• Here at Unfiltered, we’re no stranger to the confluence of football players and their wines. Add new Chicago Bears defensive end Julius Peppers to the list of gridiron connoisseurs. After signing his new six-year, $91.5 million contract last week, Peppers headed to swanky Chicago nightspot Crescendo for dinner. While Peppers himself sipped on hip-hop mogul Jay-Z’s favorite bubbly, ordering three bottles of Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades Rosé, he also treated everyone else in the house to Champagne, hoping to endear himself to the fans of his new city. Peppers bought 25 bottles, at $350 a “pop,” of Perrier-Jouet Fleur de Champagne Belle Epoque, each topped with one of Crescendo’s signature pyrotechnic sparklers to be shared among the rest of Friday night’s patrons (video available on YouTube; no word yet on whether the acrid scent of combusting magnesium will affect your Champagne’s delicate aromas, nor whether anyone cared). Not a bad way to make friends. Unfiltered just has one suggestion for Peppers: Next time, keep the P-J flower bottles for yourself, and leave the showy sparklers for the overpriced bubbly in the gimmicky packaging.
• Unfiltered was pleased to congratulate Lori Mason, wife of chef Daniel Angerer, on the birth of their first child when we were dining at Klee, their Austrian restaurant in New York this past January. But we found ourselves frantically trying to recall whether or not we’d ordered the cheese plate when we saw them on the morning news this week: Chef Angerer is making cheese with Mason’s excess breast milk. (For the lactically curious, the recipe for “Mommy’s Milk Cheese” is posted on Angerer’s blog.) But before you join the hordes of culinarily inquisitive (and creepy fetishists) trying to get a taste, you should know that there is no breast-milk cheese to be had at Klee. We talked to the Department of Health, and they told us that “cheese made from breast milk is not for public consumption, whether sold or given away. While breast milk is healthy—we recommend it for infants—experiments with it as a food ingredient are best left for the home.” Still, count Unfiltered among the curious (we’ve eaten stranger things). We asked Mason about her one-of-a-kind cheese, and how to best pair it with wine. “Breast milk is low in protein, so it’s difficult to make a hard cheese. Daniel’s version is more solid than ricotta, like a provolone, but slightly gelatinous and very sweet,” Mason said. And the wine pairings? “I think it’s best with a Gewürztraminer, but one on the leaner side. Other choices would be Austrian Riesling or Grüner Veltliner, but whatever wine you choose, it needs to be crisp and bright to cut through the cheese’s pungency,” she told us. What about the cheese’s texture, you ask? “It’s a little jiggly.” She said it, not us!
• The longest hike undertaken so far by outdoorsy Napa-based startup Trek winery has been a legal one: The family operation was sued by Trek Bicycles for trademark infringement in the cycle company’s home state of Wisconsin, after three orders of the wine had been shipped there. (Two went to family members of vintner Andy Podshadley; the third to the wife of a Trek bikes employee—a trap!) A federal judge has now granted the winery’s motion to dismiss the case, deciding that three sales really weren’t infringing on anybody. Trek Bicycles had gone after Podshadley’s entire business, refusing offers that the winery change its name to Trec or Trekk and seeking all profits from the wines. “Of course, there are none when you’re starting a winery,” Podshadley pointed out. But, he explained, “We were contacted by a lot of law firms that wanted to represent us, because they wanted to go against Trek [Bicycles] I guess. They said, ‘Hey, we’ll do it for a case of wine.’” Though the bike manufacturer can still bring suit in California, the trial might only raise the winery’s profile, causing further confusion about the difference between wine and a bike. “Getting the name out there has definitely helped. We haven’t sold a lot of wine because of it, but the people who have ordered wine have been bicycle people.” It should also be noted that the Star Trek franchise was fine with the winery’s brand: “When CBS Studios contacted us, we said, ‘How about you look at our marketing materials? We don’t want anything to do with aliens and spaceships.’”
• It seems Gavin Newsom isn’t the only big-city mayor with plans to retire in the wine industry. Three-term Cleveland mayor Michael White recently announced plans to open a winery in Newcomerstown, Ohio, a rural community about 100 miles south of his former jurisdiction. White, who left the political spotlight in 2001 for a “simpler life,” also operates an alpaca farm in the area. “People who know only the public side of me don’t know that I was an ag major at Ohio State,” he told Unfiltered. The winery, Yellow Butterfly, which opens in May, will focus on locally grown varieties such as Traminette, a cold-hardy Gewürztraminer hybrid. The former mayor admits that his favorite wine is white Zinfandel, but Unfiltered thinks he’s headed in the right direction: The “gateway wine” has already piqued his interest in exploring sweeter-styled reds.
Ski then sip in style with Champagne house Veuve Clicquot's latest fashionable accessory.
• Unfiltered retired our beer goggles when we graduated from college, but the Veuve Clicquot Champagne house is tempting us with a sophisticated upgrade—high-fashion ski goggles with Champagne-colored lenses. The limited-edition goggles, made by high-end sporting goods manufacturer Smith, feature a vision enhancing Carbonic-X lens, airflow lens-ventilation system, single-layer face foam and the yellow Veuve Clicquot logo on the strap. Retailing for $105, the goggles are on sale throughout ski season and celebrate Aspen's Clicquot in the Snow, the third-annual weekend of après ski events including Champagne tastings and parties running today through Sunday. With just 800 sets made, Unfiltered hopes a pair makes it into the hands of Olympic gold medalist Shaun White—what better way to execute his double cork snowboarding stunt in style?
D J Fontana — Charlotte, North Carolina — March 13, 2010 6:46pm ET
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