• Do you look for red wines that are “uncompromising and tough,” with an “undisputed attitude”? Have you been searching everywhere for a wine to drink while “headbanging,” preferably one that has spent “a couple of seasons in the abyss”? Oh, and, do you speak Swedish? If you've answered yes to all of those questions, you'll be happy to hear that the band Slayer, like heavy metal colleagues Whitesnake, Queensrÿche's Geoff Tate, Ratt and even the late Randy Rhoads, has entered the wine business. Their first offering, currently available only in Sweden, is a 2010 California Cabernet Sauvignon called Reign in Blood Red, priced at about $17. Despite the tone-deaf descriptors above, taken from the wine's promotional website, it also apparently has “a soft nose of dark berry fruits with oak and spicy nuances” and “juicy, smooth tannins.” Having just listened to a fine selection of Slayer's music, Unfiltered sincerely hopes the wine doesn't take any cues from their lyrics and “döda dig din sömn,” which is Swedish for “kill you in your sleep.”
• Dave Stewart is best-known as the silent, male Eurythmic, though he's also artisan of the deliciously sharp synths on "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" and "Here Comes the Rain Again," the former being the most inaccurately karaoked song Unfiltered can think of. Now he joins the band of musical wine folk, working with high-flying Australian winery Mollydooker on a limited, repackaged release of the estate's Carnival of Love Shiraz 2010 called The Ringmaster General. The label depicts a man in sunglasses with a top hat and guitar, presumably Stewart, but Slash of Guns N' Roses isn't a bad second guess, though G'n'R's stated wine preference is Night Train. The Ringmaster General retails for $175 and comes packaged with Stewart's latest album and a documentary about the making of both album and wine. The natural pairing might be a nice Roquefort, as a young Unfiltered can't have been the only one to sing it "Sweet dreams are made of cheese."
• If you've ever wanted to go walking in Memphis, with your feet 10 feet off of Beale—and an open container of wine in hand—soon you'll be able to do it and feel good about it. Coming to the Beale Street Music Festival in May, fresh from appearances at Austin's SXSW, are California Chardonnay and Merlot in a portable 375ml pouch, courtesy of the recently launched House Band Wines brand. Wine in light, flexible pouches is being touted as a more environmental alternative to heavy glass bottles—the packaging only makes up about 6 percent of the volume—but it's mostly been seen in 1-liter sizes (such as those from ecoVino and Clif Family) for picnics, beach bashes and camping. Since glass isn't permitted at many outdoor festivals and music venues, the idea of House Band is to reduce their carbon footprint (only 22 pounds for a case of 24) and cut down on waste. Instead of sloshing about with cheap plastic cups, concert-goers can sip straight from a $5 pouch of vintage wine equal to two "HPs—heavy pours," quips winemaker Patrick Krutz (also of Sonoma’s boutique Krutz Family Cellars). A House Band pouch comes with a "born on" date, a resealable cap so you can toss it in your backpack and a punchhole so you can clip it to your festival lanyard and party hands-free. The sort-of-guitar-shaped, four-layer pouches—sourced from New Orleans-based Big Easy Brands' to-go packaging for frozen cocktails—can even hold up during the toughest mosh pit (if anyone were sipping Chardonnay in a mosh pit): "I'm 200 pounds and I can stand on a pouch and it will not bust,” claims Krutz. "We did all kinds of tests, even threw 'em up against a wall." As the wines go on sale this spring at various music events, the company plans to give back 2 percent of net sales to charities that support local musicians or youth music programs.
• Rock band Train seems to have a standing gig here in Unfiltered, but this week we caught them celebrating a wine other than their own Drops of Jupiter brand. Guitarist Jimmy Stafford and the rest of the band were on hand in Los Angeles earlier this week for the 40th birthday celebrations of both John Jordan and his Jordan winery. (John's parents signed the deed for the land and established Jordan winery the same day he was born, May 25, 1972.) Also among the hundreds celebrating the occasion on the roof of the London West Hollywood were Los Angeles Galaxy soccer star and wine lover Landon Donovan, Fox & Friends host Juliet Huddy and comedians Ben Gleib and Ben Morrison. The event was part of a nationwide 40th anniversary tour for Jordan, which will culminate June 2 at the winery, where 100 percent of the $75 ticket prices will go to charity; guests can choose among three charities to receive their donation: Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, Spark (which provides apprenticeships to disadvantaged youth) or Meals on Wheels San Francisco. Learn more about the celebrations and the charities at www.causes.com/jordanforcharity.
• The bands of the Titanic famously played on as the doomed luxury liner sank into the Atlantic 100 years ago, so of course there was a tribute band on hand at an ambitious recreation of the ship's final dinner last week in New York (though this band curiously featured an etherwave-theremin, which everyone knows wasn't invented until 1928). The seven-course Dine Titanic dinner was presented in a pop-up restaurant space named 41° North, 49° West, for the coordinates at which the ship now rests. Chefs Rob McCue and Adam Banks created a menu that stayed true to the Titanic's, with modern-day wine pairings in Riedel stems by Master of Wine Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan. Oysters à la Russe followed by consommé Olga and butter-poached King salmon served with a spoonful of creamy mousseline and a dusting of cucumber powder were paired with 2008 Domaine J.A. Ferret Pouilly-Fuissé Les Ménétrières and 2010 Dopff & Irion Riesling Alsace; filet mignon Lili with potatoes Anna (naming your food was apparently quite popular in the 1910s), red wine reduction and a generous helping of foie gras concealed inside a savory gougère made friends with 2005 Château Milon St.-Emilion and 2009 Joseph Drouhin Gevrey Chambertin. Punch Romaine, a ginger and rum concoction blended with Champagne and egg white, was followed by roasted squab with watercress and purple asparagus. Assorted desserts included mock Waldorf pudding, peaches suspended in chartreuse jelly and chocolate éclairs, followed by a tasting of Rémy Martin Louis XIII Cognac, a blend of 1,200 eaux-de-vie aged between 40 and 100 years in cask, with the oldest having been distilled the same spring that the Titanic set sail. All this decadence was not without a good cause: Dine Titanic donated 100 percent of the proceeds from the $300 to $450 meal tickets to the Urban Assembly N.Y. Harbor School, a small prep school on Governors Island that teaches on-water job skills and environmental stewardship.
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