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Cows on Wine: More, Better Milk and Less Gas?

Plus, David Chang Down Under and Robert Mondavi wines on hand for Madonna's directorial debut

Posted: December 15, 2011

• Cows, the popular bovines behind beloved wine accompaniments steak and cheese, may get fit from wine just like humans do, a new agricultural nutrition study shows. Cows in Australia were fed about 11 pounds of grape pomace, or marc—the skins, seeds and stems usually repurposed after winemaking for brandy production, or tossed in the refuse bin—along with their usual cuisine of cow food, for 37 days. Some of the winemaking leftovers were consumed in pellet form and some were scraped right out of the vat, retaining their pleasing winey smell for the animals. Compared to the dairy cows that only ate hay and bugs or whatever, the wine waste bovines improved, at least for our purposes, in three ways: They produced 5 percent more milk, that milk was higher in anti-oxidants and fatty acids (that's a good thing) and, perhaps best of all, the cows' methane emissions were reduced by 20 percent. Cows, you see, have four stomachs, and when they get gassy after a big meal, entire ecosystems cry out with great lamentation: A cow annually spews as much greenhouse gas as a car does. So drink up—tonight's wine might make tomorrow morning's milk cheaper, better for you and better for the planet.

• Sydney’s bustling food scene has taken a fresh turn with the opening of Momofuku Seiobo, the latest from New York chef David Chang (Momofuku, Momofuku Ko, Ma Pêche). Since it opened in October to rave reviews, Sydneysiders have been competing online to score one of the 28 seats, most of them at a long rectangular counter facing the open kitchen. Elements of Chang’s brash, endlessly inventive style—the steamed bun with pork belly has been popular, as has pecorino with bee pollen—pop up in chef Benjamin Greeno's ever-changing menu, which focuses on local ingredients such as spanner crab and trumpeter fish. Sommelier Richard Hargreave's list of 42 wines (only 13 from Australia) plus five sakes is considerably shorter than the tomes he assembled at Quay and Bilson’s, two of Sydney’s poshest restaurants, but, he says, most people order the glass pours he serves with the set menu anyway. Why did Chang pick Australia for his first venture outside New York? It was his personal contact with Victor Tiffany, once food and beverage director for the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City, N.J., now director of hospitality for the Star, the lavishly revamped casino in Sydney’s Pyrmont district.

• Actors and artists and sparkling wine are a few of Unfiltered's favorite things, so when they all came together at New York's Museum of Modern Art for one of this holiday season's most star-studded events, you know we had a spy in place. The main attractions were pop icon Madonna and Cinema Society's screening of her directorial debut, W.E., the story of a New York woman's obsession with Wallis Simpson, the American divorcée for whom England's King Edward VIII abdicated his throne in 1936. "No one has offered me Champagne yet," Madonna said before the film, "so I have to sit through this final screening sober." Plenty of Woodbridge wines were on hand at the Robert Mondavi-sponsored after-party at Crown, however, where a sparkling wine cocktail had been created just for the event (The W.E. Sparkler: Combine 3 ounces Woodbridge Extra Dry Sparkling, 3/4 ounce pear liqueur and 1/2 ounce lemon juice in a cinnamon- and sugar-rimmed flute). Unfiltered couldn't possibly list all the stars we spotted enjoying a tipple, but we'll name a few: Adrien Brody, Parker Posey and Michelle Trachtenberg all chose the Extra Dry Sparkling, while Kelly Bensimon went with Pinot Grigio and Jeremy Piven enjoyed a Cabernet and a cigar. Other on-screen favorites in attendance included Jerry Seinfeld, Chloe Sevigny, Tony Danza, Kim Cattrall and Anderson Cooper and fashion icons Donna Karan, Manolo Blahnik and Valentino. Unfiltered is no stranger to palate fatigue, but we've never paired it with celebrity fatigue before. Despite all the beautiful people, however, Unfiltered was preoccupied with wine world superstars, speculating which Burgundy big shot had purchased California icon Robert Mondavi's former home …

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