• Unfiltered loves it when a good cause and a good guy come together, especially when wine is in the mix. While many of New Orleans’ tourist destinations have recovered from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, many less-visible victims of the disaster are still trying to rebuild lives and families after the tragedy. Enter New England Patriot’s defensive lineman and two-time Super Bowl champ Jarvis Green, who continues to help single mothers struggling to recover from Katrina. Green, a married father of three and New Orleans native was moved by the plight of these families, and set up a foundation and a grant to assist those who are still trying to rebuild lives and families after the tragedy. The third-annual Jarvis Green Foundation Wine Tasting Gala, which took place in Providence, R.I., this past week, was a night of food, wine and entertainment, serving as the keynote event of his foundation. Other New England Patriots in attendance to support the cause included Patriots defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, linebacker Adalius Thomas and safety Brandon Meriweather. Cheers to a Patriot being patriotic through wine.
• There’s been a lot of talk about football player-owned wine labels lately, so it came as something of a shock this week when Unfiltered learned that one of the leading names in the merging of gridiron greats and grapes may be getting out of the business. NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and his wife, Jennifer, have put their Tuscany-inspired wine estate in Calistoga, Calif., on the market. The asking price for the 500-acre property and 9,700-square-foot home is $49 million. You may also remember Montagia, a Howell Mountain Cabernet blend that the Montanas collaborated on with Beringer winemaker Ed Sbragia. Unfiltered suspects that Montana may have proved the old adage true: If you want to make a small fortune in the wine business, start with a large one.
• Cuttings from some valuable experimental grape vines were stolen this month from the University of Minnesota’s Horticulture Research Center in Chanhassen. University grape breeder Peter Hemstad has been breeding cold hardy grapes there since 1984. Frontenac, the first wine grape released in 1996 by Hemstad is currently the most widely planted wine grape in Minnesota. The program’s first white wine grape, La Crescent, was introduced in 2002. But just last week, somebody crawled under a chain-link fence surrounding the university’s experimental vineyards and snipped cuttings from one of its latest and most promising experimental vines. Presumably the thief knew what he or she was doing, since they went straight to the good stuff, bypassing numerous less-promising candidates. Authorities speculated that the thief may have planned to root the cuttings, propagate them, then sell them, thereby profiting from Hemstad’s hard work. Of course, this is nothing new: There have long been rumors that some of California’s pioneering fine winemakers started their vineyards with smuggled suitcases of vine cuttings from top vineyards in France.
Unfiltered is all for making a wine for charity, but is there a patron saint of spelling we can say a prayer for?
• Saints alive! Unfiltered recalls the Church of England's plan to create wine bars within its cathedrals, and now it seems one Catholic priest is taking the union of wine and the church a step further with the introduction of Holy Spirits wines. Created by Father Dominic Roscioli of Milwaukee, Wis. and his partners, the wines are produced by private label wine specialist Windsor Vineyards in Sonoma, and are named for various saints whose attributes and earthly experiences purportedly match the contents of the bottles. The wines' labels feature first-person descriptions of the wines from the perspective of their respective saints, such as Our Lady of Mount Carmel's explanation that "I chose a pure, clear Riesling wine to reflect the sweet bouquet of mystery whispered to me by God's angels during my life on earth." The line, whose profits are directed to various charitable organizations, also includes wines named for St. Patrick, St. Joan of Arc and St. Michael the Archangel, and will eventually have a wine for each of the 12 apostles. No word on whether the Judas wine will be sealed with a tainted cork.
• Phillies fans, Unfiltered has something to help ease the pain after losing your chance at back-to-back World Series wins. With last year’s historic win, winemaker Kenton Nice, owner of Coda Rossa Winery and a custom-crush facility called the Wine Room of Cherry Hill, wanted to commemorate the 2008 win in the best way he knew how, with a bottle of wine. Using fruit from his Franklinville, N.J., winery, he made one barrel of Phillies Phinest Merlot. The wine, with the appropriate amount of Phillies red from capsule to label, was bottled in August and released in time for this year’s championship series, but sadly, the magic in the bottle did little to hold off the Yankees. (Judging by the divergent paths of the Yankees and Mets this year, Unfiltered suspects that having your own baseball-themed bottle has little to do with on-field success.) Unfiltered is sad to report that, no matter how high your payroll, you can’t afford a bottle of Phillies Phinest—it’s not for sale.
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