Sipping with the stars: Highly rated, celebrity-branded wines



Celebrity winemakers show their stuff

Jim Nantz

If you’re looking for a nice syrah to pair with dinner or just a light pinot grigio to enjoy with an intimate gathering, we have a few famous friends who can offer recommendations.

Indeed, these are celebrities who have turned their love of wine into a business and putting their names and/or money where their incredibly discriminating palates are. And while some are better than others, many are worth your time and hard-earned cash. The following are a few to consider.

Jim Nantz, who this week calls the Masters Tournament for CBS, has been making wine with his partner Peter Deutsch since 2009 and the result is The Calling (www.thecallingwine.com) of Sonoma Valley, Calif., which produces high-quality cabernet, chardonnay and pinot noir with prices ranging from $32 to $70. In fact, its 2014 Fox Den Vineyard pinot was a favorite of Wine Enthusiast, which rated it a 91.

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery (www.francisfordcoppolawinery.com) of Napa Valley, Calif., has developed a loyal following over the years with its myriad varieties of wines and its Sofia sub-brand that has also made inroads. Some have movie themes (the Apocalypse Now red blend; the Director’s Cut line) while others are named for family members (the Eleanor red after his wife; Sofia for his fellow filmmaker daughter) and prices range from $12 to $120. Stars include the 2017 Sofia Blanc de Blancs and a 2014 Black Label Claret Diamond cabernet sauvignon, which Wine Enthusiast gave a 90.

Washington State native Kyle MacLachlan also has a passion for the grape as owner and vintner of Pursued by Bear wines (www.pursuedbybearwine.com) of Columbia Valley, Wash., which produces small-lot reds and a rosé of which they’re particularly proud. Its cabernet sauvignon has gotten much attention, with Wine Enthusiast giving its 2012 vintage a 93. Prices are $60-70.

While they were married, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie enjoyed a shared love of wine and in 2011 they bought a French estate in Provence and created Chateau Miraval (www.miraval.com), which specializes in rosés. In fact, its Cotes de Provence rosé was named one of the top 100 wines in the world by Wine Spectator in 2012. Since sales are mainly to restaurants, prices are not listed on its website.

And if you’re looking to blow a little money, look no further than Armand de Brignac (armanddebrignac.com), a partnership between rapper Jay-Z and Moet Hennessy. Its champagnes are decidedly high end with prices starting at $200 and its star being the Brut Gold, which clocks in at around $299 and a 93 rating from Wine Spectator in 2016.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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