Wine of the Week: Oscar-winning wines

WASHINGTON — Hurrah for Hollywood! This Sunday, the elite and the glamorous will converge on the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles for the 90th Academy Awards ceremony.

Commonly known as The Oscars, the evening is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to honor the best films, actors, actresses, technicians, directors and producers of 2017. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel will host the ceremonies for a second consecutive year — a rare feat.

Equally as rare as Kimmel’s repeat performance are tickets to the event. The vast majority of interested parties have to be content watching the festivities from the comfort of their favorite chair or sofa.

But this year, you don’t have to be a complete outsider: You can sip and savor the same wines the stars are drinking during the award show from the comfort of your own home. Once again, Piper-Heidsieck and Francis Ford Coppola Winery are returning as the sole Champagne and wine selections poured at this year’s Oscars and Governors Ball.

The formidable Champagne House, Piper-Heidsieck, was founded by in 1785 by Florens-Louis Heidsieck in the city of Reims, in the Champagne region of France. After the passing of Florens-Louis, his nephew, Christian Heidsieck, and his cousin, Henri-Guillaume Piper, took over the operations. However, the two names were not combined into Piper-Heidsiek until 1839. After the passing of Christian — and after a respectful period of mourning was observed — Christian’s cousin (Piper) married his widow. It makes for good drama and therefore appropriate to include it at the Oscars.

The Nonvintage Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne from France is all dressed up in a special limited-edition bottle for the big night. The flavors are as complex as the plot twists in some of the movies, with notes of green apples, citrus and slate-laden minerality that covers the tongue. Hints of roasted nuts and abundant acidity combine to provide a wonderful, crisp finish and a nice counterbalance to the rich chocolate and sweet strawberry. While the special edition is offered in magnum, a full-size bottle will only set you back $30.

Of course, the name Francis Ford Coppola is synonymous with Hollywood. After all, Coppola himself has been honored with 14 Oscar nominations and six wins, including the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Award. To honor this year’s 90th anniversary, the filmmaker-turned-vintner produced two limited edition wines specifically for this year’s ceremony and Governors Ball. The “Oscars 90th Edition” includes a rich 2016 chardonnay, as well as a classic, earthy 2015 cabernet sauvignon.

The Oscars 90th Edition 2016 Coppola Chardonnay is a single-vineyard bottling from Gail Ann’s Vineyard in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County, California. This vineyard is a parcel of Dutton Ranch that resides in the warmest part of the appellation producing expressive tropical tones. The palate has a delightful touch of toasty oak nuances that complements flavors of white peach and juicy tropical fruit. The smooth, creamy, vanilla notes give depth on the medium-bodied finish. $35

Dramatic in character, the Oscars 90th Edition 2015 Coppola Cabernet Sauvignon is a robust blend from the Alexander Valley. Its mouth-filling flavors are vivid and juicy, elevated by a framework of velvety tannins. Full-bodied and beautifully textured, this wine’s flavor complexity is heightened by the addition of malbec and cabernet franc. This full-bodied wine has a black fruit profile that’s complimented by well-balanced oak flavors. $35

In addition to the two Director’s Cut special edition labels, Francis Ford Coppola Winery is launching a new Director’s Cut limited-edition wine available to consumers. The 2014 Coppola Final Cut is a single vineyard malbec that’s a true blockbuster featuring an interactive label that replicates the experience of zoetrope animation. Simply turn the label on the bottle by hand and watch the show.

In the film business, the “Director’s Cut” allows filmmakers to present their own creative vision of a story when it differs from that of the studio. “Final Cut,” on the other hand, represents the version of the film the studio believes will be most appealing to moviegoers. It boasts a lavish fragrance of boysenberries, cassis, graphite, mocha, and a trace of crushed fresh mint. Intensely lush with a supple palate of well-integrated tannins, gorgeous flavors of black cherries, brambly berries, and anise create a big, showy wine that’s enlivened by vivacious spice notes and a hint of bramble on the finish. $65

Lastly, to celebrate the Oscars in style, Francis Ford Coppola Winery will also be pouring Director’s Cut sauvignon blanc ($21), Director’s Cut chardonnay ($23), Francis Coppola Reserve Pinot Noir ($42) and Archimedes ($100) at the Oscars ceremony and Governors Ball.


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