• Unfiltered favorite Tina Fey knows her way around a bottle of wine, cleverly linking herself with director Steven Spielberg on a 1929 bottle of Moët & Chandon at the 2009 Academy Awards, and showing up on the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet with Dry Creek Vineyard VP Kim Stare Wallace. Date Night Napa Cabernet even got a star turn when the Fey and Steve Carell flick of the same name started serving Date Night at press screenings. So we were disappointed to learn this past year that Fey's beloved 30 Rock on NBC would be coming to an end, but now, just a few months after the series finale, we have received a delightful little memento from the show's last episode: It turns out that Terlato had been providing the set of 30 Rock with its wines for the past four seasons, and the brand's recently launched Protea Chenin Blanc from South Africa was set to be included in a series finale montage in which Fey's character Liz Lemon, in her new role as stay-at-home mom, completes a dizzying array of household chores concluding with her reaching for a bottle of Protea, only to realize that it's just 10:45 a.m. With the scene left on the cutting-room floor, Fey kindly passed along the photo above to 30 Rock's friends at Terlato. You'll have to wait for the hopefully distant-future Unfiltered finale to find out how we got the photo …
• Henri Lurton opened the doors to Château Brane-Cantenac this week for his new photography exhibit, "Brane seen through the eyes and lens of … François Poincet." (Poincet has been behind the camera for six Wine Spectator covers and 400-plus stories since he shot his first assignment for the magazine in 1998.) Lurton gave Poincet free reign for the project and the result clearly amused the winemaker. "It's funny, stylish," said Lurton. The unconventional portraits feature each member of the Brane-Cantenac team with an item connected to their job. “My two predecessors had done the château and vineyards," Poincet said in reference to Brane-Cantenac's past two art exhibits. "So I wanted to do something completely different. I wanted to show the people behind the scenes, the people you never see, but without them, there would be no wine. I wanted to show them in the best light, but not conventionally. I wanted a sense of humor. I've shot many portraits, but this is the first time I could do exactly as I wanted. It was a very beautiful human adventure." The exhibit runs through April 2014. Last year's photos, taken by enologist Eric Boissenot were such a hit that they will be sold June 17 during Vinexpo week in an auction at Brane-Cantenac with Jamie Ritchie, CEO of Sotheby's, volunteering his services. Lurton has also contributed a few exceptional lots of Brane-Cantenac to the sale. Proceeds will go to a local charity that delivers medical equipment to remote clinics in Africa. The catalog can be consulted online, and absentee bids are welcome.
• Winemaking has been going on in Israel for thousands of years (mostly via the traditional method, but also Marriage at Cana style …). Earlier this month, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced the unearthing of an ancient wine press the size of a football field in an early Byzantine settlement near Ashkelon, a coastal port in southern Israel. According to Dr. Rina Avner, the site’s excavation director, the wine press consisted of a large treading floor with six compartments that were used for fermenting the grape juice. The floor sloped to the west and juice from the treading floor would flow through lead pipes into fermentation vats located along the western wall of the floor. Archaeologists believe that a large depression in the floor accommodated a giant screw that was probably used for a second pressing of the must to yield either what is called in Rabbinic sources “paupers’ wine” or vinegar. Authorities have speculated that the owner of the press was probably a Christian because a well-preserved clay lantern designed to look like a miniature church with crosses on it was found at the site. When the lantern was lit, it would have projected crosses on the walls and ceiling of whatever room it was in. The press is located along the ancient road to Ashkelon and its port that would have facilitated transportation and exportation of wine to Europe and North Africa.
• In yet another act of heroism on the part of the food-and-wine community to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, John Ragan and his colleagues at Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group will donate $200,000 to superstorm relief efforts, thanks to the proceeds from the online fine wine auction DeVine Intervention. During the 14 day-long event, wine lovers from around the world bid on a range of wines: A bottle of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti La Tâche 2005 raised $3,275, a magnum of Dujac Fils & Père Chambertin 2005 earned $3,850, and a methuselah of Shafer Vineyards Hillside Select 2005 fetched $3,425. One lucky group of bidders won “A Lost Weekend in Napa Valley” with Robert Sinskey Vineyards for $8,250; another party donated $4,250 for a trip to Washington wine country. One hundred percent of DeVine Intervention’s proceeds will go to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.
• Catherine Péré-Vergé, owner of four Bordeaux estates—Châteaus Le Gay, La Violette and Montviel in Pomerol and Château La Gravière in Lalande-de-Pomerol—as well as Clos de los Siete Bodega Monteviejo in Argentina, died April 5 of cancer. She was 73. "She was a woman who sought challenges, and every vintage is a new challenge,” her son, Henri Parent, 43, told Unfiltered. “And with the Argentinean vineyard, she had two challenges—two harvests—every year." Péré-Vergé, whose personal wealth was estimated at $98 million in 2012, was known for being hands-on, direct and demanding, someone who loved the land, flowers and hunting. However, delegating to the next generation was not her style. "It was difficult for her to share and it wasn't in her personality to retire," said Parent. Parent and his two sisters intend to continue their mother’s wine business, begun in 1985 when the indomitable Cristallerie d'Arques heiress purchased her first vineyard. "Of course, we'll keep the vineyards. They are a joy. They are part of us," said Parent. "I have been preparing myself for this task for a long time. I know every parcel, every vineyard." Parent will manage the vineyards, continuing the family’s close collaboration with winemaker Marcelo Pelleritti and consultant Michel Rolland, and their mother’s dedication for making fine wine. "She was always on a quest for perfection.”
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