Francis Ford Coppola has directed great films for four decades. He also has made memorable wines more than half as long.
His Rubicon Estate is known best for exceptional reds, notably the namesake wine. But the property yields a stirring white, too. The current release: the 2008 Blancaneaux ($48), a full-bodied and distinctive blend of roussanne, marsanne and viognier. It's a creamy, concentrated, minerally union, with hints of pear and tropical fruit, as well as peach and citrus. Rubicon doesn't make a lot of Blancaneaux. If you come across a bottle, enjoy it with rich shellfish or pork.
For a more economical California taste of roussanne, try the 2006 Zaca Mesa Roussanne ($25), which also has a mineral note and a suggestion of apricot. The Santa Ynez wine is a flavorful partner for halibut or swordfish and roasted chicken. Going red: the 2006 Zaca Mesa Syrah ($23), which has traces of spice and more of cassis. The husky wine complements grilled beef and tuna.
Long Island's Wine of the Week
It's always rewarding to follow the wine trail of Roman Roth, winemaker at Wölffer Estate in Sagaponack. His own label, The Grapes of Roth, identifies some easily recommended wines. Think about cool weather and look for the 2004 The Grapes of Roth Merlot ($50), a big, brick-red winner, full-bodied, with cherry and strawberry notes. Expect the wine to mature for five or six years. And pour it on a late-autumn day, alongside a steak, roast duck, venison or very ripe cheese.