An Offer You Can’t Refuse…

Tess Housholder

Francis Ford Coppola made three of the greatest movies ever in the 1970’s with The Godfather, Godfather Part II and Apocalypse Now. That’s not opinion. That’s fact. Acclaimed director Sidney Lumet said, no matter how many times I’ve seen them, if I’m flipping around and come across the Godfathers’ I’m drawn into watching them again. And the same for me as well for Willard’s trip up the river in Apocalypse.
But unlike Anthony Bourdain, I’m not obsessed with them. I feel no urge to rent a boat and go up the Congo River or explore the sunbaked hills of Corleone, Sicily, the way Bourdain did. But when I did a web search and discovered that Coppola’s Geyserville estate has got a bunch of movie memorabilia from his movies, thought it would be a fun place to visit, while enjoying some fine wines as well.

Godfather chair

And the visit was great. But when I wanted to sit in that tan leather Godfather’s chair, I was told by a Coppola employee that guests aren’t allowed to sit on it and when someone does, they have to send it out again to be refurbished. Oh well, just have to pretend I have all that power LOL. Interesting side note, Coppola didn’t own that famous desk and chair and had to call the movie furniture rental place and purchase them for his collection.

Rack of Lamb Madame Bali

But I wasn’t just there for movie memorabilia. I love Coppola’s wines. It was nice to sit down with the Trade Coordinator, Tess Housholder, as she guided the web gal and me thru 5 of the Coppola wines on offer at their Geyserville Estate. Out of the 5 we tasted, I liked the 2018 Reserve Cab the best, while of course, the web gal liked the sweet stuff so I bought her the 2016 Reserve Petite Sirah Dessert Wine. For my treats I bought a couple of T-shirts, one of the iconic Godfather logo and an Apocalypse Now image of its famous boat.

It was getting into late after-noon and we were starving, so after Tess finished doing the NSI quiz, she heartily recommended the Rustic, Francis’s Favorites restaurant. An offer we couldn’t refuse!! It was fantastic to sit on the patio with a not too hot sun and order. The web gal convinced me to order the Rack of Lamb Madame Bali, even though I had some the night before. You love rack of lamb, go for it. And was I ever glad I did. Just perfectly grilled and juicy and paired nicely with Francis Ford Coppola’s Director’s Cut Red Zinfandel. And the web gal appreciated my Chicken Mattone recommendation as she couldn’t finish a half a chicken at lunch, but it made for some great late-night snacking later on. Cheers and enjoy…

Chicken Mattone

What was last night’s dinner? Homemade lasagna from my grandmother’s recipe. Delicious.

What’s your favorite drink? A gin and tonic, with Hendrick’s gin preferably.

Director’s Cut Red Zinfandel

What’s your favorite music? I like alternative, with a slight bend to indie pop.

What’s your favorite restaurant to dine in Sonoma besides Rustic? I’ve only been here a month, but a co-worker tells me La Gare in Santa Rosa does French cuisine beautifully.

What makes a great winery? In a word, obsession. I know it sounds kind of crazy, but to make a great wine, you almost have to be totally obsessed with delivering the end product. And Coppola Wines attract that kind of people.

2016 Reserve Petite Sirah Dessert Wine

Favorite thing about living and working in Sonoma? I come from Colorado and I always wanted to work in the wine industry, so this is like a dream come true. Just love interacting with trades people and the tourists. So much fun.

Any brush with celebrity? When I was doing hospitality in New Orleans I met Drew Brees, nicest guy, didn’t care about being treated special, just a great guy.

Any wine, trip or restaurant on your bucket list? I’d love to go to Spain and dine at some of those Michelin starred restaurants. Now, that would be fun.

Final thoughts? Just love working here. Met some of the best people and it’s met all my expectations and more so.