An Italian Affair

A birthday dinner should always include three things: Great food, a memorable glass of wine, and the company of friends and family

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Blouse, Zara; Pants, Old Navy (here); Shoes, Report (here); Bag, Vintage.

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I celebrated my 22nd birthday this past week and was treated to a delightful dinner at director Francis Ford Coppola’s winery in Geyserville. Unlike other nights at Rustic, Tuesday is when the winery hosts “A Tavola” night, which means “to the table” in Italian. Inspired by Francis’s favorite way to dine, the evening entails a fixed menu of numerous courses rather than the usual menu. Dishes are prepared and brought out to the table by waiter/actors who take on the personas of one big, lively Italian family. An accordion player plays festive music while you dine and the actors visit your table to chat throughout the meal. The fixed menu included servings of antipasti, gorgonzola polenta (so divine!), salmon cakes, pastas, and other Italian specialities. Our waiter told us to “pace ourselves,” as courses would be brought out at a timely rate. Being the food lover that I am, I did not refuse a single serving (which was probably a mistake) because I was stuffed by the time the main dishes began arriving.

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Upstairs you’ll find movie props from the Coppola family, including this ship that appeared much larger in Sofia’s Marie Antoinette (2006).

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Francis gives you a peak at his Oscar collection!

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Check out The Godfather script, Francis’ notes, and even the famed desk from the film.

We brought a bottle of Jordan Cuvée by Champagne AR Lenoble – a new, exclusive release – that was a gift from my winemaker friend Rob Davis, and toasted to another fabulous year in my twenties! The champagne was absolutely impeccable. The bubbles released the most gorgeous fruity-meets-floral nose and the taste was crisp and effervescent. You can’t buy this champagne in stores, so it looks like I’ll be making numerous trips back to Jordan Winery this year!

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My sister and I were gifted bottles of Jordan Winery’s exclusive champagne, so we brought a bottle to celebrate.

After we finished off the bubbly, we ordered a bottle of the smooth 2014 Manteo Sonoma County Red Blend from Coppola’s other winery, Virginia Dare (formerly Geyser Peak Winery), just down the road. I’m admittedly not a usual red blend drinker, but this bottle has definitely made me a believer. Syrah, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petite Sirah give this blend rich layers and an undeniable silkiness. Its black pepper and pencil shaving aromas are exactly what I’m into right now. What a treat to drink back-to-back impressive wines!

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We ordered a bottle of the 2014 Manteo Sonoma County Red Blend for the table.

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Cheers to 22!

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