Thursday, May 17, 2007

Apocalypse Ciao

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2007 at 6:45 PM

What is it about an Academy Award that inspires some of America's finest to change their medium from reels of celluloid to food? Here is an example theory: Paul Newman, disgusted with the tasteless oil and vinegar of his post-Oscar dinner salad, thought to himself, "I can do better" — thus whole-heartedly delving into the market of prepackaged culinary delights. This phenomenon remains a mystery, yet one of the newer members of the famous-name food scene is highly acclaimed filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who personally brought a promotional "taste" of his entrepreneurial efforts to Atlanta last weekend.

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On May 13, the legendary Italian-American stepped out onto a small stage at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead to unveil the newest addition to his growing list of wines. In the past, Coppola has grown, fermented and marketed mainstream grapes such as merlot and cabernet. He is now taking an Old World Italian approach to the new selection by creating simple white and red table wines aptly named Rosso & Bianco. This new line of "Vino da Tavola" is to be enjoyed with any and every meal.

Coppola invited his patrons to enjoy several (dozen) bottles of each while he mingled and shared tales of his heritage and fame. While the "Bianco" is a crisp, fruity pinot grigio, Coppola mixed things up a bit with a blended "Rosso." Consisting of mostly zinfandel with smaller quantities of syrah and cabernet, this red packs all the jammy spice that one might expect from such a combo of grapes. Few partiers ever saw the bottom of their glasses, as Coppola's entourage of staff kept refilling with abandon.

Like any veteran of the Hollywood party scene, Coppola also provided his guests with a gift bag upon departure. Coined "Vinoflauge," the hefty canvas tote embellished with brown and green grapevines served as more than a simple vessel for schlepping out the posters, products and wine he provided. In the event that one might find himself in a volatile, war-ridden vineyard in Tuscany, this handy bag would remain camouflaged from possible enemies looking to pillage the loot inside.

As the party wound down, Coppola kissed the crowd goodbye with a sort-of-whimsical elegance enhanced by his disheveled hair and a large spaghetti-stain on the lapel of his white linen Mafioso-esque suit. Tired from the traveling circuslike infomercial he had just performed, he urged everyone to polish off the rest of the wine and slipped out the back door.

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