• Tina, Nancy and Frank Sinatra Jr. are banking on the fact that 2007 was a “very good year” (possibly even a classic one) for Napa Cabernet as they announce the launch of Sinatra Family Estates Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, made in partnership with winemakers John Schwartz and Danielle Price. Unlike some other celebrity wine packagers (we’re looking at you, Rolling Stones and Savanna Samson), the winemakers have shown a rare level of restraint with the bottle’s label, choosing to print the phrase “Come Fly With Me,” rather than a clichéd image of the late crooner. The wine is only available in six-bottle cases, and each case includes a recording of Sinatra’s 1957 Come Fly With Me album. Eagle-eyed celebrity wine watchers will note that this isn’t the first wine to capitalize on Sinatra’s enduring legacy, though the Cab Frank Sinatra California 2001 (whose winemakers are not involved with the current Sinatra wine project) was rated just 77 points in a Wine Spectator blind tasting, and prompted our own James Laube to quip that it “was bad enough to turn you away from wine and onto the hard stuff.” As the Chairman might have said, “That’s life.”
Tunick's subjects are wearing nothing but Champagne spray in this Miami Beach photo.
• When it comes to increasing exposure, even Paris Hilton knows that going the full monty is a sure-fire way of grabbing attention. On Oct. 3, Greenpeace volunteers will bare all in a Burgundy vineyard to raise awareness about the effects of global warming on winegrowing. According to the organization, each year vintners have to deal with increasingly early harvest dates, hailstorms and heat waves, all brought about by climate change. The symbolic event will be immortalized by New York-based photographer Spencer Tunick who has staged mass nude artworks worldwide over the past 15 years. The owner of the vineyard, yet to be publicly revealed, is fond of Tunick’s work and even participated in one of his living sculptures in Lyon back in 2005. “As an artist, many of my experiences viewing art in galleries and museums have been connected to the party and social gathering, intertwined with the consumption of wine for pleasure,” said Tunick. “Bringing attention to wine will bring attention to other vegetation that is being affected by climate change in other areas.”
• Jess Jackson, the founder of Kendall-Jackson, raised eyebrows earlier this month when he petitioned to rename the 3,128-foot Black Mountain as Alexander Mountain. While Jackson doesn’t own the mountain overlooking Alexander Valley—it’s divided among numerous landowners—he does possess a 5,400-acre parcel there named Alexander Mountain Estate, with 774 acres of vineyards that supply grapes for his labels Stonestreet, Verite and Kendall-Jackson. Alexander Valley residents seem mixed in their reaction to renaming the mountain. With three other Black Mountains in Sonoma County alone, devotion to the name isn’t overwhelming, although the proposal remains controversial. “A lot of old-timers like me think it’s kind of silly,” said Ralph Sceales, whose Alexander Valley vineyard is across the road from Kendall-Jackson. “The fact that he’s doing it for commercial reasons rather than historical doesn’t seem right.” Unfiltered is just thankful he isn’t planning another tribute to his second Preakness champion by proposing to rename it Rachel Alexandra Mountain.
Pat Benatar entertains revelers at the Staglin Family Music Festival for Mental Health in Napa.
• The Staglin Music Festival for Mental Health is one of Unfiltered’s favorite charity events in Napa each year. Since the festival started in 1995, winery owners Shari and Garen Staglin have helped raise a total of $95 million for mental-health research. This year’s festival took place at the Rutherford winery on Sept. 12. Following a symposium about recent advances in mental-health research, there was a reception in the winery’s caves, where some of the most sought-after Napa wines were poured, including Colgin, Harlan, Scarecrow, Lewis, Bond and Opus One. And of course there was the music! In the past we’ve seen the Pointer Sisters, Gladys Knight and Brian Wilson. This year, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo took the stage, performing her classics, including “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “Love Is a Battlefield” and “Heartbreaker.” During the performance, Benatar enjoyed a glass of Staglin Family Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 on stage (we always knew she had good taste). Next year, Dwight Yoakam is scheduled to perform. Yee-ha.
• Apparently there’s a reason moderate drinkers are happy to have a glass or two of wine per night, according to a new study published in the medical journal Addiction. On the other hand, the research found that abstaining from alcohol is associated with an increased risk of depression. Scientists from health centers and psychiatry institutes in Norway and England looked at data from more than 38,000 individuals who provided information on drinking habits and mental health as part of the former country's Nord-Trøndelag Health Study. After looking over the information, the scientists noticed that nondrinkers were 34 percent more likely to report feelings of anxiety and 52 percent more likely to report feelings of depression than those who drink alcohol in moderation. Abstainers (former drinkers who have quit) are even more likely to get depressed, they report. The U.K.-based press release did offer some insight, theorizing "in societies where some use of alcohol is the norm, abstinence may be associated with being socially marginalized or particular personality traits that may also be associated with mental illness."
Garen Staglin — Rutherford, CA — September 18, 2009 1:25pm ET
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