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Not Coming Soon: John Malkovich's Louis XIII Cognac Film

Plus, Canada's wine crime wave, a new vine virus strikes Napa, big-name Champagnes go vegan, and more
Photo by: Courtesy of Louis XIII
John Malkovich wrote and stars in "100 Years," a Louis XIII Cognac-backed film that will debut in 2115.

Posted: December 3, 2015

Louis XIII de Rémy Martin, the premium Cognac that typically sells for around $3,000 a bottle, is promoting its century-long aging process with a unique marketing spin: It teamed up with actor John Malkovich and director Robert Rodriguez to make a futuristic movie called 100 Years, which won’t be seen until the year 2115.

Louis XIII Cognac, created in 1874, is a blend of 1,200 eaux-de-vie aged up to 100 years in cask, hence the film's title. Ludovic du Plessis, executive director of Louis XIII, said that there were bottles present on set, but remains in the dark as to the brandy's actual screentime in the film. “Will they cut it out? I don’t know, I hope not,” he told Unfiltered.

The idea originated when du Plessis, previously at Dom Pérignon, joined Rémy Martin and spent time with cellar master Baptiste Loiseau. Du Plessis cited the 100 years to age the Cognac, typically four generations of cellar masters, saying, “I want everyone to know about … our commitment to the mastery of time.” The 40-minute film took just over two months to make. He stressed that the film was produced by Louis XIII, but Rodriguez and Malkovich had full control over the plot line and creative direction.

The completed film has been placed in a safe made by security specialist Fichet-Bausche, complete with bulletproof glass and a timer that will automatically open in 100 years, in time for the premiere at the house of Louis XIII in Cognac, scheduled to take place on Nov. 18, 2115. A total of 1,000 invitations in the form of sliver-plated movie tickets are being distributed to celebrities and wine and spirits industry influencers from the Louis XIII family. Theoretically, the tickets will be passed down to future generations. While the film won't be seen by anyone anytime soon, it's still getting some social-media buzz. To find out more, just check out the hashtag #notcomingsoon.


GPS May Have Stemmed the Tide of Canadian Wine Crime Wave

Wineries in British Columbia’s South Okanagan Valley have been hit with an alarming rash of break-ins over the past few weeks. Seventeen wineries in the region, among them Black Hills Estate, Church and State, Sumac Ridge, Tinhorn Creek Vineyards and Nk’Mip Resort have been victimized, with thieves often hitting the same location more than once.

“They come well-equipped,” Glenn Fawcett of Black Hills told Unfiltered. “They smash the windows and grab what they want.” Church and State Wines has been broken into four times since June, losing an estimated $100,000 worth of tools, equipment, cash, electronics and even a tractor. Fawcett, who has spearheaded a movement to increase funding to local Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) units, said the entire region has only one officer on duty between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., and most area wineries are quite isolated.

The crime wave may be over, however: According to Fawcett, two men and one woman were arrested and charged this week after three GPS-enabled four-wheelers stolen from Jackson-Triggs winery led the RCMP straight to the alleged culprits.


A New Vine Virus Strikes Napa

California grapegrowers have a new vine virus to worry about. In November, scientists at U.C. Davis’ Foundation Plant Services (FPS) announced that a relatively new grapevine virus, known as Grapevine Pinot Gris Virus (GPGV) has been detected in Napa Valley grapevines. The virus was identified in seven vines out of 96 randomly selected samples by Davis-based lab-testing service Agri-Analysis.

Samples that tested positive included selections of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay from three separate Napa Valley vineyards. Symptoms associated with the virus include chlorotic leaf mottling (a condition in which leaves don't produce enough chlorophyll), leaf stunting and deformation, delayed vine growth, stunted canes and yield reductions.

The virus first appeared in Italy’s Trentino-Alto Adige region in 2003. Since then, the virus has been detected in Italy, France, Greece, Turkey, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, China and Japan. To date, disease symptoms have been most closely associated with Pinot Gris/Grigio, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, Tocai Friulano and Glera (used for Prosecco). Studies have shown that the virus and its symptoms can be graft transmitted, and some studies indicate that the disease may also be vectored by a mite.

How great is the danger to California vineyards? According to FPS associate project scientist Maher Al Rwahnih, “Preliminary transmission studies show very low transmission rates.” Al Rwahnih has submitted a research proposal to do more extensive field surveys for detection of the virus.


Big-Name Champagnes Go Vegan

Vegan Champagne isn’t precisely all the rage, but it’s certainly gaining momentum, and not just for those looking for a sparkler to pair with their Tofurkey. Dom Pérignon, Veuve Clicquot, Piper Heidsieck, Taittinger, and now Duval-Leroy have let it be known that their bubbles are vegan.

“We already do the fining naturally. We don’t use anything—not gelatin or egg whites or casein—just time,” said Julien Duval-Leroy, who runs the family business, Maison Duval-Leroy, with his two brothers Louis and Charles. "To become 100 percent vegan, we needed 20 years’ experience. A colossal project was mounted to arrive at a method of natural clarification, mainly through the lengthening of time spent in vat or in barrel,” Charles told Unfiltered.

But Duval-Leroy only decided recently to go public with the information that their 4 million–bottle production was 100 percent vegan friendly. “In America, people want to know what they are consuming,” Charles said. And soon, he noted, European Union regulations will require vintners to list any possible allergens on the back label. “More and more people are vegan or have allergies.”

At Champagne Duval-Leroy, the shift toward minimal intervention was motivated by a push toward improving quality. “It makes the bubbles finer, more delicate, the wine richer and the texture is different—it’s silkier on the palate,” said Julien. Unfiltered suspects our favorite vegan vintner and former NBA star John Salley will be excited to add some new bubblies to his holiday menu this season.


Celebrating Latkes and Wine for Charity

For the potato pancake enthusiast, the December holiday season is the most wonderful time of year. Hanukkah brings with it a weeklong celebration of the latke, and in New York, this humble but delicious traditional treat gets an entire festival dedicated to celebrating its crisp, golden goodness. The seventh annual Latke Festival will take place this Monday, Dec. 7 at New York's Metropolitan Pavilion, and will showcase nearly 20 different dressed-up latkes from restaurants around the city, including the East Village's Ukrainian icon Veselka. (Unfiltered has our own, much simpler go-to latke recipe and wine pairing if you want to get in on the action at home.)

But these aren't your Bubbe's latkes: Unfiltered got a sneak peak of the festival's anticipated entries, which includes Toloache's latke de pato topped with duck confit tinga and chipotle; Mae Mae Café's potato latke with red lentils, grilled Hudson Valley root vegetables and cardamom curry-scented yogurt; and Taboon's spaghetti squash latke with deviled egg yolk, dill pollen and maitake mushrooms.

Event sponsor City Winery will be providing the wines. "The white we've chosen is a well-balanced, crisp, dry Sauvignon Blanc with citrus notes that we feel will pair extremely well with richer latkes," Raul Mesias, director of wine sales for the urban winery, told Unfiltered. The've also chosen a robust kosher Pinot Noir from Hyland Vineyards in the Willamette Valley. General admission is $65, and all proceeds from the event, hosted by Great Performances catering company, will go to the Sylvia Center, a nonprofit dedicated to encouraging healthy eating habits in young children and their families.

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