot Noir Director’s Cut Russian River Valley ($27) 90 This is a delicious fruit-forward Pinot Noir offering flavors of ripe plum and raspberry. It is full in the mouth with excellent concentration, sweet silky tannins, medium acidity and a satisfying finish. Enjoy it now. Francis Coppola 2015 Pinot Noir Votre Sante Anderson Valley ($14) 89 This is an attractive medium-weight Pinot Noir with a dark ruby color and fresh cherry and plum aromas. On the palate it offers spicy ripe fruit flavors, good acidity, firm round tannins, and a pleasant finish. Excellent value
Bee’s Box 2016 Chardonnay California ($19) 89+ The Bee’s Box Chardonnay offers aromas of orchard and tropical fruit with touches of vanilla. It is mouth filling with a creamy texture, excellent acidity and a crisp finish. Aged 9 months in French oak, 40% new. Sourced from vineyards throughout California. Bee’s Box 2016 Pinot Noir California ($19) 90 The Bee’s Box Pinot Noir is a fragrant wine offering aromas of of light cherry and raspberry. On the palate it is beautifully balanced, revealing lovely purity and freshness, not unlike a cool climate California Pinot Noir. Aged 9 months in French barriques, it displays excellent balance, firm round tannins and a long satisfying fresh finish
Virginia Dare 2015 Chardonnay Russian River Valley ($25) 90+ The Virginia Dare 2015 Chardonnay is rich in tropical fruit aromas and flavors. It is bright, tart and vibrant on the palate with excellent purity and balance, concentrated flavors and a long satisfying finish. Virginia Dare 2015 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley ($25) 91 The Virginia Dare Pinot Noir is a fragrant wine offering aromas of black cherry and black raspberry. Aged 10 months in French oak, it is beautifully balanced, revealing pure dark red fruit with hints of toast, vanilla and herbs, firm round tannins and a long satisfying finish.