Movie & Wine Pairing


Café Zoetrope Merlot 2014

The Godfather (1972)

Francis Ford Coppola penned much of the screenplay for The Godfather in Café Trieste, an Italian espresso house that’s around the corner from where Café Zoetrope now sits. This spicy, intense red is just the kind of wine to sip while taking in Coppola’s sweeping Mafia epic, from the boisterous opening wedding scenes to the pivotal moment when Michael Corleone is finally acknowledged as the new ‘Don.’


From the Sonoma estate of Academy Award winner
(and long-time wine buff) Francis Ford Coppola comes this excellentvintage California Merlot. Crafted by Corey Beck, Café Zoetrope is an eponymous homage to Coppola’s Italian-inspired San Francisco eatery. The premium grapes were sourced from top-sited vineyards across Paso Robles and beyond (a dash of Petite Sirah adds extradeep color and rich structure, and time in French oak imparts added spice). Here’s Corey: “We really wanted to create a wine with balance – lots of intensity of flavor with a velvety mouthfeel. And of course, it had to go great with classic Italian dishes.”


2014 was an excellent year across California (it was, in fact, the third in a string of terrific vintages – many winemakers we've talked to have said it may even be the best). Steady, mild temperatures throughout summer and minimal rainfall helped winemakers up and down the coast achieve rich, deeply concentrated wines.


Merlot makes some of the most expensive and sought-after wines in the world. For instance: Merlot-dominant Pétrus is one of Bordeaux’s iconic wines, selling for $1,000-plus a bottle. Generally known for its smoothness, forest fruit aromas and flavors of plums and black currants, Merlot loves to be barrel-aged, often taking on even more silky richness, plus notes of tobacco and spice.


At the actual Café Zoetrope, Corey’s tribute red may be served with Pizza Funghi e Salsicce (pizza topped with Italian sausage, mushrooms, mozzarella and grated Parmigiano) or the Asado de Tira (Argentine-style beef short ribs). At home, you could easily pair this versatile red with pasta and a meaty ragù, Italian-seasoned pork tenderloin or roast beef with fresh rosemary.

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