• Next month's U.S. Open Golf Championship will mark a Golden Jubilee for the Golden Bear—the 50th anniversary of Jack Nicklaus' first victory, an 18-hole playoff win over Arnold Palmer at the 1962 U.S. Open held at Oakmont. It will also mark the debut of Nicklaus' newest wine, the first of a limited-edition series of magnums planned for the next 18 years and commemorating each of Nicklaus' record 18 major victories. Nicklaus' first foray into wine was certainly in the high-end range, priced at $45 to $55 a bottle, but with this new endeavor he's reaching for the stars (or at least the heights of 7'6" basketball legend Yao Ming, who was able to sell out all of his inaugural $625 Napa Cabernet with the help of the Chinese market). The debut bottling of Nicklaus' new Napa Valley Bordeaux-style blend, priced at $600, comes from the 2009 vintage; each of the 1,000 available magnums comes in a wooden case with a letter signed by the Golden Bear himself. Do not expect the letter to persuade your spouse that this was any more important a purchase than the three new golf clubs you've already bought this spring.
• Never say Unfiltered is not a source for Royal Watch. On a recent trip to Vila Nova de Gaia, we learned that a certain Monégasque princess had mentioned a preference for Port to her newlywed husband. Calls were made. Schedules were cleared. A private jet touched down in Porto, and Her Serene Highness Princess Charlene, HSH Prince Albert II and nephew Pierre Casiraghi debarked, heading straight for the Ramos Pinto lodge in the historic Port district. After a tour and tasting to learn the finer points of tawny and vintage with Jorge Rosas and his cousin, winemaker João Nicolau de Almeida, the Royals sat down for a private lunch in the lodge, where the answer to the age-old conundrum (“what to serve when a prince and princess come to lunch”) was revealed: Serve fresh, serve local, serve something they never knew existed. In this case, it was shad "cooper style," prepared by an ex-barrel maker who smoked the shad for 48 hours over Port-drenched sawdust from the staves of old casks. Try and find that in Monaco. But the real showstopper was the Ramos Pinto 1923 Vintage Port served at the end of the meal. “There was a quite spectacular silence in the room,” Rosas told Unfiltered. 1923 is the late Prince Rainier III’s year of birth. The royals were then inducted into the Port Wine Brotherhood.
Unfiltered donned a hardhat at the Graham's lodge to check out the spacious restaurant and museum under construction with sales director Euan Mackay, only to learn the Symingtons had their own bit of Royal Headline News. Their Graham's 1952 Single Harvest Tawny Port, with only six casks left in existence, has just been bottled in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee, marking her ascension to the throne in 1952. It’s available through Berry Brothers & Rudd in individually numbered bottles, priced at £275 each (or about $434; one of 30 jeroboams can be had for about $2,850). Cunard has ordered the Port for their Three Queens Jubilee event in Southampton June 5. The “striking mahogany wine” is described by Berry Brothers' Simon Field MW as having “an extraordinary aromatic intensity, redolent of old libraries, autumnal bonfires and distant poetry … Notes of molasses, dried apricot, figs and clove dance across the palate, elegant and symphonic in their structure, dignified and profound.” If that isn’t a tasting note fit for a Queen, we don’t know what is.
• We here at Unfiltered are no strangers to wine-loving musicians or music-loving winemakers, so we’re psyched about the Great GoogaMooga, a combo wine, food and music festival from the creators of Bonaroo and Outside Lands that will happen this weekend in Brooklyn's Prospect Park. “The Great Googa what?” you might ask? (And rightly so.) We brought the question to festival wine director Peter Eastlake when we chatted with him about the event. “’Googamooga’ is from an old Lee Dorsey song. It means, “that’s great,” or “wow.” It’s a seemingly non-sensical word that embodied what the festival is about.” The sprawling festival will bring together top restaurants in the city (including DBGB from Wine Spectator cover model Daniel Boulud), over 30 winemakers from the likes of Palmina and Tablas Creek, and a music line-up headlined by the Roots and Hall & Oates. General admission tickets have sold out, but $250 VIP “Extra Mooga” passes, which get you unlimited food and wine and access to private masterclass-type wine-and-food seminars are still available.
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