Most Bordeaux châteaus are buttoned-up affairs, but in Margaux, second-growth Château Palmer is going au naturel. From March 13 to Aug. 25, the winery will host an exhibition of 25 photographs of the natural world at its starkest and grandest, taken by French-Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado over seven years of global trekking.
Salgado made his name with decades' worth of social documentary photography, with subjects ranging from the environment to manual labor to indigenous peoples. He himself was the subject of the recent Academy Award–nominated documentary The Salt of the Earth, directed by his son, Juliano, and filmmaker Wim Wenders.
Captions are taken from the exhibition "Natural Gardens."
The exhibition at Palmer, called “Natural Gardens,” features mostly landscapes, from Venezuela to Botswana, selected from Salgado's "Genesis" collection. Palmer general director Thomas Duroux and director of communications Annabelle Grellier came up with the idea to showcase Salgado's work after meeting the artist in Paris and thinking his philosophy mirrored the château's 2017 "theme" of "The Garden" and its practice of biodynamic farming. "These ‘natural gardens’ are the perfect illustration of the biodiversity we have to respect and preserve,” Grellier told Unfiltered in an email. The photos are on display to anyone who visits the château for a tour and tasting.
Down in Italy, the polizia carried out a sting earlier this week in Modena, the culmination of "Operation Wine and Cheese." The 11 men arrested allegedly stole $194,000 worth of—you may have sniffed this out already—wine and cheese. According to Il Resto del Carlino, the men were wanted for a platter of crimes, including a 2015 theft of 16,000 bottles of wine and a 2016 hit on an agriculture university, where they carted off 168 wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Of note is that the Parm accounted for almost half the cut of the total haul, making each wheel worth more than $500.
No surprise then, that this is part of a larger pattern of Parmigiano disappearances in the region—police estimate over $10 million worth in the last three years. Something stinks in the region of Emilia-Romagna, and it is, in an unexpected twist, an absence of cheese.
Unfiltered imagines the plot of Taken 4: Wine going something like this: Liam Neeson plays a sommelier ("What I do have are a very particular set of skills.") who wakes up to find his cellar … kidnapped. And he'll stop at nothing to bring his wines back alive, to proper storage conditions. In Sicily, this scenario played out in real life, when three men allegedly broke into a Taormina restaurant called Tiramisu last year and abducted $43,000 worth of bottles.
According to Palermo paper La Repubblica, the captors then demanded the owners pay a $16,000 ransom for the safe return of the wines—or they would be destroyed. The 200 liquid hostages included fine selections from around Italy, including Gajas and Massetos, as well as bottles of Vega Sicilia, Pétrus and various Champagnes. This month, police arrested the three individuals. But the well-being of the wines remains unknown.
This is no ordinary pig-out: Chef Charlie Palmer's annual Pigs & Pinot culinary romp through the stylings of the country's finest chefs and winemakers features cook-offs, taste-offs, and even an "Ultimate Sommelier Smackdown" in the service of a good cause. The 12th-annual iteration of the festival, held at Palmer's wine-country haunt Dry Creek Kitchen in the Sonoma town of Healdsburg, Calif., marked an important milestone. A dozen years ago, "we struggled to break even to find a way to give back to our local community," Palmer told Unfiltered in an email. And now? "After this year's tallies and paying our costs, we will have surpassed $1 million in charitable funds donated to Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign and our local charity partners" over the years. "That's the incredible part to me."
To kick off the event, over 600 attendees went snout-first into 60 Pinots and 30 pork pairings. The "Tournament of the Pig" raised $12,500 alone as chefs Nancy Silverton and Elizabeth Falkner teamed up "girls vs. guys"–style against David Burke and Bryan Voltaggio, to go hog-wild on a 150-pound whole pig. While judges gave the edge to Burke and Voltaggio's sirloin steak of pork with paprika, chorizo, shrimp, clams and fava sprouts, Palmer told Unfiltered, "the girls whipped up this killer frittata with sheep's milk ricotta and bacon, and a pork Milanese that the crowd couldn't stop talking about." The chefs all joined forces in the end to cook up a gala dinner for guests. "What I really love every year is the camaraderie that we chefs [have]," said Palmer. "Putting out a five-course gala dinner with everyone, all hands on deck, plating all of the dishes. It's one of the best feelings."
These days, it seems like every breath English rocker Sting takes is in the bowl of a wineglass, and every move he makes is accompanied by bottles of wine from his Tuscan estate, Il Palagio! The singer-vintner was last spotted by Wine Spectator readers in October 2016—in the flesh, with wife, Trudie Styler, at a New York Wine Experience presentation of his Sister Moon super Tuscan 2011, followed by a surprise performance of, naturally, "Message in a Bottle."
Now Sting and his bottles are touring Europe: In conjunction with Sting's latest concert series, the Il Palagio Tasting Tour will follow him to the cities he plays between now and mid-April, offering pours of wines and tastes of the estate's olive oil and honey. Sting and Styler kicked it off at the ProWein trade show in Dusseldorf, Germany, last weekend, with a tasting of the wines and an acoustic rendition of "Johnny B. Goode," in homage to the recently deceased rock 'n' roll original Chuck Berry.
Enjoy Unfiltered? The best of Unfiltered's round-up of drinks in pop culture can now be delivered straight to your inbox every other week! Sign up now to receive the Unfiltered e-mail newsletter, featuring the latest scoop on how wine intersects with film, TV, music, sports, politics and more.