• Watching the 2010 Olympics last night, Unfiltered thought “Say cheese!” was never more appropriate than when two-time World Cup overall champion downhill skier Lindsey Vonn was having her picture taken. Vonn, who infamously sliced a tendon in her thumb while attempting to open Champagne last winter, won the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics in the women’s downhill yesterday, but only after a hard-won battle with a leg injury (and some help from the weather, which delayed her events for several days). Vonn revealed earlier this month that she suffered from a deep bruise on her shin after crashing during a training run. How did she cope? The same way Unfiltered often deals with a tough day: cheese. Vonn wrapped her injured leg in topfen, a soft Austrian cheese that supposedly reduces swelling. Despite our skepticism of the unorthodox treatment plan, we can’t argue with the results. Also on the podium last night was snowboarder Shaun White, who blew away the competition in the men’s half-pipe. White won gold in the event for the second time thanks, in part, to variations of a maneuver called the double cork. In snowboarder speak, technically, a front double cork 1080 and a cab-double cork 1080. As with all our encounters with “corks,” there was considerable risk involved, but again, the results speak for themselves. Cheers to all the Americans giving those of us at home a reason to celebrate.
Margrit Mondavi and Jean Georges Vongerichten celebrate the Olympics and the Okanagan Valley.
• Among the A-listers in town for the Vancouver Games is a member of the California wine industry’s royal family. Margrit Mondavi, widow of the late Napa Valley pioneer, was honored at a food-and-wine pairing at Vancouver's glitzy Market restaurant, a new creation from chef Jean Georges Vongerichten. "She was always the real force behind the Mondavi Winery," said the soft-spoken Vongerichten, best known for his Michelin three-starred New York restaurant, Jean-Georges. The charming first lady of Napa was in Vancouver to watch her native Switzerland go for hockey gold and offered high praise for Canada’s wines. "I thought the Okanagan region was beautiful and promising," she said, singling out British Columbia's Chardonnays and Merlots as favorites.
• At least two lucky (and very gifted) Canadians will soon be receiving salmanazars of Champagne from Guinness world record-holding Champagne saberer and chef Andre Saint-Jacques. The owner of Whistler, B.C.’s Bearfoot Bistro (the same place we once found nude models painted to look like wine labels), Saint-Jacques also plans to offer magnums of Champagne to the rest of Canada’s medal winners.
Artiste's Perfecto label, painted by artist Aldo Luongo.
• Argentine artist Aldo Luongo is an official artist of the Winter Olympics whose work is currently being celebrated by California’s Artiste winery. Four different Artiste wines bear one of his paintings on the label. Additionally, giclée prints of his official Olympic poster and other works are also available at the Artiste tasting rooms in Healdsburg and Los Olivos, as well as online. An athlete himself, Luongo played professional soccer in New York after graduating from the Academy of Fine Arts in Buenos Aires.
• Vancouver's Winter Games have an official credit card, cola and cold medicine, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that there's an official wine gracing Olympic tables. With the blessing of the International Olympic Committee, wine giant Vincor Canada and its affiliated labels are offering a commemorative portfolio of Olympic-themed wines. At official dinners and events, athletes, judges and IOC glitterati will be sipping from Jackson-Triggs' festively named Esprit collection ($1.25 is donated to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games for each bottle of Esprit purchased). With dessert, there's a consummately Canadian Vidal ice wine from Niagara’s Inniskillin, which is also hosting a 60-foot-long tasting bar for hardcore fans of the late-harvest sticky. And the official bubbly sprayed at victory celebrations is Tribute by Sumac Ridge, a Chardonnay sparkler that comes in—you guessed it—Silver and Gold tiers.
• Inside the big Indian longhouse erected in the heart of downtown Vancouver, a bit of Olympic history is taking place. Vancouver 2010 marks the first Olympic Games ever in which an Aboriginal community—Canada's First Nations peoples—has participated as an official host. Guests at the Chief's House, as the quirky, postmodern Aboriginal Pavilion is known, enjoy traditional Inuit throat singing, buffalo burgers and wines from North America's first native-owned winery. NK'Mip Cellars, located on Osoyoos Indian land in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley, is one of the official wine labels of the Games. NK'Mip’s QwAm QwMT reserve wines are named after an Aboriginal word for excellence. Sounds like an excellent expression of the Olympic spirit to Unfiltered.