• Former Tour de France champion and current patron of the Aspen Art Museum Lance Armstrong was in attendance at the museum's seventh annual WineCrush dinner, one of the festivities of the museum's ArtCrush benefit held last week. Armstrong mingled with museum director Heidi Zuckerman Jacobson while one of the wine industry's biggest art lovers, Dennis Scholl, and his wife, Debra, perused the artworks on display. The WineCrush dinner, co-sponsored by Sotheby's, kicks off the series of events, no doubt serving to loosen up a few attendees' wallets with pairings of Léoville Las Cases and Phelps Insignia with roasted Colorado lamb loin and coffee- and Coke-braised rib. Master sommelier Jay Fletcher led a team of sommeliers from some of the area's best restaurants during the three days of events, serving the silent auction guests an impressive selection of iconic wines: a 3-liter bottle of 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche (to go along with the 1995 Echézeaux and St.-Vivant DRCs), 1994 Rayas Châteauneuf and Penfolds Grange … the list went on like that ad nauseum. This year's events raised more than $1.7 million, ArtCrush's most successful take yet. The top work of art also broke an ArtCrush record, with 2011 Aspen Award for Art recipient artist Roni Horn's Cloud and Cloun (Gray) selling for $420,000. This brings the museum within $5 million of its $50 million goal to fund a new 30,000-square-foot museum designed by architect Shigeru Ban.
• The rioting in the streets of Britain's major cities over the past week has seen the nation's stores plundered by hooligans, ruffians, wankers, blimjacks, entwistles, jack-be-grumbles and arsonists. But until Monday, looters had primarily targeted stores selling Xboxes, Lady Gaga CDs and shoes that make you look cheap. On Monday evening, however, a group of about 30 yobs, roustabouts, swagger jaggers, gullywags, pancakers, flim-flam kids and armed robbers broke into The Ledbury, a Michelin-starred restaurant in London's Notting Hill, and began knocking things over and throwing things about. They told the diners to get down and began robbing them at blade-point of their mobiles and jewellery before a team of heroic kitchen staffers, armed with rolling pins, chip baskets and, presumably, even bigger knives, rushed the attackers, ending the row by chasing them out of the building. When the looters came back for more, the staff locked the patrons in the restaurant's wine cellar, again saving the night. Champagne and whiskey were provided to calm frayed nerves, proving that in Britain, hospitality can be, as is often said of rugby, an animal's game played by gentlemen.
• Wrapping up another week of wine world potpourri, we report a name change. It's nothing as dumbfounding as recent sports star newly-nameds Chad Ochocinco (born Johnson) or Metta World Peace (né Ron Artest), but its origin nevertheless borders on the absurd. Argentina's Bodega Budini, which has earned very good scores for its value-priced Malbecs, will now be known as … Bodega Bodini. Why the name change? According to the winery's announcement, "another alcoholic beverage company aggressively protects its trademarks that start with the letters B U D." And if that doesn't make you groan, this probably will: The winery is re-branding the new name as an acronym for "Built On Dreams of Individuals Not Institutions." (The original U stood for "Upon." We'll ignore that the initial preposition keeps getting to participate while "of" gets shafted again.) Still, Unfiltered thinks the new name is an improvement. "Budini" conjures nauseating images of a peach puree-and-King of Beers brunch cocktail; "Bodini" could be some sexy new two-piece bathing suit spotted at Mar del Plata … or a nice, inexpensive bottle of Malbec. Sounds better to Unfiltered either way.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions